What YOU don’t Know about Warren Buffett (World’s Richest Man)!

Warren Buffett:His Secrets Revealed!

There was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:

1. He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

2. He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

3. He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

4. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5. He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.

6. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis. He has given his CEO’s only two rules.
Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder’s money.
Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

7. He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch Television.

8. Bill Gates, the world’s richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

9. Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk. His advice to young people: “Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself and
A. Money doesn’t create man but it is the man who created money.
B. Live your life as simple as you are.
C. Don’t do what others say, just listen them, but do what you feel good.
D. Don’t go on brand name; just wear those things in which u feel comfortable.
E. Don’t waste your money on unnecessary things; just spend on them who really in need rather.
F. After all it’s your life then why give chance to others to rule our life.”

12 Responses to “What YOU don’t Know about Warren Buffett (World’s Richest Man)!”

  1. Billionaire Warren Buffett teaches kids good financial habits

    OMAHA, Nebraska: The long-delayed cartoon featuring financial lessons from billionaire Warren Buffett will finally debut this weekend at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting and online.

    Buffett said he hopes the series will teach kids good financial habits early on, so they won’t have to learn the lessons later through expensive experiences.

    “I just hope that they become more financially savvy and start thinking about certain principles of saving and learning and that sort of thing at an earlier age than perhaps they would otherwise,” Buffett said to The Associated Press Wednesday.

    The “Secret Millionaire’s Club” cartoon is designed to teach kids about key financial principles such as avoiding debt, supply and demand, and the importance of pursuing your dreams.

    Some of the messages are similar to the advice Buffett gave the 44 groups of college students he met with over the past school year, but they’ve been reworked for a younger audience.

    “They’re fairly simple lessons, but sometimes simple is best,” he said.

    The series focuses on four kids who find some baseball memorabilia worth millions that they sell to save their community center.

    Buffett helps the kids manage the money they have left after saving the center.

    Buffett said he knows the series won’t reach every kid, but he hopes some significant percentage of kids learn from it.

    The success of the animated project will depend on how well it can entertain and educate at the same time.

    “If it’s successful, it could be more important than the Berkshire Hathaway annual reports,” Buffett said.

    Millions of people have already read Buffett’s annual reports over the years, but he said the cartoons may have a greater effect if it helps kids form good habits early.

    Buffett said most of the people who read his shareholder letters already have their financial habits well established.

    “If you’ve got the right habits earlier on, it makes a big difference,” Buffett said.

    The first airing of “Secret Millionaire’s Club” will be before more than 35,000 people at Berkshire’s annual meeting on Saturday as part of the humorous movie that opens the event.

    Then Buffett and Berkshire’ Vice Chairman Charlie Munger will spend more than five hours answering questions.

    Cartoon creator Andy Heyward has been creating humorous cartoons for Berkshire’s annual meetings since the 1980s, and his previous company also made well-known cartoons such as “Inspector Gadget” and “Strawberry Shortcake.”

    Originally, the cartoon was supposed to be released on DVD in the fall of 2006.

    But the sale in 2008 of the company that originally developed the series, DIC Entertainment, delayed the release.

    Heyward’s new company, A Squared Entertainment, is working with AOL to promote the 26 episodes of the “Secret Millionaire’s Club” online.

    Online games and a cell phone application are planned.


  2. Billionaire Buffett eyes India

    OMAHA, Nebraska: Warren Buffett said on Saturday he plans to visit India next March, and would not rule out the country for possible future investments.

    Speaking at Berkshire’s annual meeting in response to a shareholder question, Buffett said he had decided only on Friday to make the trip, saying the company’s Iscar Metalworking Cos unit “is doing very well there”.

    He said “we do not rule out India” as a possible locale for future Berkshire investments, whether in companies or marketable securities, though bureaucratic obstacles could complicate any plans to invest, including limitations on foreign ownership.

