Who are the world’s most generous billionaires?

While it is possible to be a philanthropist even with a small wealth, it is even much easier to become one as a company executive, tycoon, celebrity, or an inheritor of a large business empire.  Being wealthy is not just a showcase of one’s power and influence in the world of business (and even politics), but also a massive opportunity to help the deprived and rebuild lives. But among these ultra-rich individuals, who among them are the most charitable? Here are the top five:

Bill Gates

For years, the planet’s wealthiest man has been among the top philanthropists in the world. In 2015 alone, he donated $1.3 billion to charity, with lifetime donations totaling to $31.5 billion at that point. The Microsoft founder established his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 and its endowment was more than $44 billion at the end of 2014, making it the biggest transparently operated private foundation in the world. It aims to eradicate poverty and improve healthcare on a global scale.

Warren Buffett

An investing legend and top-notch entrepreneur, Warren Buffett has pledged to donate most of his wealth through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2011, the Oracle of Omaha was one of the authors of the Giving Pledge, an initiative that encourages ultra-rich individuals and families to give away a large slice of their wealth to charitable causes.

Azim Premji

One of India’s wealthiest people, Azim Premji works hard to reform India’s education and skills development systems. The outsourcing mogul has donated a huge portion of his wealth to improve schools in his country and funded a university that awards degrees in teacher training.

Li Ka-shing

For this Hong Kong-based magnate, giving is his ‘third son.’ In fact, he has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to support philanthropic endeavors. His charity organization, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, promotes social progress by supporting projects that improve access to quality education, enhance medical services, encourage cultural diversity, and advocate community involvement. He thinks of his organization as “one of the ideas [he is] most proud of.”

Mark Zuckerberg

A tech genius and certainly among the most impressive millennial success stories, Mark Zuckerberg has promised to donate 99 percent of his wealth to charity in his lifetime. The Facebook founder has been very active in healthcare-related endeavors. He donated $25 million in the fight against Ebola and around $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital. Of course, education and technological innovation are also among the focus areas of his philanthropic activities.

REPOST: Why Athletes Make Amazing Entrepreneurs

Athletes. These individuals possess discipline, solid work ethic, passion, and the kind of competitiveness necessary to carry out a spectacular game. In the world of business, such athletic traits can also serve meaningful purpose for aspiring entrepreneurs, helping them achieve their goals eventually. Here is an article from Influencive for more insights:

Here’s why athletes make perfect entrepreneurs.

It might surprise some that the skillsets and characteristics common among successful athletes can also be found among successful entrepreneurs.

However, the two groups are more similar than you might think – certain traits common among both can lead to success both on and off the field. Here are some reasons why qualities common among successful athletes can translate into the business world.


When one thinks of grit, toughness and endurance usually come to mind. It makes sense, then, that grit is necessary to be successful as an athlete. Athletes need to be tough, physically and mentally; they need to be able to endure pain and pressure while maintaining a high level of performance.

Even more importantly, athletes learn from their shortcomings so they can overcome past failures and win the next time. All athletes lose, but the successful ones are the ones who have the perseverance to keep trying until they find success.

The same can be said about entrepreneurs, who need the endurance and toughness to withstand long hours and endless nights trying to get a business going. If an entrepreneur has worked hard enough to get a business off the ground, they’re only going to have to work harder to make their operation sustainable.

Like athletes, entrepreneurs need to be able to operate at a high level, consistently and for long periods of time. Further, like successful athletes, successful entrepreneurs need to be able to learn from their mistakes and move on.

Brendan Candon, the founder of SidelineSwap, is a huge fan of grit; he explained, “We believe it’s incredibly important to encourage participation in sports at the youth level. Sports help to foster resilience and grit at a young age, which helps prepare you for success in the real world.” And he puts his money where his mouth is – through his company’s #GearForAYear scholarship, he awards athletes from grade school through college with $500 worth of sports gear.

