Human beings are complex. It’s not just our biology and intellect that makes us complex but our personality and habits as well. This is one of the mistakes people make about celebrities and public figures, assuming they are what they seem they are, but that’s not the case. There are many layers to each individual and many layers they don’t show in public.
Warren Buffett is no exception. The most famous investor in the world also has a complex character, and the more you learn about him, the better you understand the things that made him what he is. And like his investing wisdom, the facts about Warren Buffett can also be educational.
We always hear that it’s a good idea to start earning, saving, and investing early, but Buffett took that idea further. He got his first taste of business when he was only six. During a family vacation, he used to buy six-packs of Coca-Cola at US$0.25 each and sold individual bottles for US$0.05, turning in a neat $0.05 of profit on each six-pack. It was simple, but it was an early start to what became a long and illustrious career.
A generous soul
Buffett’s generosity extends further than the conventional “billionaire” philanthropy we are used to. Since 2006, when he pledged to give away a vast majority of his wealth to good causes, he has donated about US$37 billion to Melinda Gates foundation. He also auctions off a dinner with himself and gives the proceeds to the Glide Foundation. This brought in US$4.5 million last year. He also created the giving pledge with Bill Gates, which now has about 211 extremely wealthy signatories.
An impressive empire
Buffett is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, with a net worth of about $87 billion. It would have been significantly more if he hadn’t given away a significant amount. But that pales in comparison to the massive empire he has built in the form of Berkshire Hathaway. The company is worth about US$534 billion, which, if you compare against the GDPs of the world’s countries, would place the company in the top 25.
Buffett’s Canadian investment
That Buffett’s major Canadian holding is Suncor (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) is a fact you probably already know. He is still not letting go of the energy giant, even after it slashed its dividends and eliminated an impressive dividend-growth streak. The company suffered alongside almost all the major global players in the oil industry when the demand dried up during the pandemic.
The stock price hit a yearly low in early November, going past its market crash valuation. But from that point, the stock has grown over 50%. We have yet to see whether it’s the start of a proper long-term recovery or just a temporary strengthening of the stock.
Investment wisdom isn’t the only thing you can learn from Warren Buffett. His curiosity, love of learning and reading, generosity, emotional fortitude, and decisiveness are all traits that we should try to instill in ourselves. Even if they don’t make us extraordinary investors, they might help us become smarter with money and make our financial lives more fulfilling.
Speaking of Warren Buffett facts...
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Fool contributor Adam Othman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares).