What Would You Do If You Were a Billionaire? Or: Pop Music's Position on Charitable Giving

By Markets Fool.com

In this clip fromIndustry Focus: Financials,Gaby Lapera is joined by Jason Moser and Mark Reeth to talk about some financial lessons that can be learned from Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars' hit "Billionaire." They discuss the emotional and tax implications of donating cars and stocks to charity(or random people), how to approach a huge windfall of cash that would make you a billionaire, the practicality of adopting "a bunch of babies that ain't never had [a thing]," and more.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Aug. 1, 2016.

Gaby Lapera: Next we move on to"Billionaire" by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars. Would one of you gentleman like to do the honors?

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Mark Reeth: I think you should sing it this time.

Jason Moser: I think you should sing.

Lapera: Thanks, Jason! Yeah, you should sing it.

Reeth: We want people to listen to these."Billionaire" by Trevie McCoy and Bruno Mars. "I'd probably pull an Angelina and Brad Pitt and adopt a bunch of babies that ain't never had blank, give away a few Mercedes like "Here lady have this" and last but not least, grant somebody their last wish.""Billionaire."

Lapera: Yeah, that was like spelling-bee like. I kind of liked that. So there's a couple different parts of me here. Part of me is like "Man, I don't know how you became a billionaire, but you should definitely diversify and put some of that money in bonds, yo!" and then another part of me is like, "Oh, that's so nice. You want to help people." What do you guys think?

Reeth: I just think that was a great "Diversify your bonds" shout out. This is the kind of show we're doing. Well, I can certainly talk about giving away a Mercedes. Well, it wasn't a Mercedes, but I actually just gave away my car, my old car, to a charity. I got a new car a couple weeks ago and last week I ended up donating my old car to Wheels For Wishes which is associated with the Make-A-Wish foundation so I certainly stand behind the idea of charitable giving. I think you get a lot from it, both from an ethical and moral perspective, but there are also obvious financial benefits as well.

I'm going to get a little bit off my taxes this year, hopefully, when they sell that car and I get a receipt for it. It's a junker but I hopefully will get something out of it. There's also you can always, people always forget this, you can donate stocks to charities. You can make --

Lapera: I did not know that.

Reeth: Yep, absolutely. You can donate stocks and it helps, I think it actually completely eliminates -- maybe you know this, Jason -- completely eliminates the capital gains tax.

Moser: I am no tax expert, Mark, so I'm going to defer.

Lapera: That's really sneaky if that's the case.

Reeth: It is. You're still giving away money but there is something to be said about again, avoiding that capital gains tax and hopefully making somebody's day with a charitable donation so that's again, something people always forget about, but stocks are just as donatable as a car.

Moser: Sneaky maybe but you know I've always had this idea that, we espouse long-term investing here at the Fool. We talk about holding these businesses three, five, 10 years, even longer. I would be on board if we said capital gains-wise, if you've owned shares in a particular business for five years or longer then I would think: "Hey, let's just wipe out any exposure to capital gains tax all together," and you can alter it on the other side there as well, so that if you're selling before five years is up, perhaps your short-term capital gains exposure is greater than it is currently today, but I think that would certainly promote at least the benefits of owning of longer-term investing like we talk about here. I think that would be kind of an interesting one to at least debate the pros and cons.

Lapera: If you are a huge jerk, you could also unload some like SolarCityor something.

Reeth: Well, neither Jason nor I are huge jerks, so we would never do that.

Moser: And I don't own any SolarCity, so.

Lapera: Could a charity just be like: "Nah!"?

Reeth: "Do I really want Container Store right now? Nah."

Lapera: Okay, you guys feel good about that?

Moser: I do. I think it's ... You always think about if I ran into this big windfall of money, if I do all of a sudden woke up tomorrow and I had $5 million, what would I do with it? Maybe $5 million isn't the best example but regardless, I think it's important to recognize that it's a big world. We've got a lot of things going for us here. It feels good to help when you can and I think as long as you can approach life from that perspective, it kind of helps you make better decisions.

Lapera: Building on point number one, make sure you can pay your rent and then help others.

Reeth: Right, maybe don't adopt a bunch of babies but you can always give away a Mercedes.

Lapera: That's a Mark Reeth.

Reeth: That was Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars.

Lapera: I know. If you want to give away a Mercedes to Mark Reeth, it's mreeth@fool.com.

Gaby Lapera has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Moser has no position in any stocks mentioned. Mark Reeth has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends SolarCity. The Motley Fool owns shares of The Container Store Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.