In this way, Candon is able to further his mission of providing more access to athletics for deserving kids, and foster grit and resilience – a worthy cause for any company looking to make their impact on the next generation of athletes-turned-entrepreneurs.


Many entrepreneurs find that it’s necessary to work in teams for certain undertakings. Oftentimes, financial or physical support is needed to start a business; having one or more partners can ease those concerns. To maximize the potential of all team members, entrepreneurs need to bring out every participant’s strengths.

This is where a common characteristic among athletes can come into play. Take basketball, for instance: each position has a designated function that doesn’t change over the course of a game, just like how team members in a startup have their specific job tasks. Based on each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses, a coach places them in their positions to perfect the system for a collective effort to win the game. Sound familiar?

Just as athletes in team sports need to be team players, entrepreneurs in partnerships need to be able to work with their peers and lead teams effectively for the greater good of the company.


For entrepreneurs, having talent and skill is meaningless if one doesn’t have a strong work ethic to pull off those 60+ hour weeks. Similarly, the best athletes in the world aren’t the best because of their skill. Sure, skill is a very important factor, but it’s worthless if the athlete doesn’t know how to work hard.

The best athletes, such as Serena Williams, LeBron James, and Joe Montana, are the best because they perfected their skill by perfecting their work ethic. A successful athlete can be a successful entrepreneur because that person knows that in order to be successful, they’re going to have to work for it every time.


Stubbornness is often considered a negative quality, since it implies that someone is unwilling to change for the better. However, in the athletic and entrepreneurial worlds, stubbornness – here, called focus – is necessary for success.

Clear focus on the game, and nothing but the game, is critical to winning among athletes. If they let themselves get distracted by other issues, they run the risk of losing sight of what’s important. All athletes do is eat, breathe, and live in their one goal to make sure that they achieve it.

This sense of focus is hugely helpful for any entrepreneur, since they need to be completely focused on setting up their business in order to be successful. With how competitive today’s market is, entrepreneurs need to be willing to only think about their business and focus everything on it, even when it doesn’t pay off right away.

Despite the surface-level differences, athletes and entrepreneurs have more in common than meets the eye. From knowing the value of hard work to being able to perform well in teams, adding former athletes to your entrepreneur circle can be all you need to achieve business success.


Where do top celebrities spend their vacation?

With all the fame, influence, and money they have, it is pretty easy for the top celebrities to choose a luxury destination and get there in a jiffy. At least this is the ideal picture; but these popular personalities have very tight schedules and plenty of engagements, which means that they only have a few days or weeks in a year to spend on leisure and relaxation. But when they do, it has to be perfect. Hence, it is very important for them to choose the ‘right’ vacation spot and make every second count. Not surprisingly, beach destinations are their top picks and they include:


Maldives. A small archipelago of islands and atolls south of the Indian subcontinent, the Maldives is a perennial entry to many annual lists of the world’s most luxurious island getaways. Its clear turquoise waters, warm weather, relative isolation, and ultra-deluxe resorts offer supreme privacy and exclusivity that celebrities are often deprived of.  Prince William and Kate Middleton, David Beckham, Michael Phelps, and Madonna have all sought to experience the world-famous Maldivian hospitality.

Image source: baros.com


St. Barths. The Caribbean has plenty magnificent tropical beaches and islands, but St.Barths, a tiny overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies, is probably the most popular among A-list celebrities. The peak of the travel season is usually on New Year’s Eve, when the rich and famous converge on the island in luxury yachts up to 170 meters in length. Usher, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, and the Kadashians love spending the holidays in this piece of winterless paradise.

Image source: wimco.com


Bermuda. This British Overseas Territory in northern Atlantic is not just a popular luxury destination for celebrities, but is also where some of them lived! As a financial center and a tax-neutral jurisdiction, Bermuda attracts plenty of investors—famous people included. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have owned a property in the island for 15 years while The Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey was actually born here! Bermuda is also this year’s host of the America’s Cup.