    “We’ve looked a lot at being in the insurance business in India,” he added. Insurance and reinsurance are Berkshire’s main business lines. Demographers expect India to overtake China as the world’s most populous country within the next two decades, and Buffett predicted that “people in India will be living a lot better 20 years from now.”

    Buffett does not disclose where he plans to make future investments, but occasionally travels outside the United States to seek opportunities or check on Berkshire investments.

    Among Berkshire’s investments in Asia are the South Korean steelmaker Posco and Chinese car and battery maker BYD. — Reuters

    Both have been profitable, giving Berkshire respective paper profits of US$1.32bil and US$1.75bil as of year-end, according to Berkshire’s annual report.


  3. Buffett defends US$5b Goldman investment

    Berkshire swings to Q1 profit, operating earnings up 30%

    OMAHA, Nebraska: Warren Buffett on Saturday launched a strong defence of Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s US$5bil investment in Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the investment bank’s embattled chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

    Speaking at Berkshire’s annual meeting, Buffett also said the company swung to a US$3.63bil first-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier US$1.53bil loss, helped by an improving economy and gains from investments and derivatives.

    He said operating earnings rose 30% from a year earlier to US$2.22bil from US$1.71bil, helped by “a pretty good uptick” in activity among Berkshire’s roughly 80 operating units.

    Berkshire’s investment in Goldman preferred shares in September 2008 has become controversial for Buffett, given his long-standing emphasis on good corporate ethics and criticism of Wall Street excess.

    Buffett said he did not hold against Goldman the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil fraud lawsuit alleging the bank hid from investors that securities underlying a risky debt transaction were chosen by Paulson & Co, a hedge fund firm that was betting they would lose value.

    Goldman has called the charges unfounded, and Paulson was not charged.

    News that investigators opened a criminal probe into Goldman has led to increased speculation about Blankfein’s job security, but Buffett expressed strong support.

    Asked who should run Goldman if Blankfein were replaced, Buffett said: “If Lloyd had a twin brother, I would vote for him. I have never given that a thought.”

    The US$5bil investment consists of preferred shares that throw off US$500mil in annual dividends, plus warrants to buy an equal amount of common stock. Goldman can buy back, or “call,” the preferreds at a premium.

    “We love the investment,” Buffett said. “Our preferreds are paying US$15 a second, so as we sit here, ‘Tick, tick, tick, tick,’ that’s US$15 every second.”

    He added that the SEC lawsuit was not a serious enough an event to raise reputational issues that would call into question the Berkshire investment.

    Asked whether Goldman should have disclosed it had received a “Wells notice” from the SEC indicating possible civil charges, Buffett said such notices were not necessarily material to larger companies such that disclosure was needed.

    “If it leads to something more serious, then we will look at the situation at that time,” he said.

    Buffett and Berkshire vice-chairman Charlie Munger also discussed the potential overhaul of financial regulation now being weighed in Congress.

    Munger argued the system should be changed to be “less permissive” to banks. “What we need is a new version of Glass-Steagall,” he said, referring to a Great Depression-era law that kept commercial and investment banks separate. It was repealed in 1999.

    Berkshire has opposed a provision in proposed legislation that could force it to post more collateral on its roughly 250 derivatives contracts, mainly tied to longer-term performance of stock price indexes.

    But Buffett said Berkshire would likely “not have to put up a dime” because the company was unlikely to be regarded as so “dangerous to the system” as to require such collateral.

    Investments and derivatives generated US$1.41bil of Berkshire’s preliminary first-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier US$3.24bil loss.

    Insurance profit fell just 3%, while profit in regulated businesses such as utilities and newly acquired Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp, as well as manufacturing, service and retailing businesses, roughly doubled.

    Final results are expected May 7.


  4. Billionaire Buffett hopes lunch auction draws big bids

    OMAHA, Nebraska: Billionaire Warren Buffett always tries to make sure that anyone who’s willing to make a seven-figure donation just to have lunch with the investor gets their money’s worth, so the meals often last more than three hours.

    So far, so good.

    “Nobody’s asked for their money back,” Buffett said.

