Billionaire Warren Buffett is widely known for his successes in the investing world. And, while people often look to the wise octogenarian for advice in the investment world, it’s often overlooked that Buffett is a simple man like the rest of us.
He may be worth billions, but Mr. Buffett is a huge advocate of living a frugal lifestyle, or at least one within your means. And, unlike many wealthy people today, Buffett made a point to not feed his children with a silver spoon— so, what would it be like growing up under the rich and famous Warren Buffett?
Buffett actually has three children; Howard Graham Buffett, who is pretty widely known for his own philanthropic ventures and his involvement with Berkshire Hathaway, Susan Alice Buffett, who focuses mostly on her own philanthropy, and the lesser known Peter Buffett, a musician, author, and co-president of the NoVo Foundation.
While you might think being raised by someone who is as successful and wealthy as Warren Buffett might have been a little strange, it’ll probably surprise you how normal Peter Buffett describes the experience.
“We didn’t really know what my dad did. It was quite mysterious… Finding out was very gradual, I was probably about 25. The truth is, it just wasn’t around…. We didn’t grow up around the exposition of wealth.”
While this isn’t groundbreaking news, especially when you consider the modest home that Buffett has lived in since 1957, it’s still pretty surprising that Peter didn’t fully understand what his father did until he was about 25. One thing Peter did know was that his father read a lot, something that never changed with Buffett’s age. In fact, Peter said he’s pretty sure that if you walked in that Omaha house today, you’d see the same thing he saw in 1965.
“I believe it is an act of love for parents to say, ‘I believe in you as my child, and you don’t need my help.’ The support, the privilege, really comes from having two parents who said and believed I could do anything. That support didn’t come in the form of a check. It came in the form of love and nurturing and respect for us finding our way, falling down, figuring out to get up ourselves.”
Perhaps Warren Buffett preferred to raise his children unexposed to his wealth because that is how he grew up. Buffett created all of his own business ventures in his childhood and before he entered college he told his father he could be removed from his will— he wouldn’t need that. While we may never know what made Buffett raise his children without being exposed to his wealth, it seems to have worked out fine for them.
“The reason my dad and I get along so well is because we never ask the other one to be something they’re not. He allowed me to be me.”