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Billionaire Investor And PaypPal Founder – Here’s What You Should Know About Peter Theil

Peter Thiel is best known as the billionaire technology investor who co-founded PayPal and Palantir, a massive data analysis firm (and security contractor). Oh, and for the record, he also attempted to build a libertarian utopia on a massive platform in the middle of the ocean. He was one of the early investors in Facebook and also the inspiration behind a plot detail in HBO’s “Silicon Valley.”

Thiel’s critics, who often dismiss him as just another libertarian techno-evangelist, should give his book “Zero to One” a close look. In it, Thiel makes some points that don’t quite fit with his public caricature. He argues that monopolies are good and that it’s competition, red in tooth and claw, that often destroys industries.

Tristan Fewings/ Getty Images | Author Max Chafkin argues that Thiel may be the most powerful person in Silicon Valley—and perhaps the world

What is Thiel’s background?

Thiel is one of Silicon Valley’s most influential figures, having parlayed his personal network, financial investments, and zeal for debate into a business philosophy emulated by start-up founders who regard Thiel as “the cult leader of the cult of disruption,” according to Max Chafkin, author of Thiel’s 2021 biography “The Contrarian.”

He was a childhood chess champion who went to Stanford for his undergraduate studies and then the law school. During his time at Stanford, he founded the conservative publication the Stanford Review, which railed against what he and his colleagues saw as the encroaching force of political correctness on college campuses. Thiel later co-wrote “The Diversity Myth” with tech investor David Sacks, which addressed similar issues.

Ezra Klein/ The Independent | Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of Paypal Holdings Inc. and a vocal opponent of higher taxes, had amassed $5 billion in a tax-free Roth

After college, he raised $1 million from friends and family to launch Thiel Capital Management to invest in the dot-com boom, before co-founding PayPal with Max Levchin, which was later acquired by eBay.

Peter Thiel’s $5 billion Roth

Following up on their ground-breaking reporting on America’s top billionaires’ paltry income tax payments, ProPublica has revealed billionaire Roth IRA stuffing.

According to ProPublica, PayPal founder Peter Thiel started a Roth IRA with a contribution of less than $2,000 in 1999 and reaped tax-free gains totaling $5 billion by 2019.

Thiel will pay no federal income tax on his $5 billion in gains because they were earned entirely within a Roth IRA. That is how individual retirement accounts operate. Unlike a traditional IRA contribution, a Roth IRA contribution is not tax deductible. However, as long as no premature distributions are made, the investment gains are completely tax-free, regardless of how large a Roth IRA grows.

Carolyn Kaster/ AP | A billionaire several times over, Thiel was a co-founder of PayPal, the digital payment service, and the first outside investor in Facebook

Thiel is not the only one among the ultra-rich who has taken advantage of this loophole. According to ProPublica, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Ted Wechsler, Alden Capital’s Randall Smith, and Renaissance Technologies’ Robert Mercer have all used Roth IRAs to create massive tax-free slush funds.

The Roth IRA has nothing to do with retirement planning and everything to do with tax avoidance for these economic elites.

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