    The Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO said he hopes the annual lunch auction will again draw multimillion-dollar bids to benefit the Glide Foundation, which provides social services to the poor and homeless in San Francisco.

    But that’s hard to predict, especially with more international interest – three of the past four winners came from outside the U.S.

    “Some of these people I’d never heard of before they made the bid,” Buffett said.

    This year’s auction was to start Sunday evening with a US$25,000 minimum bid on eBay, but the final price of the meal won’t be set until the auction closes Friday at 9:30 p.m. CDT (0230 GMT Saturday).

    The date of the lunch will be determined later, once the winner is known and agrees with Buffett on a time.

    Last year, Canadian investment firm Salida Capital paid $1.68 million to dine with Buffett.

    And that price represented a discount over the record $2.11 million a Chinese investment fund manager paid in 2008, which was the most expensive charity item eBay had ever sold.

    Buffett’s investment success and folksy wisdom have earned him a devoted following. Last month, 37,000 people attended Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha.

    But apart from his popularity, Buffett thinks the work of Glide has also moved bidders to pay astronomical prices for the lunch in previous years.

    “They may like the lunch, but they care about where the money’s going, too,” Buffett said.

    “I would, too, if I were in their position.”

    Buffett knows a bit about philanthropy.

    He is giving away the bulk of his fortune over time.

    The plan he launched in 2006 will eventually split most of his shares of Berkshire stock between five charitable foundations, with the largest chunk going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    He has supported Glide ever since his late first wife, Susan, introduced him to Glide’s founder, the Rev. Cecil Williams.

    Buffett said the organization and Williams, who has led the nonprofit for more than 45 years, do a remarkable job of helping people recover after they hit rock bottom.

    “There’s all kinds of people that need that kind of help, and I don’t think anybody is better at providing it than Glide,” he said.

    Several of the past auction winners have visited Glide and made additional donations on top of their bids.

    Williams said the needs he sees in San Francisco have only grown during the economic turmoil of the last couple of years, while the donations that supply most of Glide’s $17 million budget have fallen.

    That makes this lunch auction crucial, he said.

    “We really don’t want to cut back,” Williams said.

    “I don’t want to have to stand out in the lines and tell folks we can’t take you.”

    The owners of the Smith and Wollensky restaurant in New York contributed $10,000 to Glide and will again host the lunch.

    The auction winner gets to bring up to seven friends to the lunch with the “Oracle of Omaha.”

    Buffett said he enjoys the meals and has even made a few friends through past ones.

    “I’ve met interesting people. We had a good time. And I’ve learned some things I didn’t know before,” he said


  5. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates ask billionaires to give away wealth

    Investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced yesterday that they are asking hundreds of billionaire Americans to give away at least 50 per cent of their wealth to charity.

    Buffett, who made his fortune with insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Gates and his wife, Melinda, have held a series of dinners with a couple dozen rich Americans in the past year to urge them to make a philanthropic pledge.

    They have named the campaign the Giving Pledge and are asking those who commit to giving away at least half their fortune during their lifetime or after their death to publicly state their intention with a letter explaining their decision.

    Patty Stonesifer, a former chief executive of the Gates Foundation and now adviser to Gates and Buffett, said that four families had agreed to announce their pledge yesterday — real estate and construction billionaire Eli Broad, venture capitalist John Doerr, media entrepreneur Gerry Lenfest and former Cisco Systems chairman John Morgridge.

    Broad and his wife Edythe said in a statement that they will pledge to give away 75 per cent of their wealth during and after their lifetime. Forbes has estimated Broad to be worth US$5.7 billion (RM18.8 billion).

    “We agree with Andrew Carnegie’s wisdom that ‘The man who dies rich, dies disgraced,’ and we also believe ‘he who gives while he lives also knows where it goes,’“ the couple said. “Philanthropy is unbelievably rewarding.”

    Lenfest has already given away more than US$800 million, or about 65 per cent of his fortune, a spokeswoman said. The amount pledged by Doerr and Morgridge was not immediately available.

