If You Don’t Have it, You Can’t Give it Away

hand holding pebbles with writing on it

Someone said to me the other day “I don’t want to be rich because rich people are selfish.”

This took a few moments to digest as the wealthiest people I know personally do an incredible amount to give back to their communities/the world in general.

Two famous examples came to mind easily:

  • In 2000 Bill & Melinda Gates set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – “a non-profit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world” and they are doing just that. December 31, 2021 the foundation has given over 2,051 grants amounting to total charitable support of over $6.7 Billion.
  • In 2006 Warren Buffett pledged a lifetime gift worth more than $30 Billion to the same Foundation to be used in “improving the lives of millions of fellow humans who have not been as lucky as the three of us.” His support allowed a rapid expansion and acceleration of the foundation’s work, including the addition of new strategies such as agricultural development, financial services for the poor, and more.

Source – https://www.gatesfoundation.org/about/our-story

A little online research led me to an article published by Forbes, namely “America’s Top Givers 2022: The 25 Most Philanthropic Billionaires”, I have summarised a few highlights below:

Name/s Source of Wealth Net Worth Giving Focus Lifetime Giving
Warren Buffett


Berkshire Hathaway $115.6 billion Health, poverty alleviation $46.1 billion
Bill and Melinda Gates Microsoft 133.3 billion, $6.1 billion Health, poverty alleviation  $33.4 billion
George Soros


Hedge funds $8.6 billion Democracy, education, antidiscrimination, healthcare $18.1 billion
Michael Bloomberg Bloomberg LP $70 billion Climate change, health $12.7 billion
MacKenzie Scott*


Amazon $53.5 billion Racial, gender and economic inequality $8.61 billion
Phil Knight & family Nike $54.8 billion Education $3.1 billion
Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan Facebook $112.8 billion Science, education, criminal justice $3 billion
Jeff Bezos


Amazon $184.8 billion Environment, education, homelessness $2.1 billion


But let’s forget the big names and bring it down to a local level. For every client I coach, one of the first things I do is to get clarity on their personal goals (and then business goals – your business should be serving you, not the other way around.) When doing exercises like dream charting and bucket lists, I have found that pretty much every entrepreneur is already giving back, or has clear goals to make a bigger impact through a foundation of his/her own, by mentoring others, starting a non-profit, etc.

Big goals are good as Money needs to have somewhere to go, but the first thing to get right as an entrepreneur is to get your business Profitable, and then Working without you. With those things in place, you will have surplus income to work with for – impact/charitable assignments, as well as the time to do so.

As you build wealth, your top three options in which you can invest are:

  • Real Estate
  • Stocks/Shares/Markets
  • Business/es

Our recommendation is (usually) to focus on business first because a (successful) business can generate Cash (and fast) and, with cashflow, you can feed your investment/wealth plan a lot more effectively.

With your wealth plan/goals in place, your work in the “For Purpose” space will become a whole lot easier.

I’ll close off sharing some wise words from our CEO and founder – “They say that money can’t buy you Happiness and, whether or not that is true, money for sure can buy you a boat and you can name the boat Happiness.” 😊

Let’s get to the serious business of building real wealth. If you are stuck on where to start, or need a second pair of eyes on your plan, reach out for a free session with myself or one of my colleagues.

Trevor Clark, ActionCOACH Business and Executive Coach
trevorclark.actioncoach.com | trevorclark@actioncoach.com