It’s no surprise that the city of Omaha will not be throwing a huge birthday bash for Warren Buffett’s birthday when he turns 82 on Thursday. And as I’m sure you will understand, he is going to be just fine with this as well.
The main reason why Warren Buffett has decided to spend the majority of his life in Omaha, which is the place he was born and the place he has lived regularly since 1956, is that he can lead a low-key lifestyle. There’s no question that he could easily have relocated closer to Wall Street, or another big city that might be more suited to the lifestyle that a person with his kind of money normally leads.
In an interview that Warren Buffett gave to the Associated Press, he said “If I had to live some other place I’d be fine doing it, but I can’t think of a better place to live than Omaha.”
Warren Buffett was born in the great city of Omaha in the year 1930, and he lived in the largest city in Nebraska until he was 12 years old. He didn’t leave until his father was elected as a Congressman at that age. He also received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, after which he left Omaha and went to Columbia University to get his Master’s degree in economics. He then proceeded to work in New York for a couple years after he earned his degree.
Susie Buffett, Warren’s wife at the time, wanted her children to live and grow up in Omaha along with her husband. That’s why they returned to the Midwest, and went back to their roots.
The truth is that Warren Buffett had no intention of starting an investment firm until some of his family members, and a few of his friends, convinced him that it was the right thing to do. It was the success that he had with this partnership that gave him the ability to liquidate the company and then take over Berkshire Hathaway during the 1960s. That’s when he began transforming the textile company into the monster insurance business and investing firm that it is today. As of right now, Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 80 businesses.
The main staple of Warren Buffett’s investment strategy is that he buys businesses of an excellent quality, but they have fallen out of favor with the marketplace for one reason or another. He claims that being in Omaha was a big influence and one of the major factors that he attributes to doing this.
Warren Buffett stated “In some places it’s easy to lose perspective. But I think it’s very easy to keep perspective in a place like Omaha.” He actually believes, and there’s no reason to not think it’s true, that being far away from Wall Street was actually a major benefit to his success.
Buffett also stated that “it’s very easy to think clearly here. You are undisturbed by irrelevant factors and the noise generally of business investments. If you can’t think clearly in Omaha, you’re not going to think clearly any place.”
Omaha is a city that houses 415,000 people. Warren Buffett’s drive from his home to his work is about 20 blocks, and he’s easily capable of doing it in 5 minute’s time.
Buffett then stated “I would find a long commute quite irritating even if I did it under favorable circumstances – even if I had a driver. I like being in the home and I like being in the office, and I’m not keen on in between.”
Warren Buffett also mentioned that there isn’t even the slightest temptation to move, and he doesn’t think that the company is ever going to move either. The main reason being that not only do the two dozen people working for Berkshire Hathaway at their headquarters live in the city of Omaha as well, but they like living there too.
When discussions of Warren Buffett’s successor first took place, he mentioned that the successor should work in a location that he or she thought best. This made things very uncertain as to whether or not the headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway would move. But as of right now, Buffett doesn’t believe that his successor would have any reason to move Berkshire Hathaway. His exact words were “No, it won’t be moved.”
This is a very big relief for the boosters in Omaha that truly appreciate the people that Warren Buffett attracts to the city. I also love the way that Warren Buffett promotes the city of Omaha when he is outside of Nebraska.
It’s quite evident that there are some tremendous benefits that Berkshire Hathaway brings during the spring when tens of thousands of shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway arrive for the annual meeting of the company. Local businesses will tell you that this event clearly helps the city a great deal, although no one truly knows how much.
Diana Abbott, whose bookstore sells their wares at the annual meetings of Berkshire Hathaway, mentioned that this event brings in incredible sales, and also stated that the intangible ways that Mr. Buffett helps the city of Omaha are probably even more important.
The manager of the store the Bookworm, Diana Abbott, said “You say Omaha, they think Warren Buffett. It has really improved the reputation of Omaha, especially internationally.”
Buffett is always ready to allow his image to be used on all campaigns that are promoting Omaha, and he is featured quite prominently on the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s website.
David Brown, the current CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce, said “He’s kind of our iconic image for the community. This is a special place because he’s here.”
We all know that Berkshire Hathaway has made many different people very wealthy, and a lot of the early investors were from the city of Omaha.
There are dozens of early Berkshire Hathaway investors that became philanthropists, and the main focus of their donations is on the betterment of Omaha. If you look at some of the biggest projects that have taken place in this city over the last decade, you will see that they were brought forth by many Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.
David Brown also said “That’s an important asset for this community.”
Hal Daub, who is a former mayor of Omaha and a Congressman, readily agrees that the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway are very generous to the city of Omaha, and that they have tremendously helped the city.
His exact words were “Where would Omaha being without Berkshire Hathaway?”
Ernie Goss, an economist from Creighton University, mentioned that the presence of the headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha is most likely more important than the annual meeting when it takes place. He says that the headquarters boost philanthropy and also improve the city’s image on a national scale.
As we know, most of the large corporations, and this includes ConAgra foods and Union Pacific which are both Omaha-based, actually employ hundreds, or possibly even thousands of people at their headquarters, and Berkshire Hathaway only employs 24. But Berkshire makes up for it by the visibility that Warren Buffett brings by having its headquarters in the city. Investors obviously listen when the Oracle of Omaha speaks, so there are a lot of financial news organizations regularly visiting Omaha so they can conduct interviews with Mr. Buffett.
Mr. Goss said that “It does bring a greater visibility than other Fortune 500 companies.”
Warren Buffett’s decision to remain in Omaha basically seems to be based on his own personal happiness, which is obviously very important.
Buffett said “There’s plenty of other places I like, but the one I love is Omaha. The weather may be a little better some other place else, but that really doesn’t make much difference to me in terms of how I feel about enjoying life.”