    In a letter posted on the campaign’s website, http://www.givingpledge.org, Buffett said he “couldn’t be happier” with his 2006 decision to give away 99 per cent of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities.

    “Now, Bill and Melinda Gates and I are asking hundreds of rich Americans to pledge at least 50 per cent of their wealth to charity,” Buffett, 79, said.

    He said that so far about 20 per cent of his Berkshire Hathaway shares, including shares given by his late wife Susan, had been distributed to charity and that he would continue to distribute annually 4 per cent of the shares he retains.

    “At the latest, the proceeds from all of my Berkshire shares will be expended for philanthropic purposes by 10 years after my estate is settled. Nothing will go to endowments; I want the money spent on current needs,” Buffett wrote.

    Gates was ranked the second richest man in the world by Forbes magazine this year with US$53 billion, while Buffett came in at No. 3 with US$47 billion. Forbes said the United States is home to 403 billionaires, the most in the world.

    Bill and Melinda Gates have so far given more than US$28 billion to their foundation. Since the foundation began in 1994 it has given away more than US$22 billion for health improvements in poor countries and to improve access for Americans to opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

    The Giving Pledge will not accept any money; it is simply asking billionaires to make a moral commitment to give away their wealth to charity.

    While the campaign is targeting billionaires, the Giving Pledge said it is “inspired by the example set by millions of Americans who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.”


  6. A sell advise on billionaire Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway shares

    OMAHA, Nebraska: An analyst advised investors Thursday to sell shares of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. because the U.S. economy may weaken over the rest of the year and hurt demand for its businesses that rely on consumer spending.

    Stifel Nicolaus analyst Meyer Shields said in a research note that declining consumer confidence will likely slow consumer spending.

    Oil prices could also rise and further reduce consumer spending.

    Berkshire’s insurance businesses, like Geico and General Re, generated more than half the company’s $8.1 billion profit last year, but its clothing, furniture, jewelry, railroad and building materials businesses are sensitive to the health of the economy.

    Shields also said Berkshire may be hurt more than other companies in an economic downturn because of its derivative contracts and investments.

    Some of Berkshire’s derivatives are tied to the value of several stock market indexes, so their value would fall if those stock markets falter.

    Berkshire’s Class B shares slipped 50 cents to $79.42 in late afternoon trading Thursday.

    Berkshire officials don’t typically comment on analyst reports, and the Omaha company hasn’t provided earnings guidance in decades.

    Buffett didn’t immediately respond to a message Thursday.

    In the past, the estimated value of Berkshire’s derivative contracts have weighed down the company’s earnings even though they don’t mature until more than a decade from now.

    Berkshire recorded a largely unrealized net loss of $4.6 billion on its investments and derivatives in 2008, but as stock markets improved last year, Berkshire’s derivatives helped the company record a $486 million net gain on derivatives and investments in 2009.

    Buffett has said he believes Berkshire’s derivatives will ultimately prove profitable over their lifetimes, and he has encouraged investors to ignore the wild swings in their estimated value from quarter to quarter.

    Morningstar analyst Bill Bergman said even though Berkshire is economically sensitive, it owns a number of strong businesses that could gain market share in lean times.

    “It’s times like these that you buy into the tough companies that may be economically sensitive,” Bergman said.

    Morningstar doesn’t currently recommend buying Berkshire, however.

    In the first quarter of this year, Berkshire’s manufacturing and retail businesses improved significantly and contributed $477 million to the company’s net income of $3.6 billion.

    Buffett said in May that the improvement at manufacturing businesses like the Iscar tool makers, apparel companies like Fruit of the Loom, and luxury good sellers like Forest River RVs and Berkshire’s jewelry businesses showed the economy was improving.

    But Berkshire owns a number of businesses tied to housing, such as Shaw carpet, Acme brick and Benjamin Moore paint, that hadn’t improved much by the end of the first quarter.

