There’s wealthy people, and then there’s Warren Buffett. The American investor is part of what’s known as the three-comma club. Take a look at his net-worth and you’ll see why: US$84,000,000,000.
From his first stock purchase at age 11, he’s built a mega-business that owns the likes of Duracell and US restaurant chain Dairy Queen, and earned him the title of third wealthiest person in the world (behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates).
But a biography of Buffett reveals something surprising about the way the billionaire measures success.
As reported by CBS, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life recounts a speech the 88-year-old gave at the University of Georgia, in which he said:
“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.
“I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is; your life is a disaster.
“That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.”
Buffett has certainly been fortunate in that regard. He was married to his first wife, Susan, for 52 years until her death in 2004. Together they had three children: Susie, Howard and Peter.
Two years later, he married long-time companion Astrid Menks, who had lived with him since 1977 after being introduced by Susan. It was an unusual arrangement; the trio reportedly sent Christmas cards signed, “Warren, Susie and Astrid”.
“Unconventional is not a bad thing,” Buffett’s daughter, Susie, told The New York Times back in 2006. “More people should have unconventional marriages.”