Whitman Richest Woman Tech Tycoon
Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer, is the richest woman in the field of technology with $1.3 billion in assets, according to Wealth-X, a research company that focuses on ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families.

Whitman, 58, made most of her money through the sale of shares in eBay, a company she led from 1998 to 2008 during its dramatic expansion.

The wealth of women in the tech industry lags far behind that of male peers, according to the Wealth-X report. For example, the wealthiest man in the world, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has a net worth of $85.1 billion, while Mark Zuckerberg, the 30-year-old Facebook chairman, is worth at least $35 billion.

The second woman on the list is Sheryl Sandberg, 45, Facebook chief operating officer, whose net worth totals $1.22 billion. When she joined Facebook in 2008, Sandberg received company stock as part of her compensation plan. Since 2012, she has been selling off her Facebook shares, generating more than $700 million in cash. She still holds $430 million in Facebook stock.

Alibaba co-founder Lucy Peng (also known as Peng Lei) from China took third place with a personal fortune of $1.2 billion. The 42-year-old executive, who heads Alibaba’s new Ant Financial Services Group, became a billionaire in 2014 upon the valuation of the Chinese e-commerce giant before its record-setting IPO.

Wang Hsiueh Hong, 56, of Taiwan is fourth with $890 million. She is co-founder and chair of HTC, a smartphone and tablet manufacturer in Taiwan.

The youngest female tech executive on the list is 39-year-old Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, who has a net worth of $410 million. She placed fifth.
—Karen DeMasters

Keys To A Methodical Giving Plan
The first thought is not always the best thought when one makes a gift to charity, according to Carol Kroch, a wealth and philanthropic planning specialist with Wilmington Trust.

Kroch, a managing director for the firm, which had $80 billion in assets under management at the end of last year, advises clients to proceed methodically and consider all their options when giving to charity. Such forethought helps them avoid the common pitfalls and makes it more likely that a donation will be meaningful, have maximum impact and be tax-efficient, she said.

“Cash is not always king” as a way of giving, for example, Kroch said. “That may seem like an easy way.”

However, long-term, appreciated publicly held stock is often a better vehicle tax-wise, Kroch said. One must remember, though, that the shares must be held for more than a year or the deduction will be limited to basis, which is generally the initial purchase price.

Kroch, a lawyer who worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Plainsboro, N.J., before she joined Wilmington Trust in Delaware, reminds donors that an unacknowledged gift of more than $250 is not deductible. She urges them to make a habit of getting a contemporaneous written acknowledgement from the recipient to get the deduction.

This is important even if one donates to one’s own foundation. Such a foundation is a separate entity, so it must acknowledge the gift like any other entity, Kroch said.

Tax consequences are not the only things to consider when one decides to give, Kroch said. To make sure a gift has the desired impact, it is wise to attach conditions that spell out one’s intentions in detail and allow for twists and turns in the future.

For example, suppose a person or a family or an organization wishes to create an annual scholarship for a student in a particular field at a particular college, Kroch said. What happens to that scholarship if the college eliminates that department? Should it go to a similar department? Should it shift to another college? Does one wish for the scholarship to die with the department? These are the kinds of things that should be spelled out, she said.

Communication is key—not just between the giver and recipient, but also with family and friends and possible heirs, Kroch said. Communication among the parties avoids bitterness, misunderstandings and legal battles, she said.

Kroch also reminds Wilmington Trust’s clients to get a timely professional appraisal for donated property, including art, furniture, antiques and real estate. This goes for anything worth more than $5,000. The object must be appraised no sooner than 60 days before the date of the gift, Kroch said.

Often the wise course is not to give too large a gift in any one year; otherwise, you won’t be able to take advantage of adjusted gross income rules, Kroch said. Plan on being able to use a five-year carry-forward provision, she said.
—William Conroy