    Berkshire’s second-quarter report is likely to be released on Aug. 6.

    And Berkshire’s recent acquisition of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad only increases its economic sensitivity because companies ship fewer cars, chemicals, crops, lumber and containers of imported goods when the economy is slow.

    Berkshire owns roughly 80 businesses and it has big investments in companies including Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.


  7. 40 billionaires, led by Buffett and Gates, pledge to donate half their wealth

    SEATTLE: Forty wealthy families and individuals have joined Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a pledge to give at least half their wealth to charity.

    Six weeks after launching a campaign to get other billionaires to donate most of their fortunes, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released the first list Wednesday of people who have signed what he and Gates call the “giving pledge.”

    Buffett decided in 2006 to give 99 percent of his fortune to charity. Then, he was worth about $44 billion. After five years of investment returns while making annual gifts to five foundations, Buffett’s fortune totals nearly $46 billion.

    Bill and Melinda Gates do most of their philanthropic giving through their foundation, which had assets of $33 billion as of June 30 and has made at least $22.93 billion in total grant commitments since 1994.

    Buffett said he, the Gateses and others have made 70 to 80 calls to some of America’s wealthiest individuals. The people who agreed to the pledge are from 13 states, with the most participants in California and New York.

    Among those who haven’t signed the pledge, some prefer to keep their philanthropy anonymous, some were not available to talk, and others were not interested, Buffett said.

    Many on the list will be asked to call others, and small dinners will be held across the country in coming months to talk about the campaign.

    “We’re off to a terrific start,” Buffett said.

    Buffett said he and Bill Gates also will meet with groups of wealthy people in China and India within the next six months to talk about philanthropy. They hope the idea of generosity will spread, but they have no plans to lead a global campaign, Buffett said.

    Gates and Buffett estimate their efforts could generate $600 billion dollars in charitable giving. In 2009, American philanthropies received a total of about $300 billion in donations, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

    Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle, was surprised and impressed by the speed at which the giving pledge idea has been accepted.

    “I think it’s remarkably fast that so many people went public with their commitments. The world of philanthropy tends to be very slow moving,” she said.

    Palmer noted that many of names on the list are people who are known for their philanthropic generosity. She said she would be more excited when she sees names that have not been on other major donor lists.

    Taking the idea past billionaires toward millionaires and regular working people could make an even bigger impact, Palmer added.

    Jason Franklin, executive director Bolder Giving, a relatively new organization that encourages big gifts from everyday people, agreed.

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave Bolder Giving a $675,000 challenge grant earlier this year to encourage more people to give at least 20 percent of their personal wealth to charity.

    Franklin estimates the giving power of the world’s millionaires eclipses the potential donations from U.S. billionaires many times over.

    Gates and Buffett are asking billionaires not just to make a donation commitment, but to also pledge to give wisely and learn from their peers.

    Their group has no plans for combined giving, and none of the philanthropists will be told how or when to give their money.

    “Everybody has their own interests,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who participated in a teleconference with Buffett on Wednesday as one of the individuals who has signed the giving pledge. “That’s what’s wonderful about private philanthropy.”

    Bloomberg, who has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $18 billion, said he has changed his personal philosophy over the years from wanting to be more private about his giving toward trying to play a leadership role. He said his whole family is in tune with his giving plan.

    “I’ve always thought your kids get more benefit out of your philanthropy than your will,” he added.

    Others who have signed the pledge include filmmaker George Lucas, media mogul Ted Turner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.


  8. Billionaire Buffett’s Berkshire in US$500mil bid for Wesco unit

    OMAHA, Nebraska: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has made a formal offer to buy the roughly 1.4 million shares it doesn’t already own of subsidiary Wesco Financial Corp.

    Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that a proposal was delivered to Wesco’s board Wednesday.

    If most of Wesco’s independent board members and shareholders agree, Berkshire will acquire the remaining 19.9 percent of the Pasadena, California, company.

