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From Childhood to Investing Icon: All You Need to Know About Warren Buffett

07 September 20236 mins read by Angel One
With his current net worth reaching an astounding USD 122 billion, he consistently maintains his position among the top 10 richest individuals on our planet.
From Childhood to Investing Icon: All You Need to Know About Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett, an iconic figure in the world of finance, stands as a towering example of extraordinary wisdom and unparalleled wealth. His journey from modest beginnings to financial greatness is a source of inspiration for countless individuals worldwide. 

In this blog, we will delve into the defining events, key characteristics, and, of course, the strategic investments that propelled Buffett to achieve remarkable success at such a young age. Join us on this captivating exploration of the remarkable journey of Warren Buffett, a man who has left an indelible mark on the world of finance. 

Childhood Beginning (1936-1941) 

Warren Buffett, the legendary investor, emerged from humble beginnings. In the year 1936, young Warren was just six years old. Contrary to the notion that he was handed success on a silver platter, he had to forge his own path to prosperity. With entrepreneurial role models in his father Howard and grandfather Ernest, he learned the value of hard work. His first taste of earnings came from selling chewing gum door to door, making a 2-cent profit on each pack. With ambition in his heart, he embarked on another venture, selling Coca-Cola, buying for 20 cents and selling for 25 cents. Buffett set a bold goal for himself as a young boy: to amass a million dollars by the age of 35. 

Buffett the Detective (1942) 

Warren Buffett was a curious child with a penchant for gaining an informational edge, much like a seasoned investor. He collected bottle caps to determine the popularity of various sodas and even kept a record of license plate numbers, displaying an early knack for information gathering. His inquisitive nature hinted at his future career as an astute financial detective. 

Buffett the Math Wiz (1943) 

Numbers held a special fascination for young Warren. He delved into statistical analyses, even trying to assess whether religious hymn composers lived longer lives than others. His mathematical explorations revealed the analytical mind that would later prove invaluable in his investing journey. 

Buffett the Bookworm (1944) 

Warren Buffett was a voracious reader as a child, spending countless hours at the Benson Library in Omaha. One day, he stumbled upon a book titled “One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000.” Recognizing the potential within its pages, he believed this book held the key to his first million. Its message resonated with him: favourable times offered opportunities for those with little capital, emphasizing the importance of taking action. 

The Year 1942 – Buffett’s First Venture into the Stock Market (1942) 

By the age of 11, after relentless effort, Buffett had saved around USD 120, which, when adjusted for inflation, equates to over USD 2,000 in today’s terms. He grasped the concept of compound interest and decided to invest in the stock market. His initial foray was with Cities Service, purchasing three preferred shares for USD 114.75. However, the shares immediately dropped, causing him and his sister Doris to feel the sting of their investment. Buffett learned two valuable lessons: not to fixate on the purchase price and not to rush to grab small profits. 

Buffett’s Motivation and High School Years (1943-1947) 

In 1943, Warren’s father, Howard Buffett, became a Congressman and relocated the family to Washington. Unhappy with the move, Warren convinced his parents to let him return to Omaha to live with his grandfather Ernest. There, he worked weekends at his grandfather’s grocery store, where he learned that he didn’t enjoy physical labour. His father’s influence in the world of finance eventually prevailed, leading him toward his path as an investor. 

Buffett the Newspaper Boy (1944-1945) 

Warren’s return to Washington didn’t deter his determination to earn money. He began delivering newspapers and quickly increased his income from USD 42 a month to USD 86 a month, a considerable sum for a teenager in the 1940s. His resourcefulness and early financial acumen continued to evolve.  

Buffett the Bodybuilder (1944-1945) 

Warren Buffett’s teenage years included an attempt at bodybuilding inspired by Bob Hoffman’s magazine “Strength and Health.” While he didn’t achieve his desired results, his determination and discipline foreshadowed his approach to investments – consistent effort and the pursuit of excellence.  

Buffett the Farm Owner (1945-1950) 

At the age of 15, Buffett invested in a forty-acre farm in Nebraska, a bold move that required him to allocate a significant portion of his net worth. He managed the farm, sharing the profits with a tenant farmer. This early experience taught him about land ownership and business dynamics. 

Buffett the Entrepreneur (1946-1947) 

Warren Buffett’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged when he considered buying scales and charging people to weigh themselves, following a concept he encountered in a book. Though he didn’t pursue this idea, it laid the foundation for his future business endeavours. He later partnered with a friend to buy and operate pinball machines, successfully building a small empire of machines before selling the business. 

Buffett’s High School Promise (1947) 

Upon graduating from high school, Warren Buffett expressed his ambition to become a future stockbroker, setting the stage for his future career in the financial industry.  

Buffett and College (1947-1950) 

Buffett’s father insisted that he attend college despite his reservations. He enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1947 but was eager to pursue his financial interests independently. Buffett’s favourite class, “Industry 101,” provided valuable insights into various industries, setting the stage for his future success. 

Buffett the Stock Broker (1951) 

After finishing college, Buffett returned to Omaha and reluctantly joined his father’s brokerage firm. However, he found the role unfulfilling, as it emphasized sales and turnover rather than true investing. Buffett’s passion for investing and stock analysis grew during this time.  