Image source: gotobermuda.com


Rio de Janeiro. Nestled between picturesque mountains and gorgeous beaches, Brazil’s cultural hub is popular among regular tourists and celebrities alike. It is more than just a beach paradise; but also a melting pot of impressive architecture, sporting events, and street parties! In Rio, everything a VIP visitor needs seems so accessible. Hugh Jackman, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears have all been spotted vacationing in the city.

Image source: getyourguide.com

REPOST: Baby boomers are more entitled than millennials—and this research proves it

Millennials have their own way of expressing themselves and managing every aspect of their lives that they are often stereotyped as arrogant and conceited. In the article below from MarketWatch, personal finance writer Quentin Fottrell explains why the case may not be entirely true. Read on:

Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
Young Americans are constantly told by the media — and, sometimes, their own parents — that they think the world owes them a favor. Bad news for baby boomers: It may be the exact opposite.

Millennials say people should be able to pay for their own housing at 22 years of age, pay for their own car at 20.5 years of age and be responsible for their own cell phone plan at 18.5 years of age, according to a new study from personal-finance site Bankrate.com.

In all three cases, the younger cohort’s average response is about a year and a half earlier than when baby boomers feel these three landmarks of financial independence should happen.

“Millennials are often stereotyped as being entitled,” Sarah Berger, a columnist and analyst at Bankrate.com, said in a statement on the survey released Wednesday. “It’s refreshing to see that millennials really do have high expectations of gaining financial independence and getting off their parents’ payroll.”

The survey tapped a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. Those respondents living in the Northeast said parents should help with housing costs until their children are 24.5 years of age. That was two years longer than for Midwesterners, 1.5 years longer than for Southerners and about a year longer than for those who live on the West Coast.

The full story HERE.

How effective are celebrities as brand ambassadors?

Using the influence of celebrity as a marketing tool has been around since the 1930s when famous athletes and personalities promoted products that ultimately broke sales records and delivered a generous return on investment.

Today, the same marketing strategy of utilizing the benefits of celebrities as brand ambassadors is rather more challenging and one move can either attract customers to your products or can spell an advertising disaster.



Image source: ecco-network.com


Choose wisely

One crucial step is in choosing a celebrity endorser for a company’s brand. This decision does not only mean selecting a famous face to promote their products; it also means choosing a person whose lifestyle and personality embody the promises of their brands.


Statistics don’t lie

In a recent study based on hundreds of marketing contracts involving celebrities, a 20% increase on sales for some brands have been observed right after starting an endorsement deal.  A similar study also revealed a 0.25% rise in the companies’ stocks on the day of a celebrity contract announcement, according to Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School.


Image source: sporteology.com


Stand out

The era of social media and online marketing has provided companies with opportunity to reach millions of audience and potential consumers. However, this unrestricted connectivity also opened a strong and unpredictable competition among businesses. This is where celebrity endorsements matter the most.


Authenticity is the key

A celebrity endorser talking about your brand on their social media pages gives your product not only exposure but credibility. However, this is only effective if the personality is genuinely connected to the brand.


Undeniably, companies realize the risks of celebrity brand endorsements but the results have been continuously outweighing the risks.

Buying the right things: Living the yuppie life

Yuppies are young professionals who are usually doing well career-wise. They have a high-paying job and usually at the forefront of a fashionable lifestyle. Considering their age, they have more time on their hands as compared to their older counterparts. They have money to burn, so why not spend it? Yuppies often spend their hard earned cash on things which will give them convenience, excitement, efficiency, and above all, fun.

Image source: vpr.net


One of the most popular things that yuppies spend their money on is coffee. To be more specific, those that they purchase from expensive coffee shops and cafes. They like to lounge and loiter in those locations after a long and stressful day at the office. As a matter of fact, it can be considered as one of the defining characteristics of the new generation.

