Investor Warren Buffett is known for his down-to-earth lifestyle in Omaha, Nebraska despite his extreme wealth. The 86-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. boasts a net worth of $73.3 billion, according to Forbes, and his conglomerate owns more than 60 well-known companies, like Dairy Queen and Geico. Buffett came in second place on the Forbes list The World’s Billionaires 2017.
Here are just a few examples of what you can learn from Buffett’s career.
Live within your means
Whether you’re more than financially stable or have dreams of being as wealthy as Buffett himself, how you choose to spend your money is up to you— but living well within your means frees you up to spend money and time on other things.
Buffett answered a question from Charlie Rose about how he doesn’t feel the need to have things like “a lot of mansions around the world, a big boat” even though he can afford them during a CBS News “Person to Person” episode.
“I have every possession I want. I have a lot of friends who have a lot more possessions. But in some cases, I feel the possession possess them, rather than the other way around,” he told the media outlet, according to the transcript.
He does, however, have a private jet—to make his job easier. At first, he so hated the cost of the jet that he called it The Indefensible, and later changed its name to The Indispensable.
Think about “your inner scorecard”
Buffett mentioned this during a talk at Ivey Business School in Canada in 2015.
He answered a question about what he thinks “success” is to him, and how it changed through his career.
“As you move along in your career, you always want to consider your inner scorecard – how you feel about your own performance and success. You should worry more about how well you perform rather than how well the rest of the world perceives your performance. The success of Berkshire has always been more important than my own personal success in terms of financial returns. The most important takeaway is that you should always try to be a good person,” Buffett said in the transcript.
Give back to others
Buffett writes about the pledge he made in 2006 to give up more than 99% of his wealth “philanthropic foundations” over time in the form of Berkshire Hathaway stock, in a letter for The Giving Pledge saying that he, Bill and Melinda Gates were asking “hundreds of rich Americans” to donate at least 50% of their money to charity.
“The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude.Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course,” Buffett writes at the end of the letter.
Buffett, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates established The Giving Pledge in 2010, when there were 40 “pledgers” from the US. There were 170 from 21 countries in May 2017.
As far as who can be part of the effort, the website says “the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving.”
Berkshire Hathaway announced Monday that Buffett “converted 12,500 of his Class A shares into 18,750,000 Class B shares,” and said that 18,628,189 of the Class B shares— worth $3.17 billion— were given away to five foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Don’t crow about talent; Acknowledge your luck
Buffett talked about luck in a Forbes interview with Jay-Z at Buffett’s office building in 2010.
“Jay said it perfectly when he talked about how he’s in there recording for himself, and the money comes afterwards. I got to do what I love, and it doesn’t get any luckier than that. I would be doing what I do now and I would’ve done it in the past if the payoff had been in seashells, or sharks’ teeth, or anything else. I’ve had all kinds of luck. I had the luck of getting turned down by Harvard, which meant I got to study under Ben Graham at Columbia, which changed my life. All kinds of things have worked out. So I just hope I stay lucky. I’ve been lucky for 80 years,” Buffett said.
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