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Gates in Decline

Bill Gates may be brilliant, but he's not immune to the collapse of capital. In the latest Forbes 400, Gates is still ranked the richest person in the world, but he lost enough money to support Bernie Madoff's lifestyle for a year. In one year Gates went from $58 billion to $40 billion, and I'm sure his family has made some tough economic sacrifices. I don't think he's at the point where he serves Two-Buck Chuck and Old Milwaukee to Bono, but he may be putting off that new Lexus.

What's really interesting is that Gates, in terms of proportion, lost far less than pal Warren Buffet, a professional investor. Gates is only No. 1 because his foundation gives its money away carefully. Every disbursement is researched to the fullest; there are no earmarks or fluff in how The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spends.

If this style of smart charity interests you, and if you use your IT skills for good, I want to hear from you at dbarney@redmondmag.com!

Posted by Doug Barney on March 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM


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