Buffett and Public Speaking (1952) 

Buffett recognized the importance of effective communication and took a Dale Carnegie speaking course in 1952. This course proved to be a transformative experience, shaping his ability to articulate his ideas and connect with people. He began teaching evening courses in investing and personal finance at the University of Nebraska, honing his speaking skills. 

Buffett the Cigar Butts (1956-1972) 

Buffett initially followed Benjamin Graham’s “cigar butt” strategy, buying undervalued and overlooked companies. His early investments in companies like Sanborn Map and Dempster Mill showcased his ability to identify undervalued assets and unlock their potential. 

Buffett’s First Partnerships (1956-1961) 

Buffett formed Buffett Associates, Ltd. in 1956, inviting family and friends to become limited partners. He managed the partnerships with a keen eye for cigar butt opportunities, delivering impressive returns during the 1957-1961 period. His investment prowess attracted more partners, and he operated multiple partnerships. 

Start of the Greatest Investing Partnership (1959) 

In 1959, Warren Buffett crossed paths with Charlie Munger, a lawyer with a brilliant mind. Their intellectual synergy led to a remarkable partnership that would shape the future of investing. Munger’s influence challenged Buffett’s investment philosophy, shifting his focus from “mediocre companies at bargain prices” to “great companies at fair prices. In 1959, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger met at a dinner party, sparking a lifelong intellectual connection. Munger’s insights challenged Buffett’s investment approach, leading him to evolve his strategy. Their collaboration would eventually result in the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.  

Buffett’s Transition to Long-Term Investments (1962-1965) 

Buffett realised that holding onto exceptional businesses for the long term was more profitable than constantly searching for cigar butt opportunities. He shifted his focus toward companies with enduring competitive advantages, laying the foundation for Berkshire Hathaway’s transformation.  

The Birth of Berkshire Hathaway (1965) 

In 1965, Berkshire Hathaway, a struggling textile mill, caught Buffett’s eye. He began acquiring shares, to transform the company into an investment powerhouse. This strategic move marked the beginning of Berkshire Hathaway’s diversification into various industries. 

Buffett’s Takeover of Berkshire Hathaway (1965) 

Warren Buffett acquired control of Berkshire Hathaway but quickly realised that the textile business was declining. However, he saw the company as a useful vehicle for making investments and decided to retain its name. 

Buffett’s Fateful Meeting with Seabury Stanton (1965) 

Buffett’s decision to buy Berkshire Hathaway was influenced by a chance meeting with Seabury Stanton, the company’s president. The abrupt price increase of a stock that Stanton promised to sell to Buffett angered him, leading to the purchase of the entire company. 

Buffett’s Principles of Investing (1965) 

Warren Buffett laid out his principles of investing in a letter to his partners in 1965. These principles emphasized buying great businesses, holding them for the long term, and focusing on intrinsic value rather than market fluctuations. These principles continue to guide his investment strategy.  

Berkshire Hathaway’s Transformation (1965-1969) 

After taking over Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett shifted its focus from textiles to insurance and investments. He used the company as a platform to acquire other businesses and invest in stocks. This transformation marked the beginning of Berkshire Hathaway’s journey toward becoming a conglomerate. 

The Acquisition of Blue Chip Stamps (1967) 

Buffett made a significant investment in Blue Chip Stamps, a trading stamp company, in 1967. This investment introduced him to Charlie Munger, who was the company’s chairman. Their collaboration began, and Munger later became Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chairman.  

The Birth of Buffett Partnership Letters (1956-1970) 

Starting in 1956, Warren Buffett began writing annual letters to his limited partners, detailing his investment philosophy and results. These letters would later become a valuable resource for investors seeking insights into his approach to investing. 

The Berkshire Hathaway of Today (1970s-Present) 

Berkshire Hathaway continued to evolve, diversifying into a wide range of industries. It acquired insurance companies, such as GEICO, and invested in well-known brands like Coca-Cola, American Express, and IBM. Under Buffett’s leadership, Berkshire Hathaway became one of the largest and most successful conglomerates in the world.  

Buffett’s Investment Philosophy (1970s-Present) 

Warren Buffett’s investment philosophy emphasizes finding undervalued companies with strong competitive advantages and holding them for the long term. He focuses on intrinsic value, not market price, and is known for his patient and disciplined approach to investing. 

Buffett’s Personal Life and Philanthropy (1970s-Present

While Warren Buffett is renowned for his financial success, he is also known for his modest lifestyle and commitment to philanthropy. He pledged to give away the majority of his wealth to charitable causes, with the bulk going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His frugality and philanthropic efforts have made him an admired figure worldwide. 

Buffett’s Impact on the Investment World (1970s-Present) 

Warren Buffett’s influence extends far beyond his own investments. He has become a revered figure in the world of finance, with countless investors and business leaders seeking his wisdom. His annual shareholder letters and public appearances continue to provide valuable insights into the world of investing.  

The Oracle of Omaha’s Legacy (1970s-Present) 

Warren Buffett’s legacy is firmly established as one of the greatest investors in history. His teachings and investment principles will continue to guide future generations of investors. His success story serves as an inspiration to those who aspire to achieve financial independence through intelligent investing. 

Closing Thoughts 

Warren Buffett’s journey from a young boy selling gum door to door to becoming the Oracle of Omaha and one of the world’s wealthiest individuals is a testament to the power of hard work, discipline, and a lifelong commitment to learning. His story serves as a source of inspiration and valuable lessons for anyone interested in the world of investing and finance. 


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