    The cash and stock deal would be worth roughly $500 million, but the price could change because Berkshire offered to pay the book value of Wesco’s stock at the time of closing.

    Wesco is a conglomerate that owns insurance businesses and an eclectic mix of operating companies, similar to Berkshire


  9. Billionaire Warren Buffett says the recession continues

    OMAHA, Nebraska: Billionaire Warren Buffett says the economy remains in a recession, by his definition, because most people and businesses still aren’t doing as well as they were before the financial crisis.

    (Forbes earlier this week listed him as the second richest man in the US.)

    Buffett talked about the economy and his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. businesses in an interview that aired Thursday on CNBC.

    Buffett’s assessment of the economy contradicts the view of experts who announced this week that the recession officially ended in June 2009. But Buffett says he uses a commonsense standard to evaluate the economy.

    “On any commonsense definition, the average American is below where he was before, or his family, in terms of real income, GDP,” (gross domestic product) Buffett said on CNBC. “We’re still in a recession. And we’re not gonna be out of it for awhile, but we will get out of it.”

    In early 2008, Buffett was also one of the first to declare that a recession had begun based on his straightforward standard that most Americans were doing worse than they had before.

    The technical definition of a recession most economists use is two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the nation’s gross domestic product.

    Buffett did not immediately respond to a request for an interview Thursday.

    Buffett gets insight into the health of the economy through the performance of Berkshire’s subsidiaries. Buffett’s Omaha-based company owns clothing, insurance, railroad, furniture, utility, jewelry and corporate jet companies.

    Buffett said Berkshire’s businesses are improving but at a slow rate. He said Berkshire’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, for instance, is probably doing better than many U.S. businesses, and it’s only about 61 percent of the way back to its peak shipping volumes from the bottom of the recession.

    And Berkshire’s Shaw Carpet used to sell about 13 million yards of carpet a week. Buffett said that fell to about 7 million yards during the recession, so Shaw eliminated 6,500 jobs. Buffett said Shaw won’t start hiring back until the business gets back to selling at least 10 million yards a week, and so far it’s only selling about 9 million yards a week.

    Buffett said he believes the U.S. economy will recover in time as all the government’s efforts to stimulate activity combine with the regenerative capacity of American capitalism. He said the government is running a federal deficit equal to 9 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, which is providing quite a lot of stimulus.

    “It doesn’t depend on calling it the stimulus bill to be stimulating. I mean, if the government is spending $3 for every $2 it takes in, that is, that is fiscal stimulus,” Buffett said.


  10. Up Close and Personal with Mary Buffett

    AUTHOR and speaker Mary Buffett would like to be known for herself. But that’s not a privilege the former daughter-in-law of Warren Buffet often has, for obvious reasons. Wherever she goes, at every encounter and speaking engagement, she is often asked: “What have you learned from Warren Buffett?”

    Considering that she has co-written seven books about Warren, one of the world’s best-known investors and a billionaire philanthropist, she must certainly have learned a lot from him.

    Patience is part of it. Working hard is another. And so is giving. There are many lessons learned but one she would like the participants to take away as she wrapped up a two-day forum convened by the International Herald Tribune and The London Speaker Bureau, Dawn of the New Decade: Alternative Investments in Asia, was this:

    “The real measage in my life and which Warren always talks about is, if you try to improve yourself, you are your biggest asset and that can get you anywhere. And if you love what you do, you will most likely succeed. If you think about any successful person, most of them love what they are doing.”

    Born of Italian parents, she comes from an immigrant family who arrived in the United States in search of the American dream. Her grandfather and his family were farmers and labourers.

    When they arrived in the United States, they did many kinds of jobs. As a young man in Chicago, her father had delivered ice and worked as a tailor and brick-layer, before going on to build a company.

    “We were typical middle-class Americans in the 1950s. I have two (older) sisters and life was wonderful in the Mid-West,” she says. The family later moved to California. Her interest in music and singing led her to join a church choir.

