Sometimes when you read Berkshire Hathaway’s proxy it’s always a pretty good laugh.
It’s a little bit outrageous that one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett, only earns a salary of $100,000 for his services to Berkshire Hathaway. Then he turns around and immediately cuts a check for $50,000 to pay back Berkshire for “minor items such as postage or phone calls that are personal.”
But the funniest number of all that I recently read is board member Bill Gates was paid $1800 for his services to the company just last year.
To give a comparison, the average board member fees for companies that reside on the S&P 500 was roughly around $241,000 in the year 2011. I learned this through compensation experts Equilar. So Gates $1800 check is quite small.
Earlier this month, Forbes estimated that Bill Gates is currently worth around $67 billion. What does that mean for his Berkshire Hathaway income… It’s currently worth around 0.000003% of his overall net worth.
Let’s put it another way…
The net worth of the average American family is around $80,000. So Bill Gates $1800 is roughly the equivalent of 2/10 of a cent for the average American family.
Of course there are other reasons for Bill Gates to sit on the board of Berkshire Hathaway. He runs a charity with his wife known as the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which will get billions of dollars from Buffett in the form of Berkshire Hathaway shares. Plus, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are longtime friends.
As I’m sure you can imagine, Gates doesn’t do this for the money. He has probably lost more than $1800 in all of his couch cushions.