“I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”
Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Buffett serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. He is considered by some to be one of the most successful investors in the world,and as of August 2017 is the second wealthiest person in the United States, and the fourth wealthiest in the world, with a total net worth of $81.1 billion.
Born in Omaha, Buffett developed an interest in business and investing in his youth, eventually entering the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1947 before transferring and graduating from University of Nebraska–Lincoln at the age of 19. Buffett went on to enroll and graduate from Columbia University where he learned and eventually molded his investment philosophy around a concept pioneered by Benjamin Graham–value investing. He attended New York Institute of Finance to specialize his economics background and soon after began various business partnerships, including one with Graham. After meeting Charlie Munger, Buffett created the Buffett Partnership. His firm would eventually acquire a textile manufacturing firm called Berkshire Hathaway and assume its name to create a diversified holding company.
Buffett was born in 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, the second of three children and the only son of Leila (née Stahl) and Congressman Howard Buffett. Buffett began his education at Rose Hill Elementary School. In 1942, his father was elected to the first of four terms in the United States Congress, and after moving with his family to Washington, D.C., Warren finished elementary school, attended Alice Deal Junior High School and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947, where his senior yearbook picture reads: “likes math; a future stockbroker.After finishing high school and finding success with his side entrepreneurial and investment ventures, Buffett wanted to skip college to go directly into business, but was overruled by his father.
He was inspired by a book he borrowed from the Omaha public library at the age of seven, One Thousand Ways to Make $1000 Much of Buffett’s early childhood years were enlivened with entrepreneurial ventures. One of his first business ventures, Buffett sold chewing gum, Coca-Cola bottles, or weekly magazines door to door. He worked in his grandfather’s grocery store. While still in high school, he made money delivering newspapers, selling golf balls and stamps, and detailing cars, among other means. On his first income tax return in 1944, Buffett took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route.
Buffett worked from 1951 to 1954 at Buffett-Falk & Co. as an investment salesman; from 1954 to 1956 at Graham-Newman Corp. as a securities analyst; from 1956 to 1969 at Buffett Partnership, Ltd. as a general partner and from 1970, as Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Warren Buffett’s writings include his annual reports and various articles. Buffett is recognized by communicators as a great story-teller, as evidenced by his annual letters to shareholders. He warned about the pernicious effects of inflation:
The arithmetic makes it plain that inflation is a far more devastating tax than anything that has been enacted by our legislatures. The inflation tax has a fantastic ability to simply consume capital. It makes no difference to a widow with her savings in a 5 percent passbook account whether she pays 100 percent income tax on her interest income during a period of zero inflation, or pays no income taxes during years of 5 percent inflation.
— Buffett, Fortune (1977)
In 1949, Buffett was infatuated with a young woman whose current boyfriend had a ukulele. In an attempt to compete, he bought one of the diminutive instruments and has been playing it ever since. Though the attempt was unsuccessful, his music interest was a key part of his becoming a part of Susan Thompson’s life and led to their marriage. Buffett often plays the instrument at stock holder meetings and other opportunities. His love of the instrument led to the commissioning of two custom Dairy Queen ukuleles by Dave Talsma, one of which was auctioned for charity.
“We select such investments on a long-term basis, weighing the same factors as would be involved in the purchase of 100% of an operating business:
(1) favorable long-term economic characteristics;
(2) competent and honest management;
(3) purchase price attractive when measured against the yardstick of value to a private owner; and
(4) an industry with which we are familiar and whose long-term business characteristics we feel competent to judge.”