The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated for your reading pleasure.
Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:
Do you remember Mr. Gremel, the nonagenarian who retired early and much later donated a small fortune to fund a wildlife preserve? The Dividend Growth Investor dug into the story and determined his dividend return on that one stock. This is How This Successful Dividend Investor Turned $1,000 Into $2 Million.
The Three Year Experiment started a series right up our alley, sharing the adventures of people who are doing one or the other or both! Her first two guests:
I don’t often feature podcasts here, but Jonathan and Brad are knocking it out of the park with ChooseFI. Also, they featured one of my posts as the backbone of The Aspiring Minimalist vs The Reluctant Frugalist.
Don’t think you have to go all the way to Europe to enjoy your summer. Peter of Bible Money Matters created The Ultimate Guide to Having a Blast This Summer Without Breaking the Bank.
Mel of brokeGIRLrich has a metaphorical mountain for you to climb. With several great resources linked at each milestone, she takes you from being flat broke to financial independence. I was happy to be featured among friends at the last stop on The Personal Finance Mountain.
The Wall Street Physician addresses this conundrum in Should You Invest in a Bad 401(k) with High Fees?
He’s Worth $2 Million. He’s Given $8 Billion.
You read about the generous man who gave away his $2 million fortune. Today, I’d like to tell you about a prolifically philanthropic man who has kept only $2 million while giving over $8 Billion of his fortune away during his lifetime.
Charles Feeney, 85, built a successful empire of duty free shops. Not comfortable spending his billions on yachts and vineyard mansions a la Johnny Depp, Mr. Feeney quietly established Atlantic Philanthropies in the 1980s.
According to this NY Times article, over the last few decades, Mr. Feeney, the “James Bond of Philanthropy” has given money to build 1,000 buildings on five continents to improve higher education and health care.
His name does not appear on any of those buildings.
He reportedly went to great lengths to protect his anonymity. He didn’t want the publicity. He just wanted to make the world a better place.
Mr. Feeney didn’t need the money for himself. From a 2012 Forbes article:
“On the spending side Feeney obsesses over value, and on the cost side, he loathes waste. Atlantic’s president and CEO, Chris Oechsli, recalls staying in a Vietnam hostel with him on one business trip but adds that Feeney also once sent him back to the U.S. on the Concorde because he understood the need to get him home in time for the holidays.
As for Feeney, he flew millions of miles in coach because first class didn’t get him to his destination any faster. He wears a rubber Casio watch because it keeps time like a Rolex.
During our train back from Limerick he would curse and shake his head each time we passed one of many abandoned housing developments (ghost estates) left over from the country’s real estate bust. “I’m always the first guy to ask how much is that or what does it cost?” Feeney says about living the high life. “I never tried it because I knew I wouldn’t like it.” Feeney rarely owned a car because they were difficult to park in cities–although he admits briefly owning a used Jaguar when he lived in Hong Kong.”
Where did the $8 Billion go?
Borrowing from the same Forbes article:
1982: Makes first grant of $7 million to Cornell. Total gifts will reach $937 million.
1984: Transfers his 38.75% DFS ownership to Atlantic.
1988: Gives $142,000 to support the Cancer Research Institute. Worldwide cancer grants will hit $370 million.
1990: Atlantic makes its first grant to University of Limerick to construct advanced research, conference and cultural facilities. Lifetime grants: $170 million.
1991: Funds peace-building and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
1997: Feeney goes public about his charity activities.
1999: Invests in Vietnam in the areas of higher education and health care.
2001: Funds biomedical research at Australia’s Queensland U. of Technology; Total Aussie medical grants: $320 million.
2002: Makes grant for South Africa AIDS relief: has invested over $117 million in South African health care.
2004: Begins funding efforts to abolish the death penalty in the U .S. –has invested $28 million to date.
2006: Starts efforts to ensure health coverage for the almost 8 million uninsured children in the U .S.
2008: Makes $125 million grant for medical center at the University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay campus. Total UCSF grants: $290.5 million.
2012: With a $350 million investment, supports Cornell’s winning bid to develop NYC Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island.
2016: Will complete $1.3 billion worth of grants.
2020: The Atlantic Philanthropies will close.
I love reading about inspirational people like Mr. Feeney and the dozens of other philanthropists who have made the giving pledge to donate at least half of their wealth.
I’ve pledged to give away 10% of my “fortune” to our donor advised funds before retiring and will be donating half of my site’s profits in accordance with my charitable mission, but I’m afraid I’ll never match Mr. Feeney’s generosity.
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Have a great week!
-Physician on FIRE