Yuppies usually live a fast-paced lifestyle, meaning that cooking meals at home is already a luxury instead of a need. So the next best alternative? Fast food. Whenever they get hungry while rushing to work, all they need to do is to take a turn at a corner where a fast food restaurant will be waiting for them ready to satiate their gurgling stomachs.


Image source: nyt.com


No matter what the profession, work can become grueling. Mountains of paperwork and thousands of forms to process will tire anyone out, even the young ones. So to celebrate the end of the day, yuppies will usually spend money for alcohol in bars or nightclubs and party the night away. All they have to worry about now is the possibility of a hangover greeting them in the morning. For those who do not drink and are not necessarily party lover, traveling to thrilling places (whether mainstream or off-the-beaten-track) is an equally compelling option.

Of course, not all these characterize yuppies. There are also a small segment in this demographic that actually put equal importance between having fun and ‘having funds.’ Young professionals of today already have the access to critical information related to smart money management, investing, and even insurance. There is a growing number of millennials opening stocks- or bonds-linked savings accounts, such as mutual funds, VULs, or direct investments through brokerage firms and asset management companies.  This generation of money-smart individuals prioritize both their present needs or desires and future goals.

REPOST: 20 Surprising facts about Warren Buffett (Entrepreneur.com)

Did you know that Warren Buffett earned 94 percent of his wealth after he turned 60? That and 19 other interesting things about the “Oracle of Omaha” from this article on ENTREPRENEUR:


Image credit: J. Kempin | Getty Images
Often referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha” -- Nebraska native Warren Buffett is an investing legend, business magnate and philanthropist.

When he was 11, Buffett already bought stock, and by 16 he had amassed more than $53,000 from various business ventures and investments. From a young age, Buffett was bound for success.

Although, like anyone else, he faced setbacks. From being rejected at Harvard Business School to getting told he would fail by his father-in-law, hard work and resilience pushed Buffett towards success. Today, he’s recognized for his achievements and uses his money for the greater good.

From using a Nokia flip phone to pledging 85 percent of his Berkshire Hathaway stocks to various charitable foundations, check out these 20 Warren Buffett facts that might surprise you.
  1. He bought his first stock when he was 11-years-old.
While most 11-year-old boys were playing T-ball and reading comic books, Buffett bought stocks. In the spring of 1942, at 11-years-old, Buffett purchased shares of Cities Service Preferred for $38 a piece.
  1. He made $53,000 by the age of 16.
Even since he was young, Buffett’s not only been tactful, but also an extremely hard worker.

When his family moved to Omaha, Neb., Buffett delivered The Washington Post every morning and brought in about $175 a month (that’s more than most teachers made during that time).

He also pursued a few side gigs such as selling used golf balls and collector stamps and buffing cars. By the time he turned 16, he had amassed the equivalent of $53,000.
  1. He was rejected from Harvard Business School.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska in three years, Buffett applied to Harvard Business School. But during a brief interview with the school that would determine his acceptance, the staff said to Buffett: “Forget it. You’re not going to Harvard.”

After much disappointment from the rejection, Buffett discovered that his idols Benjamin Graham (“the father of value investing”) and David Dodd were professors at Columbia Business School.

“I wrote them a letter in mid-August," Buffett shares. "I said, 'Dear Professor Dodd. I thought you guys were dead, but now that I found out that you're alive and teaching at Columbia, I would really like to come.' And he admitted me."
  1. He eats like a 6-year-old.
Buffett’s secret to staying young? Coca-Cola and ice cream.

In an interview with Fortune, Buffett claimed he is “one quarter Coca-Cola” -- "If I eat 2,700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it every day."

Sometimes for breakfast, he eats a can of Utz potato sticks (yes -- a can, not a bag) to accompany his soda. Other times he takes a sweeter approach and indulges in a bowl of ice cream to jump start his day.

When asked how he’s managed to stay healthy with such a salty and sugary diet, he said, "I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a 6-year-old."

Continue reading HERE.

