People like Warren Buffett are extremely rare births. The journey for the fifth richest person in the world, from being worth just about $114.75 in 1942 to owning Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) and being worth a whopping $118 billion today, was fun-filled and full of ups and downs. Even though Buffett has lived most of his life in the spotlight, there are some fascinating yet little-known facts about this American business mogul, investor, and philanthropist.
Full Name: Warren Edward Buffett
Date of Birth: 30 August 1930 (Age 92)
Net Worth: $100.2 billion (as of August 2022)
- Warren Buffett was born to Leila (née Stahl) and Congressman Howard Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska. After his father was elected to the first of four terms in the US Congress in 1942, his family relocated to Washington D.C. Warren attended Alice Deal Junior High School and Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947. In his high school yearbook photo, he is described as “likes math; a future stockbroker.”
- Warren Buffett Childhood Ventures: Buffett’s early childhood years were filled with entrepreneurial ventures. At the age of 6 in 1936, Buffett began selling Juicy Fruit chewing gum packs and Coca-Cola bottles and made profits from both products. Buffett, then 15 in 1945, saved $1200 from selling Washington Post newspapers and purchased a 40-acre farmland in Omaha, Nebraska.
- At the age of seven, he borrowed the book “One Thousand Ways to Make $1000” from the Omaha public library, which served as his inspiration.
- Warren Buffett buys his first stock: We shouldn’t be surprised that Buffett’s future career in investing began in high school considering that he was already thinking about ways to make money and picking stocks by the time he was just 11 years old. In 1941, Warren Buffett purchased 6 shares of Cities Service, a petroleum company now known as CITGO, for $38.25 each and later sold them for $40. However, the stock skyrocketed to $202 in the next few years, and this experience served as a valuable early lesson about the value of patience when investing.
- In 1943, Warren Buffett filed his first income tax return, claiming a $35 tax deduction for using his bicycle for work purposes. Surprising, he was only 13 years old at the time.
- Buffett enrolled at Columbia Business School of Columbia University in 1949 after being turned down by Harvard Business School. The decision to attend Columbia University is influenced by the fact that investment guru Benjamin Graham teaches there. In 1951, he received his Master of Science in economics from Columbia University.
- Warren Buffett Career: From 1951 to 1954, Buffett served as an investment salesman at Buffett-Falk & Company. In 1954, he received a job offer from Benjamin Graham for $12,000 a year. During this period, Buffett got the opportunity to work closely with Walter Jerome Schloss, a well-known American investor and fund manager. Between 1954 and 1956, Buffett worked as a securities analyst at Graham-Newman Corp.
- Warren Buffett Investment Partnerships: On May 1, 1956, Buffett established his first investment partnership – Buffett Associates, Ltd. At the age of 31 in 1961, he was managing seven partnerships, including Buffett Associates, Buffett Fund, Dacee, Emdee, Glenoff, Mo-Buff, and Underwood. In 1962, Buffett merged all partnerships into one and renamed it as Buffett Partnerships, Ltd.
- Warren Buffett became a millionaire at the age of 32 when his partnerships were valued at $7,178,500, of which he received over $1,025,000.
- Warren Buffett bought Berkshire Hathaway shares for the first time: In 1962, when Buffett noticed Berkshire Hathaway, a textile manufacturing firm, selling for $7.60 per share, he aggressively started purchasing its shares. In 1963, Buffett’s partnerships paid $14.86 per share while the company had $19 per share in working capital. This did not include the value of fixed assets. By the end of 1963, Buffett’s partnership had emerged as the single largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway. In 1965, Buffett took full control of Berkshire Hathaway and appointed Ken Chase as CEO.
- In 2008, Warren Buffett became the richest person in the world, with a total net worth of $62 billion, according to Forbes. Buffett surpassed Bill Gates, who had held the top spot on the Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires for 13 consecutive years.
- During the 2008 financial crisis, he was regarded as the go-to person; if you are in trouble, Warren Buffett can save you. The situation was reenacted in the HBO biographical drama television film “Too Big To Fail” which aired on May 23, 2011.
- Warren Buffett First Marriage: In 1952, Warren Buffett married Susan Thompson at Dundee Presbyterian Church in Omaha. Susan had shared a room with Buffett’s sister Roberta at Northwestern University. The couple started living separately when Susan relocated to San Francisco to pursue her singing career in 1977. Buffett was reportedly devastated when she left, but he blamed himself, saying “It was definitely 95% my fault … I just wasn’t attuned enough to her, and she’d always been perfectly attuned to me”. Warren and Susan remained married until her death in 2004 due to cancer.
- Warren Buffett Second Marriage: In 2006, Warren Buffett remarried Astrid Menks in a small ceremony at his daughter Susie’s Omaha home. Strangely enough, Warren’s first wife Susan introduced him to Astrid Menks, a restaurant hostess at the time, in 1978. According to the Daily Mail, Susan asked Astrid to look after her husband while she was away, saying, “Astrid, will you take Warren, make him some soup, go over there and look after him?”. Astrid and Buffett then started dating and lived together while maintaining a close friendship with Susan. The trio even signed their names at the bottom of the Christmas holiday cards every year.
- Warren Buffett Charity: In June 2022, Warren Buffett donated roughly $4 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway’s stock to charitable foundations. His lifetime donations have now reached a record $48 billion.
- When asked whether his intelligence or his discipline helped him more, Warren Buffett said, “To be a Great Investor you don’t have to have a Terrific IQ. What you do need is the right temperament, you need to be able to detach yourself from the views of others. You need to be able to look at the facts about a business or an industry and evaluate a business unaffected by what people think. And that is very difficult for most people.”
- Warren Buffett, also known as “the Oracle of Omaha”, “You have to learn to value businesses, you don’t have to be right on anything except one. There is no game like playing stocks, except you should not play too often.“
- Warren Buffett was ranked 16th among the World’s Most Powerful People 2018, by Forbes. In 2021, he was ranked 8th on the Forbes list of 400 wealthiest Americans.
- Warren Buffett net worth increased from $96 billion in 2021 to $118 billion in 2022, making him the world’s 5th billionaire.
The one who practices simplicity and humility, in spite of being rich and famous, is no less than a legend. We hope he lives long enough to achieve his goal of becoming the “oldest man there was”. We wish you many more charismatic, healthy, and amazing years ahead.
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from the Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators, or renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, and Sergey Brin, by following this link or subscribing to your daily newsletter.
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