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Philanthropy and Frugality: Warren Buffett’s lifestyle

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This piece of ARDOXSO’s Lifestyle section is dedicated to the business magnate Warren Buffett’s lifestyle.

Warren Buffett’s lifestyle is unique in the sense that despite the billions of money there are no colossal palaces and golden cars involved. Buffett lives modestly like a regular person. He does not wear designer suits and luxury watches, nor he dines at lavish restaurants and yet he is not afraid to donate billions to charities.

Warren Buffett has a net worth of $84.1 billion on this date. He is known for his prosperous investments and the art of profiting. He started working at the age of 11 and showed a knack for business from the early days. Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and continues to work at 89 years of age.

 

Becoming

Warren Buffett was born in 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the son of Leila (née Stahl) and Congressman Howard Buffett. Howard Buffett was a four-term Republican United States Representative for the state of Nebraska. He was also a businessman and investor and owned a stock brokerage firm.

Warren started working from an early age. He sold chewing gums, Coke bottles, weekly publications, golf balls, and stamps door to door.

“I made my first investment at age eleven. I was wasting my life up until then.”

 

Warren earned about $175 a month by delivering The Washington Post newspaper when he was a mere teenager. At the date, this amount was a considerable sum, more than his teachers would make.

At the age of 16, his savings were equivalent to $53,000.

His senior yearbook picture states: “likes math; a future stockbroker.”

After finishing high school Warren Buffet had no intention of attending college and wanted to continue doing business but was overruled by Howard Buffett, his father.

Buffett entered the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. He studied there for two years and then transferred to the University of Nebraska. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the age of 19.

Benjamin Graham is known as the father of value investing. He was a British-born American investor, economist, and university professor. At the time he taught at Columbia Business School of Columbia University.

Buffett enrolled at Columbia Business School to study under Graham. He received a Master of Science in Economics in 1951. After graduating, Buffett attended the New York Institute of Finance.

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business.”

His business life is constituted of multiple investments and calculated choices. He combined his knack for business with a thorough education and by making a lot of good decisions he ended up as a symbol of business success.

“The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.”

 

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Present

What catches the eye first when considering Warren Buffett’s lifestyle is that if you watch his daily routine you wouldn’t know he is a billionaire.

He has told CNBC that he’s “never had any great desire to have multiple houses and all kinds of things and multiple cars.”

He lives in a modest house in Omaha that he has bought in the 50s for $31,500. He earns a yearly salary of $100,000 at Berkshire Hathaway in which he is the CEO.

He uses coupons to pay for MacDonald’s dinners and he drives a modest $44,000 Cadillac XTS.

Yet he spends billions on philanthropy. Warren Buffett is considered one of the most generous philanthropists in the world.

Together with Bill Gates, He is a member and advocator of The Giving Pledge. That is an initiative that asks the world’s richest to donate the bulk of their assets for philanthropic uses.

“We have learned to turn out lots of goods and services, but we haven’t learned as well how to have everybody share in the bounty. The obligation of a society as prosperous as ours is to figure out how nobody gets left too far behind.”

 

It is estimated that he has given away around $40 billion to charities around the globe.

 

Sleep

About his sleep routine, Buffet has told PBS:

“I get quite a bit of sleep. I like to sleep, so I will usually sleep for eight hours a night.”

 

He turns in at 10:45 p.m. and wakes up every day at 6:45 a.m. “I have no desire to get to work at four in the morning,” he told PBS.

Buffett starts his day by reading The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Forbes, according to CNBC.

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

 

Work

Working is still a part of Warren Buffett’s lifestyle. The tycoon told Fast Company that he doesn’t need to work anymore yet he attends Berkshire Hathaway every day because he loves it.

Buffett usually gets to work before the market opening, yet it has been reported lately that sometimes he doesn’t turn into work until after the market opens.

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Once Buffett in his office, he starts reading. He reads books as well as newspapers.

“I just sit in my office and read all day”

His favorite sources for news include The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Omaha World-Herald, and American Banker, according to CNBC.

