Buffett “Gives” Instead of “Gets” on His Own Birthday

Warren Buffett celebrated his 82nd birthday Thursday by announcing an additional $3.1 billion in donations to the charities run by his three children. Buffett said they had "exceeded my high expectations" in making use of the gifts so far, and that he was upping his pledge by 12.2 million shares each.

When we think of birthdays, we are used to the tradition of receiving gifts. So it almost seems backwards to give something instead, an idea that often doesn’t come to mind when celebrating another milestone of life.

We all can learn from Warren Buffet’s example, however, and the so-called “reverse birthday.”

In an article titled “Buffett gives $3 billion to his kids' foundations,” CNN Money reports how the Oracle of Omaha celebrated his most recent birthday “in reverse.” While Mr. Buffett already pledged some 17.5 million Class B shares of his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, to each of his three children and their respective charitable organizations back in 2006, now, in an open letter to his children, he has doubled down to about 29.7 million Class B shares. Mr. Buffett himself even estimates that the annual distribution will average more than $100 million each.

Whether there’s an approaching birthday or other occasion to celebrate, there may be something to take away from the Oracle’s example. Mr. Buffett is giving to his children and working to charitable ends in the same moment.

So if you find yourself wanting to give instead of receive, ask yourself what you and your loved ones are passionate about.

Reference: CNN Money (August 30, 2012) “Buffett gives $3 billion to his kids' foundations

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