While Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk feud over who is more inventive and who gets to go to space first, the business titans are among a group of billionaires in the running for an even less desirable title: Worldâs Stingiest Billionaire.
Although the pandemic eraâs surging stock market has ballooned the fortunes of billionaires to new heights, the wealthiest people in the world have chosen not to keep pace with their charitable giving, according to the Forbes Philanthropy Score.
The team at Forbes adds up all of the lifetime âout-the-doorâ giving a person has made, and divides that number by the sum of their total current wealth and the total giving amount. The results are categorised into five tiers: less than 1 per cent, between 1 and 5 per cent, 5-10 per cent, 10-20 per cent, and more than 20 per cent.
Private foundations and donor-advised funds donât count for the Forbes measure, since those âdonationsâ effectively remain under the control of the donor â and also come with generous benefits that enable wealthy people to avoid paying taxes.
Of the 400 billionaires on this yearâs list, just 19 have given away 10 per cent or more of their wealth, while a record high 156 have given less than 1 per cent. While Bezos and Musk have yet to crack out of the 1 per cent, MacKenzie Scott has
. Even with her pace of giving, Scott is wealthier now than she was last year.
Bezos did make headlines this summer with US$400 million gifts to the Smithsonian, CNN contributor Van Jones and chef Jose Andres (to do âwhat they wantâ with), and has given US$865 million from his pledge to fight climate change. But his actual gifts are a tiny fraction of the US$22 billion gain he made this year aloneÂ to bring his total net worth to US$190 billion.
Warren Buffett continued as the listâs most generous giver, having parted with US$4.1 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock in June to bring his lifetime total to US$44 billion. Heâs now halfway through his pledge to give away all his Berkshire shares.
The most prolific giver in the Forbes ranking was George Soros, whose US$16.8 billion of giving has outsize his US$8.6 billion net worth.
Former president Donald Trump was not ranked, since he fell US$400 million shy of making the top 400 list. In fact, Trump did not make Forbesâ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans for the first time in 25 years.
His net worth was estimated at US$2.5 billion â just about US$400 million shy of making the list this year, according to Forbes. The billionaire has lost about US$600 million since the pandemic started as Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the commercial real-estate market.
Happier days? President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in 2018. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Since he became president in 2016, Trumpâs wealth has continued to decline. From 1997 to 2016, he was ranked among the upper half of Forbesâ 400 wealthiest Americans, but five years later heâs slipped off the list completely.
Earlier this year, Forbes reported that the former president had dropped 298 spots on its billionaireâs list which was released in April â down from No 1,001 to No 1,299.
Trumpâs commercial real estate assetsÂ which account for about 75 per cent of his income â have taken a significant hit from the pandemic, Bloomberg reported in March. The former presidentâs hotel and resort lines, as well as his golf club have also seen declined interest due to travel restrictions.
Trump donated his US$400,000 salary as president, but made about US$1.6 billion from 2016 to 2020, according to Bloomberg data. During his presidency, Trump chose to hold onto his US$3.5 billion in assets, instead of divesting them to stave off any perception of a conflict of interest. Forbes noted that if the president had sold his assets off his fortune could be worth as much as US$7 billion.
Trump is one of several billionaires to fall off Forbesâ list. Oprah Winfrey also dropped off the list for the first time since 1995, alongside several entrepreneurs, including Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and Nikola founder Trevor Milton.
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