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Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

5 Fascinating Facts About Bill Gates' Billions

What would you do with $1 billion? 

Most of us would pay off our debts, travel and buy dream cars and houses. But how many people would spend their time and money working for the betterment of the world?

Although there are a thousand billionaires walking among us (According to Forbes, there were 1,210 in the world as of 2011), few of them have invested as wisely or given as generously as Bill Gates, former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)

Here are five facts about Gates' green, by the numbers:  

1.  $28 Billion

That's the amount that Gates has donated through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to Forbes, Gates is worth $59 billion, making him the second-richest man in the world for the past two years, trailing behind Mexico's Carlos Slim.

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If Gates wasn't so generous, however, he might have put Slim in second place. We're pretty sure Gates doesn't mind his ranking, considering that $28 billion helps worthy causes such as vaccines for children in developing nations. Still, David Lincoln of the wealth research firm Wealth-X estimates Gates would be worth $88 billion if he wasn't so charitable.

However, $28 billion is only the tip of the iceberg, Gates and his wife plan to give away 95% of their wealth to charity. He has also convinced some of his billionaire friends (including Warren Buffett and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) to sign the Giving Pledge, a commitment to donating the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.  

2.  500 Million

With a little math, you can see that 500 million is the number of copies of Windows 7 Home Premium Gates could afford with his $59 billion. They cost $119.99 a pop. Just for fun, we calculated that he could also buy 295 million Apple iPhone 4s -- but that would be silly, considering they don't run on Android. And just in case he was feeling adventurous, Gates could buy 4,436 Bombadier Learjet 60XR aircrafts at $13.3 million a piece. 

#-ad_banner_2-#3.  $10 Million 

That's the amount that each of the three Gates children are rumored to inherit. While most of us would consider that gift beyond generous, Gates told the Daily Mail, "It will be a miniscule portion of my wealth. It will mean they have to find their own way." 

4.  660,000

No, this isn't the number of PCs in Gates' basement. In fact, it's the square footage of his home near Seattle, overlooking Lake Washington. Its amenities include a 60-foot swimming pool with underwater music, a gym that at 2,500 square feet, is larger than most people's homes. Add a 1,000 square foot dining room and a home library filled to the brim, why would anyone need to leave the house?

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As you might imagine, the price of luxury doesn’t come cheap. In 2009, the property had an assessed value of $147.5 million and a tax bill of $1,063,000. 

5.  91,860,055

This rather astounding number represents the shares Gates holds in Buffett's Berkshire Hathway (NYSE: BRK). We all know Gates is an intelligent man, and he certainly lives up to his reputation when it comes to investing. You would think that he has most of his money tied up in Microsoft, but in reality, more than half of his wealth is held outside of the company.

Through his firm Cascade Investments LLC, Gates holds a 10% stake in Canadian National Railway (CNR-T), making him  the largest shareholder. He is also a major stockholder in John Deere (NYSE: DE), Sapphire Energy and Four Seasons Hotels. Gates and Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia made a private purchase of the luxury hotel chain for $3.8 billion in 2007.

The Investing Answer: Bill Gates has worked hard to make an excellent product. He is a savvy investor who can amply provide for his family while teaching his children the value of money. He gives generously to his foundation, which works to protect children all over the world. No matter your own net worth, his investment model is an excellent one to follow.