Warren Buffett: The Oracle of Omaha
Known as the “Oracle of Omaha”, Warren Buffett was born into an ordinary Nebraska family in 1930. From early on, he had an interest in math, and aimed to be a stockbroker after graduating from school. At the age of 11, he bought his first profile of stocks, and even bought some for his sister, Doris. After finishing high school, Buffett entered business school at the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated with both a BSc in Business Administration and enough savings to start his own business.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Buffett worked as a stockbroker, and was continually purchasing and investing in new business partnerships and opportunities. By 1962, his personal net worth was over a million dollars. His largest investment was in a textile company called Berkshire Hathaway, which he began buying shares of the same year. He quickly took control of the company, and used its capital to begin investing in other companies. By 1987, Buffett was worth $620 million, which earned him a spot on the Forbes 400 list for the first time.
Buffett became a billionaire in 1990, and throughout the 1990s and 2000s continued to earn more and more money through stocks acquired through Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett owns 7% of the Coca-Cola Company, and he has a partial stake in the Washington Post Company, and Salomon Inc.
In 2008, Buffett became the richest person in the world (at the time), with a net worth of approximately $62 billion. 2008 also saw Buffet begin distributing parcels of Berkshire Hathaway shares to foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and signed a pledge which would see 5% of Berkshire Hathaway stock going to the Foundation each year, contingent on them giving away an equal amount through their programming. In 2010, Buffett signed a pledge along with many others among the world’s elite including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, promising to give away at least 50% of their wealth. This pledge was called the “Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge” and was designed to hold them accountable, as well as encourage others in their situation to do the same.
Buffett has said over and over that he is opposed to the system which sees billions pass through private hands, and has stated in interviews that he will only leave enough money to each of his three children so that they are comfortable. “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing,” he said in an interview. Buffett is known for being personally frugal, and lives simply on his relatively low salary of $100,000 per year. He was married to Susan Buffett for 52 years before her death in 2004, and in 2006 married his long-time partner and companion Astrid, with whom his wife was also close. Buffett is famously close-mouthed about his personal life, going to far as to disown an adopted granddaughter for participating in a documentary about the lives of wealthy heirs and heiresses.
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