Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath said that his friends Nandan Nilekani, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Azim Premji inspired him to become a philanthropist. All four of them have signed the Giving Pledge, with Nikhil Kamath becoming the youngest billionaire to sign the commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to address society’s pressing problems.
“So, there are four people in India who have signed the Giving Pledge – the other three happen to be really good friends of mine. And Bangaloreans will resonate with this – all of them are from Bangalore. All four of us are friends. Me and Kiran live in the same apartment…we all tend to meet once in a month for dinner or travel together,” said Kamath, speaking at NAS Summit, hosted by vlogger Nuseir Yassin, known popularly as Nas Daily.
When asked why he was giving away his wealth and not saving up for his future generations, Nikhil Kamath told Yassin, “When you are growing up, you are looking around you…in the societal construct around you, you meet three or four people, somebody who’s more popular, someone who has more money…and subconsciously you want to be like that person.”
He said that by virtue of being in Bengaluru and by virtue of being around these for signatories of the Giving Pledge, he started thinking about making the most of the money he has and is likely to amass in the future.
“I think everybody should realise the importance and understand the concept of mortality. We are all so scared of thinking about it that we never speak about it but when you hang around with people who are 70-75, it hits very hard early in life. Everybody has a clock and you are working backwards. I am 37 and if the average lifespan of an Indian is 72 years old, I have 35 years left. There is no value to leaving money in the banks…so I would rather give it to things I believe in. So rather than leaving the money I have earned in the last 20 years and what I would earn in the next 20 years to a bank or institution like that…I would rather make the most of it,” he told Nas Daily.
The Giving Pledge was created by Warren Buffett, Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates, to set a standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy. It was initially focussed on the US but slowly garnered support from philanthropists across the world.
In his letter to the three founders of the Giving Pledge, Kamath had written, “As a young philanthropist committed to positively impacting the world, I am humbled and excited to join the Giving Pledge. The mission of creating a more equitable society aligns with my values and aspirations.” He said that he was particularly interested in contributing to the areas of climate change, energy, education and wealth.
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Also read: Zerodha’s Nikhil Kamath youngest, 4th Indian to join Giving Pledge; commits to give away majority of his wealth