Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Quote of the Day: Peter Buffett

One of my father's often-quoted tenets is that a parent, if he has the means to do so, should give his children "enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing." A head start is fine; a free pass is often a crippling disservice. When I turned 19, I received my inheritance—proceeds from the sale of a farm, which my father converted into Berkshire Hathaway stock. At the time I received them, the shares were worth roughly $90,000. It was understood that I should expect nothing more.

So—what to do with the money? I was a student at Stanford University; there were no strings attached. Fortunately, I'd had the advantage of seeing my older siblings burn through most of their cash; I didn't want to follow down that path. At the other extreme, I might have done absolutely nothing with that stock—just left it in an account and forgotten about it. If I'd picked that option, my shares would now be worth around $72 million. But I didn't make that choice, and I don't regret it for a second. People think I'm either lying or crazy when I say this, but it happens to be true, because I used my nest egg to buy something more valuable than money: I used it to buy time.

My inheritance came to me around the time I was finally committing to the pursuit of a career in music. As a pragmatic Midwesterner with a very limited nest egg, I knew that I would have to find a way to turn my creative impulses into a livelihood. But how did one do that? How would I find an audience, or clients, or a way to sell what I'd written and produced? I didn't have a clue, but it was becoming clear to me that I wasn't going to figure it out by staying in a university.

~ Peter Buffett, from the book Life is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment

1 comment:

  1. I've always liked this quote and used it many times with clients when asked about inheritance.
    I'm surprised that so many people don't realize that there is great joy in achieving something on your own. I feel sorry for those born to celebrities or who have inherited great wealth. They will never know if whatever they achieve they could have achieved on their own.