Continue Reading Below
However, when asked by a user during a Q&A on social media whether being a billionaire has made him happier than if he were “just a middle class person,” Gates said yes.
“I don't have to think about health costs or college costs,” Gates explained on Reddit. “Being free from worry about financial things is a real blessing.”
Gates added that amassing a billion-dollar fortune isn’t necessary to achieve this level of financial freedom and that costs should be reduced so these benefits are accessible to everyone.
On a similar note, when asked whether there was an “incredibly important” issue that hasn’t garnered as much interest as it should, Gates named getting bipartisan consensus on reducing health care costs as a “critical issue that doesn’t get enough focus.”
Gates, who, together with his wife, runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – aimed at fighting disease and poverty in other countries – is a known proponent of expanding opportunities and access for those with less resources than himself. That even means he thinks he should pay higher taxes.
During a recent interview with the Daily Mail, the 63-year old businessman said that while he has paid $10 billion in taxes, he “should have paid more.” He has said that while raising the top tax rate to 70 percent might be a “misfocus,” there are other ways to make the U.S. tax code more progressive.
The business leader, who is worth an estimated $96.8 billion, also said he does not “deserve” his fortune.
“Nobody does,” Gates said. “It has come through timing, luck, and through people I worked with. I certainly worked hard and I think software has been a beneficial thing, but I benefited from a structure too.”
When it comes to the future of that fortune, Gates believes that giving it to his children wouldn’t be “good for them or good for society.” He does plan to give to his foundation.
Even though Gates admitted money opens up opportunities, he said during the Q&A that what makes him happy is seeing his children do well and following through on commitments to himself, like exercising more.