    “During that time, I felt my creativity and business spirit become one. I continued singing and later worked in various recording companies, MCA Records, Columbia and in the publishing division of Playboy Music. When I met Peter (Warren’s son), I had left the music business and had become an entrepreneur doing everything … from selling advertising space in newspapers to making clothes for skateboarders. Peter is a musician and the last thing I wanted to do was to meet a musician, but we fell in love at first sight,” she says.

    “At that time, I did not know who Warren Buffett was. I only knew he owns See’s Candy and I love See’s Candy.”

    Mary says Warren was not very well-known outside the financial circle then. “I knew he invested (in stocks) and as time went by, it became clear what his passion was. You cannot help but learn from him because he is such a great teacher. He is generous with his philosophy and always have these anecdotes about life and investing. He is also a rather funny person, which was how the title of one the books came about – The Tao of Warren Buffett.”

    After the divorce – the marriage lasted 12 years – she took an interest in helping other women manage their wealth and to help them build a future for themselves and their children. Her creative spirit returned and it was during that period of her life that she wanted to put down in print all that she had learned from Warren. She also kept in touch with her mother-in-law.

    She met David Clark, an analyst, and they put the quantitative and qualitative together. Their seventh and latest book is Warren Buffett and the Art of Stock Arbitrage.

    But despite wearing many hats, she loves being a mother first. It is something she picked up from her own family as well as from her marriage into the Buffetts.

    “The most important legacy that a woman can leave behind, besides what she has given back to the world, is her children.

    “From a very young age, I taught my children how to be kind, to have empathy for other people, not to judge but to always walk in someone else’s shoes. To show up and to tell the truth, to do your best and not to be attached to the outcome. Being able to shape a young person’s mind and to make him a good human being is the best contribution. It is one that sustains throughout all generations.”

    She is also excited that one of her twin girls will be getting married on Nov 14. Peter will be very much involved. Despite their divorce, they have remained friends, the way Warren and his first wife, Susan, have remained friends after they had parted ways.

    As she looks back on her life and the family she was once married into, she says she has different lessons to take from both sides.

    From Peter’s mother, she learned the importance of unconditional love. “She was a very giving person and stood up for people who could not stand up for themselves. She was involved in various women movements and social issues.

    “There was a lot of honesty, discipline and integrity in the family. Education played a big part in their lives, which was why Peter and I continue to keep in touch when it comes to the children’s education when they were young, and now, when our daughter is going to get married.”

    While the Buffetts were reserved and had a determination about them, her Italian side showed a lot more emotion.

    “We came from different worlds really. There were certain things that were the same – like being very hardworking – but other things were very different.”

    Mary says she got her entrepreneur spirit from her mother. Although she was a housewife, she was always challenging herself.

    “She won a Sara Lee baking contest once and was extremely excited about that. She always had this idea or that idea she wanted to pursue. She helped my father with his business decisions and managed the money in the house. She was very big on us educating ourselves and being independent. She encouraged all of us to reach for the stars and to believe in ourselves.”

    While her sisters got married and had children – what she calls taking the traditional approach – she took another route and went into business.

    “They were not interested in starting their own business or taking risks, whereas I believe that one has to take risks when one is young in order to move on. Warren took risks and learned from his lessons. Hopefully, that is what I am doing, learning from the mistakes and getting better.”

    On parenting, her own parents went the extra mile for the children, and she and Peter, despite the divorce, try their best for their twin girls and boy.

    “My Italian side has always cherished the family set-up and put importance on the family support system. My grandfather was the glue in the family. He was the patriarch when we were living in Chicago.

    “Every Sunday, we would go to his house, which was on a farm outside the city, and we would have a traditional Italian meal. Those times hold some of the best memories of my life. The family set-up and support system that it provided is classic Italian and that was my family dynamics,” she says.

    The Buffetts were different. When she was a newly wed, she would make a great effort to make fantastic dishes and wait for his praises, which never came. “He was just eating. I’d asked, ‘Do you like it?’ And he’d said, ‘Yes, it’s very good.’

