#RespectYourElders: Nebraska native Warren Buffett, age 88 and known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” is an American business tycoon, investment guru, speaker and philanthropist who serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is considered one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net worth of $84.9 billion, making him the third-wealthiest person in the world.
At only 6 years old, Buffett purchased 6-packs of Coca-Cola from his grandfather’s grocery store for 25 cents. Re-selling each bottle for 5 cents, he made a 5-cent profit. While other children his age were playing hopscotch and jacks, Warren was already making money.
Buffett went on to form Buffett Partnership Ltd. in 1956, where he was successful in identifying undervalued companies. This is what led him to become a millionaire. One of the enterprises Buffett invested in and later took control of was a textile company named Berkshire Hathaway. He phased out its textile manufacturing division, expanding the company by buying assets in media (The Washington Post), insurance (GEICO) and oil (Exxon). Berkshire Hathaway now owns more than 60 companies, including battery maker Duracell and restaurant chain Dairy Queen. Overseeing the growth of a conglomerate with holdings in the media, insurance, energy, and food and beverage industries, Buffett became one of the richest men in the world.
Lately, Buffett has devoted time to giving back, which is why he’s also a celebrated philanthropist. Buffett pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2010, Buffett and Gates launched the Giving Pledge, asking billionaires to commit to donating half their wealth to charitable causes. In 2016, Buffett launched Drive 2 Vote, a website aimed at encouraging people in his Nebraska community to exercise their right to vote, as well as to assist in registering and driving voters to a polling location.
In 2018, he donated a whopping $3.8 billion through Berkshire Hathaway, supporting the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four foundations in his family’s name. Each of these foundations support different causes, including education, impoverished communities, girls’ rights and social justice for people living in Nebraska.
Buffett acknowledged, however, that the opportunity to make these kinds of contributions doesn’t happen overnight.
“The biggest thing about making money is time,” Buffett said. “You don’t have to be particularly smart, you just have to be patient.”