He also made money by collecting and selling lost golf balls. Buffett's interest in finance was clear extremely early on in his life.
He started playing the stock market with one of his sisters when he was eleven. At twelve, he was betting on horses, and by high school he had started a business (pinball machines) with a friend, which earned him fifty dollars a week. Not only did he own a business by graduation, but he also had bought himself forty acres of Nebraskan farm land with his profit. Graduate school was a formative time for Buffett.
It was there that he met Benjamin Graham, an economic scholar whose work Buffett had begun studying in college. Buffett believed strongly in Graham's theory that it is wise to look for stocks of companies which are undervalued, which will most probably prosper with a little time. Thus began Buffett's untraditional approach to portfolio management. After working for his father's investment banking company for the three years after business school, Buffett returned to Graham and worked as a security analyst at Graham's company for two years until 1956.
In that year, at the age of twenty-five, Buffett started his own investment company, the Buffett Partnership, using $5,000 of his own funds and collecting $100,000 from interested friends and family.
One of the smartest moves made by Buffet's company at that time was to invest in American Express. In 1963, a scandal surrounded AmEx, and Wall Street believed the company was near the end. But Buffett, always with his wits about him and his thinking cap on, noticed when in restaurants and shops that customers were still using the card to buy. He went ahead and bought 5 percent of the stock, which by 1961 had risen from 35 to 189 market points. Buffett is now chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which makes the long-term investments which Buffett is so adept at choosing.
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