Thursday, October 1, 2009

David Rubenstein Plans His Life (and Money) Out to the Age of 81

The managing director and co-founder of The Carlyle Group, an organization that employs powerful political insiders, including former US President George H. W. Bush, former British Prime Minister John Major and former US Secretary of State James A. Baker III along with George Soros, for introductions to money (and who really knows what else), is planning his life out up to the age of 81.

NYT reports:

When David M. Rubenstein turned 54, he read that white Jewish males were likely to live to 81. “So I said, ‘I have 27 years to go,’ ” Mr. Rubenstein said. “I could be like the pharaohs and say, ‘Bury me with my money.’ Or I could start giving it away.”
His latest move, so as not to be buried with his money: Getting his name chiseled into a newly redesigned atrium at Lincoln Center. NYT again:
Now Mr. Rubenstein has given $10 million to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for its $1.2 billion redevelopment project. In appreciation, the center’s new visitors’ and ticket space on Broadway — scheduled to open Nov. 24 — will be named the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. The redesigned indoor space, between 62nd and 63rd Streets and running from Broadway to Columbus Avenue, was formerly known as the Harmony Atrium.

“You can go there and get discounted tickets, and there will be free concerts,” he said in an interview on Tuesday at Lincoln Center. “I thought it was a very good idea.”...This is not Mr. Rubenstein’s first high-profile gift. In 2007 he paid $21.3 million for a 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta, the British declaration of human rights that served as the foundation for the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Mr. Rubenstein bought the last one in private hands and gave it to the National Archives in Washington.

Mr. Rubenstein also bought a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which he loaned to the National Archives, and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, which he loaned to the Smithsonian.

And he has underwritten the restoration of two Torah scrolls, one from the Auschwitz concentration camp and another from Dachau....Mr. Rubenstein said, he wants to direct his money toward a range of worthy causes. “My view is, if you have money, you can spend it, you can save it, or you can give it away,” he said. “I bought all the things I need to buy.”

Over the next five years, Mr. Rubenstein said, he plans to narrow his benefactors “to ones where I feel I will make the most impact.” For now, he is trying to jam in as much he can. “I’m sprinting to the finish,” he said. “I want to work harder the next 20 years than I did the last 20. When you turn 60, you realize you’ve lived more than half your life.”
Since Forbes estimates he is worth $2.7 billion, he still has quite a bit of giving to go, just with what he has already made, especially since it doesn't appear he spends any of his money on wine, women or song. NYT again:
...he also sounds like something of an ascetic. He is on a plane 250 days a year. He does not drink, smoke, eat meat or “chase women” and credits his constant work pace with keeping him healthy. “I’ve never been sick a day in my life,” he said.

“Why would anybody want to drink?” he added. “I don’t want to be loose. I like where I am.”
He currently serves on the boards of about 30 major institutions and says he donates generously to all of them. NYT comments:
Somehow, Mr. Rubenstein finds time for them all. Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, said: “You can never send him an e-mail and not get a response within three minutes. He’s a very disciplined, organized man.”


  1. Wow!! $2.7 bilion in net worth and he's "donating" less than 1% of it. What a guy! He has definitely figured out how to use our Statist Capitalist system. Too bad he didn't take the time to read those historical documents he bought.

  2. EFinancial,

    Who cares what percentage someone else gives away? Who says they have to give any of it away? It's their money isn't it?

    I don't know anything about this guy but, if the money is stolen, then that's an entirely different discussion.

  3. Anonymous

    Based on the pirates and looters (politicians) he has as partners - the money is stolen.