I was wired at birth to allocate capital and was lucky enough to have people around me early on – my parents and teachers and Susie – who helped me to make the most of that.
It’s presumably in the papers and I’ve missed it, or it’s a hoax but courtesy of slashdot – this is what Wikipedia says.
Buffett announced in June that he will give away 85% of his more than $40 billion fortune to five foundations in annual gifts of stock starting in July 2006. The largest contribution will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
[It’s true and written up at greater detail in Fortune Magazine. NG]
I was completely smitten by Warren Buffett when I read a book on him a year or so ago and learned about his investment philosophy and practice – which is like a Norman Rockwell painting. He lives in a half million dollar house in Omaha and his entire operation is run by around 20 odd people.
I think of him as an embodiment of Adam Smith’s ideas about the promise of capitalism – of the importance of purpose, perseverence, talent and integrity in building a prosperous, co-operative and happy world.
In 1979 he was worth $140 million and lived entirely off his salary of $50,000. So living out Carnegie’s great line ‘a man who dies rich dies disgraced’ makes perfect sense.
I had lunch with an investment manager a couple of months ago who argued that Buffett was a good guy, but he hadn’t given much to charity like some of his heroes.
Well, now he has.
I remember thinking in my dismal way that if he was going to give money away, the best favour he could do the beneficiaries was to look after the money till he was near gone, as he could turn it into more money at a remarkable rate. Turns out he had the same thought.
I always had the idea that philanthropy was important today, but would be equally important in one year, ten years, 20 years, and the future generally.
And someone who was compounding money at a high rate, I thought, was the better party to be taking care of the philanthropy that was to be done 20 years out, while the people compounding at a lower rate should logically take care of the current philanthropy.
Read the full interview – it’s typical, marvellous Buffett.