    “And I would say, ‘Peter, that’s it?’ But this is a man who ate a turkey sandwich everyday before he met me. Food was something he did in order to survive. It was not a love affair as it was for me. Eventually he learned and he loved my cooking.”

    She has also learned that money cannot buy happiness, health or peace. She has also discovered that success goes beyond wealth.

    “Success is finding a place where you are peaceful with yourself and when you feel you have given some part of your life back, whether it is your children, or to the world, if you don’t have children, or both. Real success is being content. Success is something that is difficult to measure. It is like beauty. Beauty is what comes out of your mouth. It is in your eyes and heart and in how you treat others. I felt good about myself, in a humble way.

    “Thank you for seeing me as a person, separated from the Buffett name,” she says.


  11. Billionaire Warren Buffett’s firm marks another step to succession planning

    NEW YORK: Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway on Monday said hedge fund manager Todd Combs would join the firm, potentially bringing the company a step closer to solving Buffett’s succession puzzle.

    Berkshire Hathaway owns multiple businesses concentrated in insurance as well as tens of billions of dollars in stocks.

    Buffett, 80 and among the world’s richest men, has run the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate since 1965. Its other interests run from railroads to ice cream.

    “The fact that he’s come public with one of the names means he must be pretty confident in Combs, or why release the name. It’s not been his practice,” said James Armstrong, president of Henry H. Armstrong Associates in Pittsburgh, who oversees US$400mil and owns Berkshire stock.

    Buffett said in a statement that he and partner Charlie Munger looked for three years for someone like Combs “to handle a significant portion of Berkshire’s investment portfolio.”

    Combs, 39, has been managing Castle Point Capital for the last five years. It is a long/short equity hedge fund that focuses exclusively on financial services.

    No one from Castle Point was available to comment on Combs’ departure.

    He managed US$395mil as of July 1, according to an investor letter obtained by Reuters.

    From its November 2005 inception through June 2010, his fund was up 28%, against a 49% drop in his benchmark, the SPDR Financial Services sector fund.

    Buffett had addressed his succession in May, saying his position would ultimately be split into a CEO role and three or four investment chiefs.

    There has been speculation since then on who they would be and when they would be hired.

    Combs, however, had not figured in that speculation.

    “It’s not a name I’ve heard before and I’ve been studying Berkshire for 25 years,” Armstrong said.

    “I’m sure there’s a connection of some kind, but this is not one of the obvious candidates, which is fine.”

    Combs’ appointment comes just hours after Berkshire disclosed a dispute with securities regulators over its accounting for investments.

    The firm filed a series of letters with the Securities and Exchange Commission, disclosing that the SEC challenged Berkshire in April on its accounting for stock investments with long-term losses.

    Berkshire responded in May that those investments – especially in Kraft and US Bancorp – were long-term holdings with the potential to appreciate, and that the firm therefore did not see the need to recognise losses on them.

    Buffett was also in the news Monday afternoon, when he told Fox Business Network that Goldman Sachs has not approached him about unwinding his US$5bil preferred stake in the firm, despite recent press speculation Goldman was on the verge of doing so.


  12. Billionaire Warren Buffett’s firm tweaks its US$49bil US stock portfolio

    Omaha, Nebraska: Warren Buffett’s company has invested in Bank of New York Mellon and sold off stakes in NRG Energy, CarMax and Republic Services.

    Berkshire Hathaway Inc. revealed a number of changes to its $49 billion U.S. stock portfolio Monday in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The company doesn’t typically comment on its investment decisions.

    Between the end of June and the end of September, the Omaha-based company that Buffett leads as chairman and CEO made several changes during an active quarter.

    Those included cutting Berkshire’s Comcast stake to 187,000 shares from 12 million, reducing Nike holdings to 3.6 million shares from 7.6 million, cutting an Ingersoll-Rand Company investment to 636,600 shares from 5 million and reducing a stake in Nalco Holding Co. to 6.1 million shares from 9.15 million