- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill: Monetary Master
- Official Title: CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
- Years Left in Office: Indefinite
- Political Classification:
- Education: BS Business Administration, MS Economics
- Age: 87 (born August 30, 1930)
Warren Buffett Facts and Information
- Warren Buffett routinely makes the top 10 list of richest humans on the planet
- Buffett made his billions in stock market investments
- Buffett is as well known now for philanthropic activity as he is for stock tips: he is giving a significant portion of his fortune to the Bill Gates Foundation
- Buffett's views and advice also affect US economic policy
- Buffett also puts money towards lowering population growth and stopping nuclear proliferation
Show me the money! When it comes to investing, Warren Buffett is your man. I mean come on; the man filed his first income tax return when he was 13, claiming a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. And this was only the first decision of many which would one day land him at the top of Forbes magazine’s list of the richest people in the world. There’s no denying it, as far as investing goes, Warren Buffett is a prodigy.
Warren’s love for the stock market started at a very young age. On a trip to New York City at the age of 10, he made a point to visit the New York Stock Exchange. And at the age of 11, he bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred for himself, and three for his sister. When he was in high school he invested in his father’s company and bought a farm worked by a tenant farmer. By the time he graduated college, Buffett had saved up what would be equivalent to $90,000 today.
He started his schooling at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied for 2 years. Buffett then transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and acquired a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the ripe age of 19! One year after that, he graduated from the Columbia Business School with a Master’s degree in Economics. As you can see, this guy isn’t messing around! He once stated, “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute”.
He held three jobs before he finally nabbed the position of Chairman and CEO in 1970 at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., where he still works today. This is the job that would eventually take him from a millionaire to a billionaire, with an estimated net worth of approximately $62 billion according to Forbes magazine in 2008. Some of his more famous investments include Geico, Harley Davidson, and ABC.
Buffet’s expanding knowledge of the United States trade deficit eventually pushed him to enter the foreign currency market. He believes the US dollar will continue to decline as long as we are placing a larger amount of our assets in the hands of foreigners. At a lecture in 1998, Buffet explained the stupidity behind a gold standard:
“It gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”
Such viewpoints have led him towards investments in non-U.S. based companies. He’s even managed to become a sort of behind-the-scenes economic advisor for the United States.
Politically speaking, Buffett made numerous contributions to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He even preached that John McCain’s views on social justice were so far from his own that McCain would need a “lobotomy” for Buffet to change his endorsement. Amusingly enough, both Barack Obama and John McCain mentioned Buffett during the campaign as a possible future Secretary of the Treasury.
However, Warren Buffett is known more famously for his philanthropic efforts. Notably stating at a press conference in 1977:
“I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It’s like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GDP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.”
The man’s about as frugal as they get; continuing to drive around in a Lincoln Town Car and live in the $31,500 house he bought with his wife in 1957 in Omaha, Nebraska. Thus his nicknames of “Wizard of Omaha” and the “Corn-Fed Capitalist”, among others.
He doesn’t believe in inherited fortunes and claims he will give very little of his money to his kids when he dies. Not only does he use his own fortune to donate money, but he takes advantage of his fame as well; selling a “Power Lunch with Warren Buffett” for $2,110,100 at an online charity auction in 2008. He’s like the energizer bunny… he just keeps going, and going, and going! I highly suggest everybody look into this guy and keep an eye on him in the future.
Why keep an eye on him? He is rich enough, respected enough, and now politically motivated enough to be affecting both U.S. monetary policy as well as the world economy in general…hell, his investment choices are still followed closely by millions of investors and affect the fate of a number of large U.S. companies and even whole industries.
He also has had his fill of the crappy US economic policy and its archaic entrenched views about taxes and growth: In August 2011, Buffett took out a full page ad in the New York Times encouraging an increase in taxes to the wealthiest class of Americans in order to shore up the spiraling U.S. debt burden, much to the outrage of Republicans and conservatives everywhere. Now those Buffett views are being used to argue for new policy by the Obama administration. Told you the dude was important!
Outside of his business concerns, Buffett has professed interest in funding a foundation devoted to halting population growth worldwide and to reducing nuclear technologies/weapons proliferation. The man with the jack can do it too…cuz money talks, and he got the most of it to talk with! Bam! And now you have been presented with a buffet on Buffett; hope you ate your fill of knowledge!