Charlie Munger, investment sage and confidant of Warren Buffett, has died

  • Charlie Munger made a fortune on his own before becoming vice chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
  • He was also a real estate attorney, philanthropist and architect.
  • “We think alike, and it’s scary,” Buffett once said of Munger.

Charlie Munger, the billionaire investment genius who made his fortune before becoming Warren Buffett’s right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, has died at the age of 99.

Munger died Tuesday, according to a press release from Berkshire Hathaway. The group said Munger’s family members advised him that he died peacefully this morning at a California hospital. He would have turned 100 on New Year’s Day.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to where it is today without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.

In addition to being a Berkshire vice chairman, Munger is a real estate attorney, chairman and publisher of the Daily Journal Corporation, a member of the Costco board, a philanthropist, and an architect.

At the beginning of 2023, his fortune was assessed $2.3 billion – a jaw-dropping amount for many but much smaller than Buffett’s improbable amount Good luckIt is valued at over $100 billion.

During Berkshire’s 2021 annual shareholder meeting, the 97-year-old Munger inadvertently revealed a well-guarded secret: Vice Chairman Greg Abel will “keep the culture” after Buffett’s tenure.

Munger, who wore thick glasses, lost his left eye in 1980 after complications from cataract surgery.

Munger was chairman and CEO of Wesco Financial from 1984 until 2011, when Buffett’s Berkshire bought the remaining shares it didn’t own in the Pasadena, California-based insurance and investment company.

Buffett credited Munger with broadening his investment strategy from backing troubled companies at low prices in hopes of profit to focusing on high-quality but low-cost companies.

An early example of change was illustrated by Munger’s ability to persuade Buffett to sign off on the purchase of Berkshire in 1972. See Candies For $25 million, the California confectioner’s year-ago revenue was only about $4 million. Since then it has produced More than $2 billion Berkshire on sale.

“He took me away from the idea of ​​buying very few companies at very low prices, knowing that there was some small profit in it, and looking for some wonderful businesses that we could buy at a reasonable price,” Buffett said on CNBC. May 2016.

Or as Munger put it at a 1998 Berkshire shareholder meeting: “It’s not that fun to buy a business where you’re hoping this sucker will break before it breaks.”

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Munger was often the straight man for Buffett’s witty commentary. “I have nothing to add.” That’s what Buffett said after Buffett’s eloquent answers to questions at Berkshire’s annual meetings in Omaha, Nebraska. But like his friend and colleague, Munger was a font of wisdom in investing and life. And like one of his heroes, Benjamin Franklin, Munger’s insight lacked humor.

“I have a friend who says that the first rule is fishing Fish where the fish are. The second rule of fishing is to never forget the first. We’ve gotten pretty good at fishing where the fish are,” Munger, 93, told a crowd of thousands at the 2017 Berkshires meeting.

He believed in his calling “The Lollapalooza Effect,” In this confluence of factors come together to drive investment psychology.

Charles Thomas Munger was born on January 1, 1924 in Omaha. His father Alfred was a lawyer, and His motherFlorence “Doody,” Belongs to an affluent family. Like Warren, Munger worked as a teenager in Buffett’s grandfather’s grocery store, but the two future partners did not meet until several years later.

At age 17, Munger moved from Omaha to the University of Michigan. Two years later, in 1943, Janet Lowe’s 2003 autobiography “Damn Right!” Accordingly, he joined the Army Air Force.

The Army sent him to study meteorology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In California, Nancy Huggins fell in love with and married her sister’s roommate at Scripps College in 1945. Although he never finished his undergraduate degree, Munger graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1948, and the couple settled down again. California, where he practiced real estate law. He founded the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson in 1962 and the hedge fund Wheeler, Munger & Co. Focused on managing investments in

“I’m proud to be an Omaha boy,” Munger said in a 2017 interview. Dean Scott DeRue Michigan Ross Business School. “I sometimes use the old saying, ‘They got the boy out of Omaha, but they never got Omaha out of the boy.’ All those ancient values ​​- family comes first; be in a position to help others when problems arise; prudence, prudence; being fair is a moral obligation. [is] Above all—more important than being rich, more important than being important—is an absolute moral obligation.”

