Tuesday, August 27, 2013

David Geffen, a billionaire, wants to give all his wealth away during his lifetime

When asked what he would do with his wealth, David Geffen, the record-business manager and entrepreneur, a movie and theater producer, co-founder of a film studio, investor, and prominent art collector,  replied, "I intend to give every nickel away....Actions speak louder than words. If you're going to give it away, then give it away. And do it when you are alive." In a revealing interview with David A. Kaplan, Geffen discussed how he went from being "a young, small, thin, gay guy" without money or obvious talents to becoming a millionaire by the time he was 30 and a billionaire by 50. (Fortune, August 12, 2013, pp. 74-80)

So far, he has become a philanthropist with the UCLA medical school named after him since he does not believe in giving anonymously. He has also donated to the arts and AIDS research. Now that he is 70 and has retired, he can look back on an incredible career in the record industry, movies, and theater. Although he was once considered "the most powerful man in Hollywood," he has no desire to leave a legacy. Instead, he will continue enjoying his life in Hollywood, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley, and give all his money away.

Geffen also said he did not join the "Giving Pledge" of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for billionaires who promised to give away half of their assets to charity during their lifetimes because he said, "I don't believe in it. It's grandstanding: You're just saying you're going to do it. There's no legal obligation. I know more than one member of the club who told me, 'Well, you're not actually required to give anything away, but you look good.' "

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