Business Man, Investor, Philanthropist
In any discussion of the world’s wealthiest people, Warren Buffett’s name comes up. As chairman, president, and CEO of the enormous conglomerate company Berkshire Hathaway, he is the most successful investor in the world. Despite his wealth, he is known for being a frugal guy and not spending much of his personal money. For instance, he still lives in the same small house that he purchased in 1957.
Buffett was always interested in business. As a kid, he sold gum, Coca-Cola, and newspapers by going door to door, and he worked in his grandfather’s grocery store in Omaha, where he grew up. In high school he started delivering papers, detailing cars, and selling golf balls and stamps.
When he was only 14, he bought his first piece of land – a 40-acre farm. By the time he was 15, he was making $175/month delivering papers, which was a lot of money in 1945. And by the time he finished college, he had saved the equivalent of over $90,000 in today’s dollars.
After he graduated from college with a degree in business administration and graduate school with a master’s degree in economics, he started working as an investment salesman, and then a securities analyst – jobs that taught him even more about investing money. Buffett was not always successful – he was rejected by Harvard, his gas station business failed, and the person he really wanted to work for (an investor named Ben Graham) would not immediately hire him.
Graham eventually hired him, and he worked for Graham’s investment company for a few years before it closed and Buffett started his own partnership. This partnership grew and grew, and eventually, at the age of 32, Buffett became a millionaire. It took another 30 years before that same company made him a billionaire, and by 2008 he was worth $62 billion dollars.
He started his own charitable organization called the Buffett Foundation (now the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, managed by his daughter Susie), and expected to manage his donations through this foundation. However, in 2006, he made the largest donation in history when he gave shares in his company worth about $30.7 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation because he thought they were better prepared to use the money. In 2010, he signed The Giving Pledge with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and pledged to give away at least half of his fortune to charity.