How Bill Gates Plans To No Longer Be One Of The Wealthiest People In The World

Up until 2017, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was the wealthiest person in the world. While he's currently ranked behind Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and LVMH president Bernard Arnault, Gates' name remains synonymous with untold riches. However, he seems rather uncomfortable with his reputation. After creating the Giving Pledge in 2010 with then-wife Melinda French Gates and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, Gates vowed to give away most of his fortune to charity. In his pledge letter, Gates said, "We have been blessed with good fortune beyond our wildest expectations, and we are profoundly grateful. But just as these gifts are great, so we feel a great responsibility to use them well."

Gates has worked steadily as a philanthropist since the pledge, arguably becoming better known for his humanitarian efforts in recent years than his work with Microsoft. This is a stark contrast to Musk, who earned a philanthropy score of 1 from Forbes, and Bezos, whose ex-wife MacKenzie Scott has far eclipsed his own giving. However, despite doing much more than his peers, Gates still has a long way to go before exiting the uber-rich. 

Now, a recent announcement shows that Gates is ready to speed up his giving.

Bill Gates plans to donate 'virtually all' of his wealth

Bill Gates took to Twitter to announce a new initiative on Wednesday, July 13. In addition to donating $20 billion of his personal funds towards the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which targets poverty and disease, Gates made his biggest promise yet, writing, "As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation. I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world's richest people."

The Microsoft co-founder continued the bold claim in a post on his blog, Gates Notes. "As I look to the future, my plan is to give all my wealth to the foundation other than what I spend on myself and my family," Gates said. He continued by noting that he does work for causes outside of his own foundation, such as Alzheimer's research and climate change, and that if he makes money off of them, he'll also donate the profits to the Gates foundation.

It's unknown just how much Gates regularly spends on his family, and how much money would be left over after donating "virtually all" of it. Even with several millions remaining, he could still live comfortably off the list of the world's wealthiest. Either way, if Gates stays true to his pledge, it's far more than what his contemporaries are doing. While he's certainly delivered on promises of charity before, only time will tell if Gates puts his money where his mouth is.