A decade ago, we started a new annual tradition: sitting down to write a letter about our work in philanthropy. We got the idea from our friend Warren Buffett, who’s been writing brilliant reports to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway for more than half a century.

This year we’re marking our 10th letter by answering 10 tough questions about our work that people often ask us. Here is one of them. You can read the rest at gatesletter.com.

Why are you really giving your money away—what’s in it for you?

Bill: It’s not because we think about how we’ll be remembered. We would be delighted if someday diseases like polio and malaria are a distant memory, and the fact that we worked on them is too.

There are two reasons to do something like this. One is that it’s meaningful work. Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy. We think that’s a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you’ve taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society.

The other reason is that we have fun doing it. Both of us love digging into the science behind our work. At Microsoft, I got deep into computer science. At the foundation, it’s computer science plus biology, chemistry, agronomy, and more. I’ll spend hours talking to a crop researcher or an HIV expert, and then I’ll go home, dying to tell Melinda what I’ve learned.

It’s rare to have a job where you get to have both a big impact and a lot of fun. I had it with Microsoft, and I have it with the foundation. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the bulk of my time.

Melinda: We both come from families that believed in leaving the world better than you found it. My parents made sure my siblings and I took the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church to heart. Bill’s mom was known, and his dad still is known, for showing up to advocate for a dizzying number of important causes and support more local organizations than you can count.

When we got to know Warren Buffett, we discovered that he was steeped in those same values, even though he grew up in a different place and at a different time. When Warren entrusted us with giving away a large portion of his wealth, we redoubled our efforts to live up to the values we share.

Of course, these values are not unique to the three of us. Millions of people give back by volunteering their time and donating money to help others. We are, however, in the more unusual position of having a lot of money to donate. Our goal is to do what our parents taught us and do our part to make the world better.

Bill and I have been doing this work, more or less full-time, for 17 years. That’s the majority of our marriage. It’s almost the entirety of our children’s lives. By now the foundation’s work has become inseparable from who we are. We do the work because it’s our life.

We’ve tried to pass on values to our children by talking with them about the foundation’s work, and, as they’ve gotten older, taking them with us on trips so they can see it for themselves. We’ve connected to each other through thousands of daily debriefs on learning sessions, site visits, and strategy meetings. Where we go, who we spend our time with, what we read and watch and listen to—these decisions are made through the prism of our work at the foundation (when we’re not watching The Crown).

Maybe 20 years ago, we could have made a different choice about what to do with our wealth. But now it’s impossible to imagine. If we’d decided to live a different life then, we wouldn’t be us now. This is who we chose to be.

Read the rest of our Annual Letter and ask us your toughest question at gatesletter.com.

Written by

Bill Gates
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Originally at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-were-really-giving-our-money-away-bill-gates

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Many life insurance companies have hopped onto the online term insurance bandwagon. Since this is the simplest form of insurance on offer and a direct comparison of premium is possible. Couple of insurers have even entered a slugfest on who offers the cheapest term insurance policy.

These insurance covers that offer a pre-set death benefit are cheaper than the regular term insurance plans purchased through insurance agents and brokers. The benefit of online term plans is that one does away with the insurance middlemen and thus saves up on the commission paid to the agent out of your premium paid. Online term plans help you save 1/3 to ½ the premium paid for offline plans.

But then is premium the only consideration to opt for a term insurance plan, where the heir of the insured would get the sum assured upon the death of the policyholder. It has been observed that the chances of claims being rejected are higher when the cost of life insurance isn’t commensurate with the actual risk involved. Policyholder declaration of health and existing conditions too are responsible for claim rejection.

Few other essential factors need to be considered. Here are five parameters that you should assess apart from premium to zero down on an online term insurance plan.

Maturity age offered: Insurance companies offer a maximum maturity age between 65-80 years of age. Higher the maturity age the better for you as higher the age more the chances of death and better the utilization of a term plan. LIC and SBI Life, which are public sector insurance companies, offer a 70 year maturity age, while HDFC Life offers a 65 year maturity age.

Higher policy term: Term insurance policy term used to be 25 years earlier. The scene is now changing. Insurers offer a term of 35-52 years as well. The higher the term, the better for you as you need not purchase a second term cover at higher age if you exhaust the term of the first one purchased early in life. HDFC Life, Bajaj Allianz, SBI Life have a term of 30 years. LIC, Reliance Life, Aviva Life and PNB Life provide a term of 35 years, while Tata AIA Life and India First offer a 40-year term.

Actual premium: The premium quoted online or through charts is just an indicative premium and your actual cost may escalate once your medical tests reveal your health condition. A smoker would have to cough up 25-30% more. So, find your actual premium before selecting options.

Claims rejection ratio: This is an important factor to be examined before taking the online term plan. An insurer may be offering the cheapest term plan, but if it rejects 40% of the claims then your money paid over the years may be down the drain.

Companies with strong financial background and reliable in terms of claim settlement should be looked at. As per IRDA, public sector life insurer has a claims ratio of 98.14%, while HDFC Life ranks third in terms of claims settlement by paying 94.01% of the claims received.

Keep an eye on the claims rejection ratio too which is indicative of the number of claims that have been declined by an insurer.

Ease of claim handling: Your heir should not be left running from pillar to post to make the insurance claim. Also, several insurers have a long list of pending claims. So, study the past record of the insurer before taking up the term plan. For instance, DLF Pramerica has a shocking 53.96% of its claims pending, while HDFC Life has only a mere 1.29% claims pending.

Caution:

To avoid claim rejection later follow these ground rules:

1) Provide correct details in the health declaration as hiding past history of diseases and essential health related information could lead to claim rejection.
2) Stop agent from filling wrong details or better still fill the form yourself.
3) Don’t opt for the single premium plan even though a discount is offered as thanks to the uncertainties of life you may or may not need to pay the premium for the whole term. The premium doesn’t increase each year.
4) Inform the nominee you have appointed about the term policy you have purchased.
5) Don’t fall for misselling offers of insurance agents that you will get back the entire amount you have invested, so the cost is zero. The money will be back upon death and the inflation cost as well as opportunity cost of money should be looked at from 15-20 years perspective.

By Khyati Dharams

Originally at http://m.economictimes.com/is-the-cheapest-term-insurance-the-best/investarticleshow/47232489.cms

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, thats what they decided to do..

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.
Since you are all such good customers, he said, Im going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20?” Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But what about the other six men? How could t hey divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybodys share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each mans bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving, declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,but he got $10!

Yeah, thats right, exclaimed the fifth man. I only saved a dollar too. Its unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!

Thats true! shouted the seventh man Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!

Wait a minute, yelled the first four men in unison, we didnt get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didnt show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didnt have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is ho w our tax system works.

The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

– David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics.

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