Frugal and Rich

Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffett, is widely regarded as the most successful investor in the world. It’s quite obvious that he is very successful. He is one of the richest men in America, after building his long-term wealth to over 66 billion dollars. He is widely known for his infamous frumpy appearance and that everything he touches turns to gold. Call him frugal but he lives in the same Omata house he bought in 1958 at $31,500 and he even celebrated his second marriage with a chain restaurant dinner.

Warren Buffett is a true genius and he is able to simplify complex ideas into quotes that will definitely stand the test of time. Warren earned the moniker ‘Oracle of Omata’, after spending his life dispensing advice to anybody that would listen. His company Berkshire Hathaway does so well as a powerhouse, managing 80 businesses in a range of products from ketchup to ice-cream to batteries. Its stock trades at above $210,000 each share. At the age of 85, Warren’s net worth of $66.8 billion is still increasing. Buffet is the second richest individual in the US, coming after Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder ($81.5billion), while Oracle’s Larry Ellison comes third at $47.3 billion.

Always Ready to Change Course

Warren is the epitome of nonconformity regarding his leadership and is full of surprises. Recently, he made the unexpected move of investing $1 billion in Apple stocks, as he has built a reputation for himself of staying away from tech stocks. While the business world is still stunned by this venture, for him, it’s just an everyday event.

Just when people thought his personal life was way too dramatic and surprising, he has unleashed more surprises. Warren had a unique arrangement with his first wife, Susan Buffett, and his mistress who later became his second wife. Warren and Susan had a traditional marriage for the initial 25 years as Susan, a stay-at-home mom, helped in the raising of their three children. But in 1977 Susan moved to San Francisco to pursue her singing career. Warren was left in a mess and couldn’t take care of himself, which prompted Susan to ask a local waitress, Astrid Menks, to look after him. A unique symbiotic relationship then ensued between the three. When Warren was asked about the relationship he would say, “Susie put me together, and Astrid keeps me together”. Warren was devastated when Susan succumbed to cancer in 2004 and he later married Astrid.

The Philosophy of the Rich

Warren lives by a certain set of values that he uses in business and in making other decisions in life. If you are looking for some quotations that contain a lot of wisdom in relatively few words, then nothing does it better than Warren Buffett’s quotes . Warren preaches simplicity, patience and understanding what you want and what you don’t. Warren is not only brilliant in investing and business but also in inspiring. Here are the five things that Warren Buffet lives by.

  • Fighting for what you believe in.

For a long time Warren has been advocating for increased taxation on the rich. He might not always sound politically correct but he’s been pushing the government to create a higher tax bracket for those who make $1 million and above and a higher one yet for those who make $10 million and above.

“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice…. While most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks,” he wrote in The New York Times in 2011. Today he still maintains that the government should tax the highest income earners more and, in 2016 elections, he openly endorses Hillary Clinton.

  • Mind your own area of expertise.

People might consider him old fashioned but Warren is a longtime value investor who, before Apple, had steered clear of tech investments. He invests in products, puts them on the market and waits for people to recognize their value. At times it can take years to pay off but he lives by the motto, ‘Better to take a certain payoff than a big uncertain one.’

This investment philosophy of sticking to your lane seems to have worked out perfectly for him, considering Berkshire Hathaway has had an annual return of 22% from 1964-2005. Among his best successes in America include Gieco, Gilette and Coca Cola, while in China his most successful venture was with PetroChina, its main oil company in 2002 and 2003. It’s reported that Berkshire Hathaway earned $3.6 billion after four years when he unloaded the shares. “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.” This is one of Warren’s famous quotes, which insists on taking risks in something you know about.

  • Learning from your mistakes

Warren had his first investment venture at the age of 11. This was when he bought three shares of stock at $38 each after visiting his father’s stockbroker office. He later sold them at $40, only making a small profit. It was quite a blow to him when the value of the stocks rose to $200 a share and he regretted having sold them too soon.

“No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” He then learnt the art of patience when investing. Warren went ahead and shared some of these lessons that he had learned by writing them in a letter to stakeholders in 1989, where he recounts the moment that he acquired the department store Hochschild Kohn at a cheap price and still sold it at the same price three years later. He compared it to ‘bargain-purchase folly’ and advised that it was better to purchase a wonderful company at a fair price, rather than vice versa. He said that when you buy a company, do it thinking you will hold it forever. “Our favorite holding period is forever.”

  • Making the world a better place

Warren is a renowned frugal billionaire but not a miser. He has been involved in a myriad of philanthropic initiatives ranging from education and homelessness to at-risk youths, animals and education. He founded The Giving Pledge in 2010 together with his allies Bill and Melinda Gates, to enable the wealthiest in America to commit to donating a good portion of their fortune to charity throughout their lifetimes. Buffet has given the majority of his wealth to a charity initiative The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Being transparent

Warren Buffett has lived his life as an open book. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he said there was zero chance that he would keep quiet about it. Without considering how his sickness would affect the value of his company’s stocks, he wrote a letter in April 2012 to the stakeholders and shared the news. He provided the details of the condition and information on his treatment.

Warren shares his treatment chronicles. In September 2012, he announced to the public that he was done with radiation and his health has since been on solid ground. His elder son, Howard, was cited to be his successor as Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, working alongside two other hedge fund managers that were recruited to help run the extensive investment portfolio.

Warren Buffet’s quotes are everything and you will truly pick up nuggets of wisdom by reading all that he has been saying through the years. One thing that stands out from the life of Warren and probably the secret of his success is probably how continuously he keeps learning. The Buffett of today is not the same person as the Buffet of 50 years ago. He keeps refreshing, re-energizing and re-inventing himself. It’s no wonder that the world keeps quoting him and enjoying his wisdom whenever he speaks.

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