Wealth: The Philanthropic 1%

by Editorial

New survey by PNC Wealth Management says more millionaires want to give back.
By Kinne Chapin

(Photo by Joe Fakih Gomez Photography)

What would you do with a million dollars? If you’re like most millionaires, you would give some of it away.  A new survey of 555 millionaires conducted by PNC Wealth Management revealed that many of America’s wealthy agree with Warren Buffett‘s belief that those with the most financial assets should make the biggest contribution to society. PNC found that almost 60% of the millionaires surveyed felt that they had a duty to “give back” to their communities, and only 11% – as opposed to 20% in 2008 – were concerned with their financial ability to give.

However, while Buffett’s philosophy of giving was not contentious among the millionaires, his views on taxation sparked more disagreement. While the majority of those surveyed believed in their duty to make charitable contributions, only 22% agreed that they should pay increased taxes and donate money, as Buffett suggests. Instead, 64% of the millionaires PNC surveyed expressed a desire to be “left alone,” by the government and spend their income as they saw fit. An even more stark majority, 80%, felt that insightful investment was the key to improving the economy.

These percentages were the results of PNC’s 8th annual Wealth and Values Survey, which asked respondents to answer a range of questions about government and finance. Despite the disagreements between the surveyed millionaires, R. Bruce Bickel, senior vice president of PNC Wealth Management, believes, “It is encouraging to see that millionaires, considering today’s economic headwinds, recognize a personal responsibility to give back to perpetuate the legacy of a ‘cared for society.'” It seems that the golden rule of “Do unto others,” even applies to the country club set.

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