A marriage proposal is a big milestone in any couple’s life, which is why most people won’t take the task of choosing an engagement ring lightly. After all, it is one of the most symbol of love in a relationship, you wouldn’t want to skimp on it, would you?
But when you have billions of dollars at your disposal, nothing is too expensive or out of reach. Well, that was the case with Bill Gates back in the day when he decided to marry his now-wife, Melinda. But even with a billion dollars, choosing the perfect engagement ring to symbolize your love is never easy.
An Interesting Offer
The year was 1993 when Bill Gates approached his good friend Warren Buffett for advice on choosing the perfect engagement ring for his lady love.
The interesting anecdote was told by Glen Arnold in The Deals of Warren Buffett Volume 2: The Making of a Billionaire, his latest biography on the multi-billionaire investment tycoon.
As the story goes, Gates was in Omaha to attend a conference held by Warren Buffet for his company Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders. Upon hearing Gates’ plan to propose to Melinda, Buffett took him to Borsheims, a fine jewelry store in Omaha owned by the billionaire himself.
There, he advised Gates to spend a sizeable chunk of his net worth on the special rock. How much, you ask? 6%, to be precise. According to the book, Buffett told Bill that the engagement ring he bought in 1951 cost 6% of his net worth, and that’s the formula Gates should follow to.
Considering that the Microsoft founder’s net worth was around $6 billion at the time, Buffett’s pitch would have put a $370-million price tag on the proposed ring.
Now the math was much simpler back in the day when Buffett was young 21-year-old shopping for an engagement ring. At the time, his net worth was a measly $10,000 which meant that the ring only cost him $600.
Even if you were to factor in the inflation, the ring would cost $6,000 today, far less than what Bill Gates would have paid.
Taking inflation into account, Buffett’s proposal would have cost the tech mogul a whopping $660 million today. And can you imagine the size of the rock you could buy with that budget? Of course, Gates didn’t fall for Buffett’s pitch, settling for a 1-carat diamond ring instead.