The financial genius with wonderful teachings on life

Warren Buffett_Chairman and CEO_Berkshire Hathaway_american financial titan_patrick dwyer
Image courtesy of Fortune Live Media at Flickr.com

The legendary Warren Edward Buffett’s birthplace was Omaha, Nebraska. He is the second child to his parents Howard and Leila Buffett. Warren Buffett’s father was a U.S. Congressman, who was Scandinavian by origin and his mother was Spanish. He is popularly termed as the “Wizard of Omaha” and the “Sage of Omaha”. At the age of 85, this financial titan is currently the third richest person in the world, with a net worth of $66.4 billion, working in diversified investments. Buffett demonstrated a knack for financial and business matters early in his childhood. Friends and acquaintances have said the young boy was a mathematical prodigy who could add large columns of numbers in his head, a talent he occasionally demonstrated in his later years.

Check out the complete list of the 50 richest people on Earth: Link

Warren often visited his father’s stock brokerage shop as a child, and chalked in the stock prices on the blackboard in the office. At 11 years old he made his first investment, buying three shares of Cities Service Preferred at $38 per share. The stock quickly dropped to only $27, but Buffett held on tenaciously until they reached $40. He sold his shares at a small profit, but regretted the decision when Cities Service shot up to nearly $200 a share. He later cited this experience as an early lesson in patience in investing. By the time he was 15, Warren had amassed $2,000 and used it to buy a 40-acre farm in Nebraska. He hired a farm laborer to work on the land, then used the profits to help pay his way through University.

Warren graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, after which he applied to Harvard Business School. After being rejected by Harvard, Warren matriculated at Columbia Business School, where he graduated in 1951 with a Master of Science in Economics. While at Columbia, Warren studied under legendary value investor Benjamin Graham. And with his degree in hand, Warren returned to Omaha and studied public speaking while there. He also began teaching investing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

In 1954, Warren moved his new wife Susan and his young daughter to New York, where he began working for his mentor, Benjamin Graham.

In 1956, Buffet formed the firm Buffett Partnership Ltd. in his hometown of Omaha. Utilizing the techniques learned from Graham, he was successful in identifying undervalued companies to buy shares from them, becoming a millionaire and merging all his partnerships together into one. Warren’s first and most famous and influential deal was his acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway in 1964. The enterprise was a textile company named Berkshire Hathaway. He began accumulating stock in the early 1960s, and by 1965 he had assumed control of the company.

Warren Buffett_american financial titans_patrick dwyer
Image courtesy of Javier at Flickr.com

Despite the success of Buffett Partnership, its founder dissolved the firm in 1969 to focus on the development of Berkshire Hathaway. He phased out its textile manufacturing division, instead expanding the company by buying assets in media (The Washington Post), insurance (GEICO) and oil (Exxon). Immensely successful, the “Oracle of Omaha” even managed to spin seemingly poor investments into gold, most notably with his purchase of scandal-plagued Salomon Brothers in 1987.

After the Berkshire Hathaway’s significant investment in Coca-Cola, Buffett became director of the company from 1989 until 2006. He has also served as director of Citigroup Global Markets Holdings, Graham Holdings Company and The Gillette Company.

In June of 2006, Buffett announced his intention to give away most of his fortune to charity. The bulk of his donation was announced in a letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which, as of 2014, has received 185 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway at a market value of US$28.3 billion. This donation became the largest act of charitable giving in United States history. In 2010, Buffett and Gates announced they had formed The Giving Pledge campaign to recruit more wealthy individuals for philanthropic causes.

Buffett told Charlie Rose in 2006, “I don’t believe in dynastic wealth.” Buffett’s belief that people who inherit wealth are “members of the lucky sperm club” and his liberal politics persuaded him not to give his fortune to his children. Buffett also favors inheritance taxes, and higher taxes on capital in general.

Warren Buffett despite having two children and a full-fledged happy family is known to donate 99.9 percent of his wealth. Warren Buffett is a perfect example for the budding entrepreneurs conveying a clear message of vision, mission, focus and hard work.

Patrick Dwyer invites you to follow the link if you want to read more about financial titans. In this blog post you will learn about John D Rockefeller Jr.

 

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