Warren Buffett Biography: 6 Important Achievements
From his father’s small stock brokerage shop in Omaha to famously being called the “Oracle of Omaha”, check out these six very important achievements of Warren Buffett – one of the greatest investors of all time.
Warren Buffett: Fast Facts
Born: Warren Edward Buffett
Date of Birth: August 30, 1930
Parents: Howard Buffett and Leila Stahl Buffett
Education: Columbia Business School; University of Nebraska; Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Woodrow Wilson High School; Rose Hill Elementary School
Spouse: Susan Thompson (1952-2004); Astrid Menks (married in 2006)
Children: Susan, Howard, Peter
Most famous for: Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Zodiac sign: Virgo
Nickname: Oracle of Omaha; Sage of Omaha
Started investing right from an early age
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Warren Buffett’s passion for entrepreneurship and stock trading was nurtured by his father, Howard Buffett – a U.S. congressman. His profile in his senior yearbook read “likes math; a future stockbroker”. He gained an enormous amount of experience while working in his father’s stockbrokerage firm.
In his teens, he made close to $200 a month delivering The Washington Post newspapers. Other streams of income came from investments he made in his father’s business. At one point in time, he also sold chewing gum, golf balls, stamps, soda drinks, and weekly magazines, which he delivered door to door. As at the time he was graduating from college, he had close to $10,000 saved in the bank.
He drew a lot of inspiration from a number of business books at the Omaha public library. Arguably, his favourite was One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000 (1936) written by Frances Minaker. And at just the age of 11, he bought three shares of a company called Cities Service.
Such was his passion that he contemplated going straight into business after high school; however, his father insisted that the young Buffett first proceeds to college.
A big admirer of value investing
After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Warren Buffet proceeded to enrol at Columbia University to pursue a Master of Science in Economics. He chose Columbia because he wished to be mentored by renowned economist Benjamin Graham.
Considered the father of Value Investing, Graham mentored Buffett, exposing him to sound investment philosophies that seek out companies with high intrinsic value. Buffett’s guiding principle in investment is that: He scans the market to find stocks whose prices are low compared to their intrinsic value.
Established Buffett Partnership Ltd
A few years after graduate school, Buffett successfully secured a job at the firm of his mentor Benjamin Graham. Shortly after, he went on to found Buffett Parntership Ltd. Beginning with three partnerships in 1957, Buffett put in the hours day in, day out; and by 1960, his firm could boast of seven partnerships.
In the next couple of years, he continued to grow his stake in the partnership. And as the return of investment from his numerous portfolios kept increasing, Buffett’s worth crossed the 1 million-dollar mark.
Secured a controlling stake in Berkshire Hathaway
Buoyed on by successes in his partnerships, Buffet invested heavily in Berkshire Hathaway – a firm that would later become a colossal in media, energy, food and beverage industries of America. By the mid-1960s, he had taken control of the firm and even appointed Ken Chace to be its president.
Initially a textile business, Berkshire Hathaway gradually moved out of the textile business after Buffet’s arrival. In the years that followed, Buffett would steer the business into the insurance sector. Also, Berkshire Hathaway started buying shares in the Washington Post Company in 1973.
Thus as chairman and CEO, Buffett was able to turnaround the struggling fortunes of Berkshire Hathaway and make it the biggest holding company in the U.S. in terms of the volume of assets.
He consistently has a rich and diversified portfolio
Guided by the intrinsic value and management team of the firm, Buffett has over the past three decades acquired diversified business portfolio. Around 1988, he bought some stock from The Coca-Cola Company. His investment in this particularly company performed very properly.
One of the most generous philanthropists in the world
in 2006, Warren Buffett announced to the world that he intends leaving close to 85% of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway for charity. He promised to give much of that amount to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Considering how much those shares are worth, Warren Buffett’s donation to charity is seen as the biggest ever in history.
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
In addition to the numerous accolades he has won over the decades, Warren Buffett received the nation’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – in 2011. The award, which was bestowed by U.S. President Barack Obama – was in recognition of his philanthropic works as well as his unrivalled successes in investments.