Aspiring to become a billionaire is a dream many Americans hold dear. For a tangible example, simply look at the mania that ensues when the Powerball lottery gets up into the billion dollar range. It is one thing to have that dream, but it’s rare to actually achieve it. In addition, it’s immensely difficult to maintain proper perspective at that level of wealth. Warren Buffett is one individual who worked his way to become a billionaire, but has remained humble and not looked to flaunt his riches.
Buffett started as a salesman, and transitioned to investments. He first became a millionaire in 1962, and used his newfound wealth to purchase Berkshire Hathaway. Originally, it had been a textile business, but this proved to not be terribly profitable. He transitioned the company into the insurance industry. Other early investments included a department store, and sizeable ownership chunks of Coca-Cola, ABC, and the Washington Post. He officially became a billionaire in 1990, when Berkshire Hathaway started selling Class A shares.
Wealth and shrewd investment skills aside, Buffett is best known for living a modest lifestyle despite his billions. As of ten years ago, his published salary was $100,000 per year. He still lives in the same Omaha house he purchased in 1958. Two notable exceptions to this modesty are a $4 million house in Laguna Beach, and a private jet he named “The Indefensible” (a nod to his propensity to use public flights to save money). A huge philanthropist, Buffett has poured the vast majority of his wealth into charity.