“I never invest in anything I don’t understand.”

 

 

Family & Friends

Buffett married Susan Buffett (née Thompson) in 1952. They had a daughter and two sons named Susie, Howard, and Peter.

Buffett has planned for the bulk of his fortune to be donated to philanthropic causes. He wants to leave his children a mere $2 billion each. He once said he plans to leave his children “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”

Susan Buffett, Warren’s wife, died in July 2004. Two years later Buffett married his longtime friend, Astrid Menks, who was then in her early 60s.

“There is no power on earth like unconditional love.”

Warren Buffett’s best friend is Charlie Munger whom he has known for 60 years. They have been business partners for 40 years now. Munger is the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s right-hand man.

Buffet has a famous friendship with Bill Gates. He has taken him for lunch at McDonald’s and one time he paid for it with coupons. Business Insider reports that “he picks Gates up at the airport, calls him, and sends him news clippings via snail mail.”

 

Exercise

Entrepreneur reports that exercise still is a part of 89 years old Warren Buffett’s lifestyle and it could help counteract his diet.

When he finds the time, he would hit a golf course; but he does not pay handsome sums for fancy golf clubs.

“I’m a member of every golf club that I want to be a member of. I’d rather play golf here with people I like than at the fanciest golf course in the world”

 

He also plays bridge for around 12 hours each week. He told CBS once:

“You know, if I’m playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don’t ever see her,”

 

Buffett is an avid, lifelong fan of Nebraska football team, and even attends games whenever he could fit it in his busy schedule.

 

 

Food

Buffett eats breakfast at McDonald’s every morning. The amount he spends for his breakfast depends on how well the stock market is doing that morning.

Business Insider reports that each day his wife Astrid places $2.61, $2.95, or $3.17 in Buffett’s car’s cup holder.

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Buffett loves Coca Cola drinks. He once told Fortune: “I’m one-quarter Coca Cola.” He drinks five cans of Cokes each day.

Buffett likes to eat his meals at a local steakhouse. The Gorat’s steakhouse is a modest place with its menu ranging from $3 to $41. Buffett attends this restaurant with his friends as well and also likes to take his business partners and clients to the place from time to time.

Gorat’s T-bone steak cooked rare is chosen by Buffett. He orders it with a double order of hash browns and a Cherry Coke.

There are reports about him loving strawberry milkshakes as well.

 

Music

Buffett loves playing the ukulele. Girls Inc. of Omaha (that is run by Buffett’s daughter) once hosted a ukulele concert the profits of which went to charity.

 

Books

Learning has been a great part of Warren Buffett’s lifestyle.

“One can best prepare themselves for the economic future by investing in your own education. If you study hard and learn at a young age, you will be in the best circumstances to secure your future.”

 

Warren Buffett spends a lot of money on books. He spends 80% of his day reading.

Business Insider has listed these19 books to be Warren Buffett’s favorites:

 

  • “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
  • “Security Analysis” by Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd
  • “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” by Philip Fisher
  • “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises” by Tim Geithner
  • “Jack: Straight from the Gut” by Jack Welch
  • “The Outsiders” by William Thorndike Jr.
  • “The Clash of the Cultures” by John Bogle
  • “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street” by John Brooks
  • “Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?” by Fred Schwed
  • “Essays in Persuasion” by John Maynard Keynes
  • “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” by Jack Bogle”Poor Charlie’s Almanack” edited by Peter Kaufman
  • “The Most Important Thing Illuminated” by Howard Marks
  • “Dream Big” by Cristiane Correa
  • “First a Dream” by Jim Clayton and Bill Retherford
  • “Take on the Street” by Arthur Levitt
  • “Nuclear Terrorism” by Graham Allison
  • “The Making of the President” by Theodore White
  • “Limping on Water” by Phil Beuth and K.C. Schulberg

 

 

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

 

 

 

“If you are very talented and make great efforts, results are just a matter of time.”

 

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ARDOXSO Weekly Blog currently has 5 members at its editorial board and publishes about 250 articles annually on ARDOXSO blog.

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