One of my most profound learning experiences occurred on a day trip to Omaha, Nebraska, to meet Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised after spending a little time with the third richest man in the world ($75.2 billion in assets), who has donated more than $37 billion to numerous charities. I first noticed the ease with which he connected with everyone and anyone in the room; second, his sense of practicality was greater than probably anyone I’ve ever known; and third, I witnessed his legendary dedication to routine and consistency is true.
Buffet starts each day driving his Cadillac a few miles to work from his 5-bedroom, 2.5-bath stucco house he purchased in 1958 for $31,500. Each day, he eats breakfast at McDonald’s and never spends more than $3.17. And yes, he eats lunch at the same place every day and eats the same meal and dessert too.
One valuable nugget I will always remember is the value he associated with the cost of his $100 annual online bridge club membership, where he makes the time to play bridge with his best friend, Bill Gates. He said it has more “utility value” than the $1 million in annual operating expenses for his private jet. He told us that alongside his good health, he values the diverse friendships he has made in his life.
The first question everyone asks me about my trip is “What did you ask Mr. Buffet and what financial investment tips did you get from him?” I took advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to know a humble, wealthy man. We talked college basketball, Creighton and the NCAA, because he is a big fan.
Here are my key takeaways from my visit with Mr. Buffet, aka the Oracle of Omaha:
- Wealth is about what you don’t see. Possessions don’t bring you happiness.
- Your time is a precious resource: “Keep your calendar free from useless meetings.”
- Live a lifetime of learning… Mr. Buffet spends 80% of his day reading to obtain knowledge.