Investment Strategy for 2016

In order to make your portfolio grow, your best bet is to place your money in stocks. But of course, you will need a good strategy for it to flourish, especially this coming 2016. One of these strategies is to slow down shelling out your money in equities and its funds. Why? It is because for the past 5 years, these funds have been up for at least 150% of their course and this coming year might be the time it runs its course. But despite of that fact, believe it or not, investment strategyyou could still invest your money here.

It would probably make you wonder why, especially when the risk could go high. Okay the truth is, even though the risk is high, it would still be worth it because this avenue has been proven effective by a lot of investors to still earn profit from it. This means, you won’t experience complete loss after all. For many years, investing in stocks has always been a good idea because it helps an investor’s money to grow.

It is always the goal of investors to see the economy flourish by having corporations profit from their business and having the sales of companies grow as well. Lately, companies and their profits were a result of cost cutting rather than sales profits going high. Corporations in the US don’t even want to go hire people anymore.

A solution to stimulate the economy is to have interest rates go low, as it will also help to have unemployment rates investor risk profilego down. In order for this to happen, purchasing debt securities that have longer terms should be done by the government. This is why investing in stocks is something that investors should be doing because the more stocks are invested on, the more the interest rates would go down.

The best move is to place your money in stocks knowing that your country would do something in having some new plans in the economy’s growth, which includes employment rates and increase in business sales. If you think that there’s a chance for a higher interest rates to come this coming 2016, I would suggest not putting in a lot of money for your investment, especially if you think that it would not be good for the economy.

Keep in mind that when the interest rate is high, this would have a huge affect in sales and it is not going to be in a good way. Profits in corporation would also be affected in a negative way when interest rates are high, as this would raise the cost for money lending. And in case you don’t know, corporations do a lot of that in a year.
To sum up the strategy I have for you this 2016, be careful and check first if the interest rates are high before you invest anything on any funds, bonds or stocks. Always do your research first before shelling out your savings. I’m not saying don’t invest at all, but be more cautious in investing.

We Didn’t Actually Fix Anything since 2008 – IMF

Actually we made it worse.

In effect, the fix of 2008 was just like putting a bandage on a diabetic wound.  But the patient still keeps eating candies.  It really was just a fix and not a cure.

imf guard

How long can we keep kicking the can of market failure down the road?  Well, LOM’s offshore brokers said that the markets can be irrational and stay that way for an unexpectedly long, long time.  Maybe that’s what our central banks and policy makers are really wishing for.  At least it can buy them some time to figure things out. Yellen and Bernanke merely continued the policies started by Allan Greenspan, using money supply to steer the economy.   Want more growth?  Cut rates.  Want a stronger dollar?  Hike rates.  Depressed?  Take some Prozac.

The problem is that the global markets have entered into an unprecedented era of market dysfunction where the traditional economic tools and formulas are not working anymore.  The market really needs a brilliant economist like John Nash 2.0 to pop up from the shadows with some new theory to solve it all. It needs someone to change the paradigm like the way Einstein revamped newtonian physics. But there seems to be not much time left for that kind of savior.

So what happens if there’s no breakthrough?  No super economist to save the day?

Then we face the consequences.

Like if you keep eating Big Macs straight, your body has to get sick.  What day it happens, you don’t know for sure.  After a month of pigging out on Big Macs?  Or a year? Or five years?  Regardless how long, that point in time will come that you are going to get sick. You’ll throw up, get a fever, get a heart attack or worse, die.  Your body will naturally, by itself, break down and try to do things that will get rid of all the toxic stuff you’ve ingested.

The credit addiction – all that debt that saturates the global economy right now- can be likened to all those Big Macs.  The difference in the analogy, though, is that the economic doctors are prescribing Big Macs as a temporary fix for the sickness which was actually caused by overeating those Big Macs. Thus, we are caught in a vicious cycle of Big Macs.

