Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has earned a reputation as a highly quotable speaker, and now his son is following in his father’s footsteps even though he won’t be inheriting his dad’s fortune.
“Silver spoons don’t come free”—and being born into a wealthy family shouldn’t entitle anybody to anything special, said Emmy award-winning musician, author and philanthropist Peter Buffett in a recent conversation and concert hosted in New York by law firm Withers Bergman for the younger members of the Institute for Private Investors (IPI).
“I learned more in difficult times about myself and my resiliency than I ever would have if I’d had a pile of money and I could have glided through life,” said Buffett, an established musician with some dozen albums whose father gave him just $90,000 in Berkshire Hathaway stock when he was 19.
Much later in Peter’s life, he and his two siblings each got about $1 billion to spend on philanthropic causes. (In 2006, Warren Buffett vowed to give away 85% of his fortune to charity, most of it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.) Peter and his wife started the NoVo Foundation, which supports education and human rights for women and girls in developing countries.
Peter Buffett didn’t realize just how well-off his family was until he was about 25 years old, according to a Freakanomics Radio podcast interview.
“We didn’t know what he did,” he says of his ordinary upbringing. “In fact when my sister filled out a form, I think in fourth or fifth grade, about what our parents did, she put ‘security analysis,’ and that was assumed that what he did was check alarm systems.”