In 1977, Warren Buffett’s younger son Peter turned 19, and received his only inheritance after the sale of his grandpa’s farm, converted into Berkshire Hathaway stock worth $90,000.
An Emmy Award-winner and philanthropist, Peter in his 2010 memoir titled “Life Is What You Make It” mentions that he and his siblings got huge funds from their father to do charity, but that $90,000 was his only personal inheritance. Having seen two older siblings destroy their cash quickly, he was wiser.
How Peter Buffett found his ‘sound’
Peter had already decided to pursue his dreams of becoming a musician, sold his shares, dropped out of Stanford University and used the funds to decide if he could succeed in music. Totally clueless, he prepared a budget and moved to San Francisco, living frugally in a small studio apartment, updating his recording equipment and perfected his craft, as a music producer and pianist, writing tunes, experimenting with sounds and recording techniques and took unpaid work. Peter then achieved success in his music career without any push from his Father. His big break came while washing his ancient car when a neighbor asked what he did for a living. When informed that he was a struggling composer, he introduced him to his son-in-law, an animator who needed ad tunes for a new cable channel called MTV, the defining cultural phenomena in the 1980s. At 62, Peter has released over 12 studio albums and scored music for “Dances with Wolves.”
Why time is a great investment
Looking back, Peter could have graduated from college, secured a cushy job in his father’s hugely profitable company, with the stock inheritance unspent, continuing to accrue in value. According to experts, $90,000 of Berkshire Hathaway stock in 1977 would exceed $200 million in May 2020. But he didn’t choose that path and does not regret it at all as he used the money to buy time, infinitely more valuable than money, and this precious time enabled him to find success in work he loved. During his childhood, Peter learned about work ethics which is doing something you love, keeping you energized all day long. Making money is all about wealth ethics. Warren loves to invest money which he does well and with passion well and you do it with passion and become extremely rich. But he is not about money and advises youngsters to take any job you would take, if independently wealthy.
Not taking the path of least resistance
Most won’t get the chance to do what Peter did as his inheritance was more than what most young people receive to start in life. That money was a privilege, an unearned gift but he says many privileged people, fail to understand the value of time and rush into their destiny and end up “working jobs that are neither fulfilling nor right for them. Without those grueling hours of unpaid hours spent working with his recording gear, he wouldn’t have found his approach or sound which required time and patience. During those difficult times he understood himself and about resiliency and his father’s refusal to let him take the easy way out, was an act of love. He believed in me, and that no help was needed.