Take for instance the housing bubble of 2008. Subprime mortgages were bundled up and repackaged inside financial instruments that were sold to a lot of banks and financial institutions.  These financial instruments were used in more deals and even collateralized.   With the power of leveraging, the destructive powers of these toxic financial instruments were further magnified.  When it all imploded, the United States Federal Reserve created money out of thin air and bailed out those big institutions about to default on their credit obligations.  Effectively, the United States, lender of last resort, absorbed all that debt.

The problem now is that the United States government also needs to borrow more money.  The United States’ national debt now stands at $18.8 trillion, equivalent to around 30 percent of total global debt.   The interest on that national debt is piling up at an amazing rate of over $1,000,000 per minute.  For a long time now, the United States has had to borrow money to fund even its own operations, with congress having had to lift the debt ceiling seventy-four times already since 1962.

So what kind of fever, what kind of breakdown awaits?  There are a lot of worst case scenarios but no one really knows how it will really end up because it is all unprecedented.  The variety of market instruments available during our time complicates all analyses and projections.  The interconnectedness of banks and quasi-banks across countries also makes the possible outcome a big convoluted jumble of compounded distress.

The growth of shadow banking also pushes central banks into a dark ocean they know not how deep or wide.  International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde has actually pinpointed shadow banking as the greatest threat to the global economy right now. Maybe this is because one is most afraid of what one does not know.  Shadow banking, or banking in the shadows, has grown in recent years because of quantitative easing and the desire of institutions and investors to avoid the increasingly stringent rules being imposed by financial regulatory bodies.  These shadow banks operate beyond the scope of present regulators such as the exchange commissions and central banks.  And so, they conduct their business, executing complex and innovative deals, basically unregulated.  This is the wildcard in the already muddled equation the world is trying to figure out.

What should we do?  The economy – at the global and national level – finds itself in an impossible bind.  But individuals, operating at a microeconomic level, can still fix their own personal Big Mac overdoses.  By finding additional revenue streams, cutting unnecessary spending, reducing debt, saving little by little, investing wisely, an individual’s finances need not implode.  Fortunately, the tools of basic wisdom and common sense still work at the individual level.

How To Choose Your First Broker In Investing

Unless you’re a business or finance major, you will need the help of a broker to sort your investment, especially in handling stocks. These people will help you with the ins and outs of this business. Also, you should know that there is no way you could do this without owning a brokerage account. We’ll get to the details on how you could acquire that later, for now let’s focus on your getting your first broker.

If this is your first time, choosing your broker would be different from those who have been doing this for a long time now. You would be surprised that dealing with finding a broker is like handling and choosing the right stocks for your investment as well. That said, you must actually find the right match for you. Because if you don’t, I hate to break it to you but there’s a possibility you’ll end up penniless.

The first thing you need to know about picking the right broker is what exactly is their job description and how could they help you. You must know if you will get a regular broker or a broker-reseller. I’ll walk you through their differences.

The regular type of brokers is the ones that handle the whole investment deal with a direct client. The client will be hands-on working with them from the ground up. The other type, which are the broker-resellers are basically the middlemen dealing with a client and huge broker.

My advice is that go for a regular broker because they are more legit. There is a chance you could actually be ripped off when you deal with broker-resellers although of course, I am not saying it to generalize them, but it’s just wise to investment brokergo for a regular broker if you’re just starting here. Should you ever decide to go with a broker-seller, make sure that you know them well and that you double-check every document before making a final decision.

I would advise to also go for brokers that are linked to reputable organizations that are known in this industry. Fidelity and Scottrade are among these and they are members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

You must also be aware that there are brokers who offer their full service and there are also ones that could give you discounts. Most people take the former even they are really expensive because they literally do all the job. As the investor, you will also gain a lot more than tips and suggestions in how you would deal with your stocks if you for the one who offers full service.

Aside from the obvious fact that you must go with a broker who is trustworthy, these are among the things that you must consider before going with one. And as much as I would want to tell you that you really don’t need their help, unfortunately you do. They are like the people who handle your taxes, which means you don’t have much choice but to trust them or you will have to do it yourself.