Warren Buffett is a legendary investor who through hard work and great business acumen, rose to become one of the richest men in the world. Famous for his long-term investing strategy and assessments on market risk, Warren Buffett’s name is synonymous with one of the largest conglomerates in the world, Berkshire Hathaway, a company which is his biggest success. Known for his quiet and modest living, Warren is also a famous philanthropist and has pledged to give away a significant portion of his fortunes to charity.
Bio And Age
The business mogul was born Warren Edward Buffett on August 30, 1930, in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the second child born by his mother Leila and father Howard Buffett, a local stockbroker and banker turned Congressman. Buffett’s career as an entrepreneur began at a very early age when he began exhibiting an amazing aptitude for business and money.
Buffett who seemed to have genetically inherited his father’s professional skills reportedly showed interest in stocks as a child. The young lad bought his first shares from an oil and gas company when he was just 11 years old and at the same time, also bought shares for his sister. Following the effects of the Great Depression wherein his father lost his job and savings, Buffett learned to respect the value of money and lived a frugal lifestyle. Buffett and his family relocated to Washington in 1942 after his father was elected to the US Congress.
He attended Alice Deal Junior High School and Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., where he graduated from in 1947. He got his first job as a paperboy when he was just 13 years old. Asides delivering newspapers, Buffett was also a young businessman selling stamps, chewing gum, Coca-Cola beverages, golf balls, and magazines, etc from door to door. More so, Warren worked as an editor for a horse racing tip sheet Stable-Boy Selections and later started a pinball leasing business with a high school friend Don Danly and was soon taking home $50 per week.
As a teenager, he was saving and investing the money he made from his business ventures. At age 15, Warren had saved up to $2,000 which he used to buy a 40-acre farmland in Nebraska and hired a farm laborer to work on it. Warren used the profits from the land to support himself through college.
For his higher education, Warren first attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Finance in 1947. But after two years, he transferred to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where he obtained a degree in business administration. Thereafter, he applied to Harvard Business School but was rejected. Undaunted, Buffett further obtained a Master’s degree in Economics in 1951 from Columbia Business School where he studied under legendary value investor Benjamin Graham who became Warren’s mentor and taught him simple yet profound investment principles.
Career And Success Journey
After college, Warren returned to Omaha and worked as an investment salesman at his father’s company, Buffett-Falk & Co. from 1951 to 1954. It was during these initial years, that Warren also began teaching at the University of Nebraska and conquered his fear of public speaking.
In 1954, the young stockbroker was finally given the opportunity he had long awaited after his mentor/idol called him up to come work at Benjamin Graham’s partnership in New York. But two years after, Benjamin Graham retired and disbanded his partnership. Buffett then returned to Omaha filled with the knowledge he had acquired from Graham and established a limited investment partnership which eventually birthed several other partnerships across the United States making him a millionaire by 1962.
All the partnerships were later merged into a single entity, a textile manufacturing firm called Berkshire Hathaway. In the early 1960’s Warren aggressively purchased the shares of Berkshire Hathaway and eventually took over the company’s control. The astute investor gradually switched the company’s business from textile into the insurance sector during the late 1960s. He also purchased significant stakes in other companies such as Salomon Inc. in 1987 and soft drink company Coca-Cola in 1988. Warren Buffett’s reputation as an astute investor has grown over the years and by 2008, Forbes named him the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of $62 billion.
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Warren Buffet is also considered to be one of the biggest philanthropists of his time as he believes the best way to be loved is to be lovable. Though he spends frugally, he gives generously and has pledged to give away most of his wealth to social and humanitarian causes. The legendary investor who’s currently worth more than $77 billion has pledged to gradually donate 99% of his fortune to charity upon his death, most of which would go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2010, Warren collaborated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to form The Giving Pledge, an initiative aimed at making the world’s wealthiest people dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
Warren Buffett’s Family – Wife, Children
Warren Buffett has had an unconventional marriage. The investment guru has been married twice. He was first married to Susan Thompson in 1952 in a long-lasting marriage that produced three children, a daughter Susan Alice, and two sons Howard Graham and Peter Andrew. But halfway through their marriage, Warren and Susan separated in 1977. Though still married to Warren, Susan left him to live on her own in an apartment in San Francisco as well as to pursue a singing career. Though the new arrangement was quite devastating for Warren, the couple remained close and spent time with their kids.
Susie eventually introduced Warren to a waitress Astrid Menks and with her blessings, Menks later moved in with Warren. The three maintained a strangely close relationship as Susan and Warren never divorced and remained legally married for over 50 years until Susan’s death in 2004. Buffett was reportedly by Susan’s side at the time of her death.
Menks and Buffett who had been longtime companions eventually tied the knot at a modest wedding ceremony in 2006, two years after Susan’s death from oral cancer. The low-key event was held in Omaha, Nebraska. Interestingly, neither of Buffett’s two sons nor top business leaders were present at the intimate ceremony.
A Latvian immigrant, Menks loves to keep a low profile and also lives a frugal lifestyle just like her husband. Though the couple is living happily together, Buffett once admitted that he harbors regrets about his relationship with his first wife Susan. According to the investment guru, his biggest mistake ever was giving up on his marriage when Susan informed him of her plans to leave and also admits that the dissolution of their relationship was mostly his fault.
Height, Religion, Other Facts
1. The business mogul stands at an average height of 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 83 kg (183 lbs).
2. Though raised as a Presbyterian Christian, Buffett is known to have an agnostic attitude toward religion. Buffett’s agnostic views suggestively mean that he basically doesn’t profess a belief in a supernatural deity and sees no one as wrong when it comes to religion. He prefers to keep business practices separate from religion.
3. Warren Buffett lives in a modest house in Omaha, Nebraska. The frugal investor bought the five-bedroom house for $31,500 in 1956.
4. Buffett is notoriously known as an unhealthy eater who drinks an alarming amount of Coca-Cola each day.
5. Buffett broke his own charity record in 2016 when he donated $2.9 billion to various charities.