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In California, he partnered in real estate with Franklin Otis Booth, a member of the founding family of the Los Angeles Times. One of their earliest developments turned out to be profitable Condo project on Booth’s grandfather’s property in Pasadena. (Booth, who died in 2008, was introduced to Buffett by Munger in 1963 and became one of Berkshire’s biggest investors.)

“I had five real estate projects,” Munger said Teru. “Some years I did both side by side, and in a very few years, I had $3 million – $4 million.”

Munger closed the hedge fund in 1975. Three years later, he became a vice president at Berkshire Hathaway.

In 1959, at age 35, Munger returned to Omaha to close his late father’s law practice. That’s when he made his debut Then-29-year-old Buffett By one of Buffett’s investor clients. Despite living half a continent away from each other, the two hit it off and kept in touch.

Buffett recalled in a 1977 interview with the Omaha World-Herald.

We never had an argument We’ve known each other the whole time, and it’s been almost 60 years now,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick in 2018. “Charlie has given me the ultimate gift that one person can give to another person. He has made me a better person than I was. … He gave me a lot of good advice over time. … I lived better because of Charlie.”

Convergence of Mind focuses on value investing, in which stocks are selected because their price is undervalued based on the company’s long-term fundamentals.

“All intelligent investing is value investing—buying more than you pay for,” Munger once said. “You have to respect the business to value the stock.”

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (L), and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger attend the annual shareholders meeting on May 3, 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Johannes Eisel | AFP | Good pictures

But when the coronavirus broke out in early 2020, when Berkshire posted a $50 billion first-quarter loss, Munger and Buffett invested more in U.S. airlines and funds like Bank of America and Goldman than during the Great Recession. They were very conservative. Sox was hit hard by that fall.

“Well, I would say that when it comes to the worst hurricane ever, we’re basically like the captain of a ship,” Munger told The Wall Street Journal in April 2020. “We want to get Through the storm, and we want to come out of it with a lot of cash flow. We’re not playing, ‘Oh baby, drink, it’s all going to hell, let’s sink 100% of the reserves’. [into buying businesses].”

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Munger donated hundreds of millions of dollars to academic institutions including the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and Harvard Law School. Building designsAlthough he was not formally trained as an architect.

At Harvard-Westlake Prep School in Los Angeles, Munger was a team member for decades who ensured that girls’ bathrooms were larger than boys’ rooms during construction of the science center in the 1990s.

“Anytime you go to a football game or a festival there’s a huge line outside the women’s bathroom. Who doesn’t know that they pee differently than men?” Munger said The Wall Street Journal In 2019. “What kind of idiot would make a men’s bathroom and a women’s bathroom the same size? Answer, a mediocre architect!”

Munger and his wife had three children, daughters Wendy and Molly, and son Teddy, who died of leukemia at age 9. The Mungers divorced in 1953.

Two years later, he married Nancy Barry Blind date A hen night at the restaurant. The couple had four children, Charles Jr., Emily, Barry, and Philip. He was stepmother to two other sons, William Harold Borthwick and David Borthwick. The Mungers, who were married for 54 years until his death in 2010, contributed $43.5 million to Stanford University to help build the Munger Graduate Residence Hall, which would house 600 law and graduate students.

Asked by CNBC’s Quick in a February 2019 “Squawk Box” interview about the secret to a long and happy life, Munger said the answer was “easy, because it’s so simple.”

“You don’t have too much jealousy, you don’t hold grudges, you don’t overspend your income, you have to be cheerful even when problems come. All these simple rules work very well to make your life better. And they are very normal,” he said.

“Being merry… because it’s the wisest thing to do. Is it so hard? And can you be happy when you’re drowning in deep hatred and hatred? Of course you can’t. So why do you take it? Then?”

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed reporting.

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