Facebook CEO will donate most of his wealth

Well, if Mark Zuckerberg’s image wasn’t already bolstered enough by his recent appearance on 60 Minutes, today’s announcement might help polish it a bit more.

Zuckerberg is one of 17 of the latest billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge, a joint effort from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to encourage wealthy individuals “to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death,” according to the organization’sweb site. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news early Thursday morning.

“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?” said Zuckerberg, according to a press release. ”With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”

First officially announced by Gates and Buffett in June of this year, The Giving Pledge touts a list of 57 billionaires who have pledged to give a majority of their wealth away over the course of their lifetime.

Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and #290 on the list with $1.4 billion, has also agreed to join Zuckerberg in signing. Other names new to the list include ex-AOL CEO Steve Case and investor Carl Icahn.Mr. Icahn ranks 24th on this year’s Forbes 400 list, at an estimated net worth of $11 billion. Zuckerberg, whose soaring second-market shares valuation of Facebook stock brings his estimated net worth to $6.9 billion, is new to this year’s Forbes 400 list at #35.  Gates and Buffettcontinue to top the list at #1 and #2, $54 billion and $45 billion, respectively. (more…)

Hedge Fund Legends with Their Humble Beginnings

While the hedge fund industry may be mostly comprised of professionals from privileged upbringings, some of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers actually come from more humble beginnings. 
Hedge fund legends such as George Soros, Ray Dalio, and sibling duo Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner are just some of the recognizable names in the industry from middle-class backgrounds who worked their way up the corporate ladder to become some of the most successful leaders in the financial world.
According to Soros’ official biography, the Hungary native and founder of New York-based Soros Fund Management, immigrated to England when he was 17 to attend the London School of Economics. His uncle paid his living expenses while he attended the business school. 
Nowdays, Soros, also known to many in the industry as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” for his $1 billion investment profit for his bet during the 1992 currency crisis that struck the United Kingdom, is one of the richest people in the world. He came in at No. 15 in this year Forbes’ 400 List of Richest Americans with a net worth of about $19 billion.
Bridgewater Associates founder Dalio runs one of the largest and most successful hedge funds in the world, but the Queens native grew up in the middle-class neighborhood of Jackson Heights. He also spent part of his childhood years catering to the needs of rich businessmen. 
According to Maneet Ahuja’s The Alpha Masters, Dalio, the son of a jazz musician and a homemaker, began caddying at the age of 12 at a Long Island golf club to make extra money.  (more…)

Optimism as a Default Setting

We begin with a story from one hundred years ago…

From My Favorite J.P. Morgan Story by Mark Skousen:

In the early days of the Twentieth Century, when J.P. Morgan ruled Wall Street, a visitor came to the City. He was a long-time friend of Morgan, a commodity trader from Chicago. He was what might be called a “perma bear” following the Panic of 1907. No matter how high or low the stock market went, his outlook was pessimistic. Another crash, panic and depression were just around the corner.
This was his first visit to thew world’s greatest city. He arrived at 23 Wall Street, and was ushered into J.P.’s spacious office overlooking the Exchange on one side and George Washington’s statue on the other.
They immediately began talking about the markets, Morgan being bullish as ever, and his commodity friend being as bearish as ever. “J.P.,” he said, “the news overseas doesn’t look too good.”
“A buying opportunity!” responded Morgan. (more…)

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