Peter Buffett, the son of legendary investor Warren Buffett, traded his inheritance for time nearly 45 years ago. Despite missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars, he believed he chose the right path and he says his father would agree.
Finding His Way: When Buffett was 19, he was gifted a portion of the proceeds from the sale of his grandfather’s farm, which his dad converted into a $90,000 investment in Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B), per a CNBC report.
The billionaire investor made it clear the $90,000 was all his son should expect to receive for personal use. Despite knowing that was his entire inheritance, he sold his Berkshire stock and used the cash to pursue a career in music.
Buffett dropped out of Stanford University, bought a small studio apartment in San Francisco and spent some of his money upgrading his recording equipment. He started spending his time working on improving his piano and music-producing skills.
One day, his neighbor stopped to ask him what he did for a living and that’s when he got his big break.
He told the neighbor that he was a “struggling composer” and the neighbor offered to introduce him to his son-in-law who was an animator looking for ad tunes for a new cable station — it turned out to be MTV.
Buffett is now 65 years of age and has released around 15 studio albums over his successful career.
The Path Not Taken: If the son of the legendary investor would have stayed in college and held onto his $90,000 investment in Berkshire Hathaway, it would be worth well over $300 million today.
“But I didn’t make that choice and I don’t regret it for a second. I used my nest egg to buy something infinitely more valuable than money: I used it to buy time,” Buffett said.
That’s a decision that his father would be proud of, he noted. The billionaire taught his son that work isn’t about making as much money as possible, instead it’s about doing something that you love to do.
Buffett acknowledged that the money was a privilege, calling it a gift that he had not earned.
“Without those hundreds of unpaid hours spent fiddling with my recording gear, I would not have found my sound or approach,” Buffett said.
The musician used the money to buy time to pursue something that he enjoys waking up and doing each day, which is exactly what his father tells young people to do. The billionaire has previously recommended that people pursue careers that they would want to have if money was not part of the decision-making process.
This story is part of a new series of features on the subject of success, Benzinga Inspire.
Photo: Peter Buffett, Tehribo via Wikimedia Commons; Warren Buffett, Shutterstock