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Is it Hip to Die Broke?

Article by Mike Dalpher

In the past, dying penniless brought about shame and disgrace to one’s family, especially for men. In today’s economy though, a new model is emerging that is–pardon the pun–giving that old idea a run for its money. Yes, that’s right; dying broke in today’s day and age is not only respectable, it’s downright honorable.

In the past, part of the American Dream was to work yourself to death, save every penny, and then leave a lofty estate to your heirs. However, with the increasingly worth-less value of the dollar, estate and death tax laws that are ludicrous, and jobs working their way on to the “Endangered Species List,” more and more people are spending their fortunes while they are still alive.

One noteworthy guy that planned on doing this long before it was the fashionable thing to do is Jon Huntsman, Sr. Mr. Huntsman is the founder of the Huntsman Corporation, who, among other accomplishments, invented a little doodad that virtually everyone on the developed planet is familiar with: the plastic egg carton. He went on to invent another obscure doodad, the first clamshell Big Mac container; he then went on to invent the first plastic plates, bowls, and fast-food containers. After conquering the world of plastics, Mr. Huntsman turned his attention to the less fortunate. Mr. Huntsman is a billionaire multiple times over, and yet plans on dying broke. He has given over .2 billion of his own private money to the underprivileged in the last decade alone, and has received numerous domestic and international awards for his philanthropy. Mr. Huntsman’s finest philanthropic endeavor to date is the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since 1995, Mr. Huntsman has worked to cure cancer through research into human genetics. The Huntsman Cancer Institute is currently one of America’s major cancer research centers dedicated to finding a cure for cancer with state-of-the-art technology and techniques.

Mr. Huntsman has been deemed the 47th wealthiest man alive by Forbes 400, yet he fully intends on dying broke. “Selfless giving unto others represents one’s true wealth,” Huntsman says. “Well, I would say that the biggest single problem we have today in America is that our focus is on greed and the accumulation of wealth. Now, the accumulation of wealth, I’m going to paraphrase my old friend, I wish he was a friend, Andrew Carnegie, who said we’re temporary trustees in order to help those who may find themselves in some form of trouble,” he continues. Huntsman often talks of those who accumulate money just for the sake of hoarding it, not to make sure it is used to help their fellow man, and that once one looks beyond making money, then life becomes very enjoyable; you find yourself working twice as hard, and the reason you are working is bigger than yourself and you get excited. “But if it’s for the sake of accumulation of money, for some lesson or another, you lose the spirit.”

The old adage is, “You can’t take it with you!” and Huntsman sets an exceptional example of how to make the most of it while you’re still here.

About the Author

I am a consultant working in the Boise, ID area. I work with businesses to make sure their accounting system and software is as effective as it can be. I write about finance and the financial industry because it is important that others be aware of how the financial system works so that they can make the best financial decisions possible.

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