A stranger among her own: Warren Buffett and conspicuous consumption “the other way around”

    imageUntil recently, the so-called "conspicuous consumption" was spread in Russia. The desire to make purchases for show, even if they can not afford it, is widespread, of course, not only among Russians. The richest people in the world are often in sight, they impress with their acquisitions, demeanor, and "omnipotence." Books are even written about them.

    But non-standard-minded individuals find idols on the other side of luxury. Interlocutor of Kommersant Elena Chirkova, who wrote the book The Warren Buffett Philosophy of Investment, is inspired by the example of Warren Buffett. Demonstrative consumption “vice versa” helped him become one of the richest people in the world.

    Source: financialblog.ru

    This example calls into question the well-known formula: "in order to become rich, you must behave like them." It turns out that "they" still behave very differently.

    Warren Buffett is the largest investor in the world, whose fortune as of March 1, 2015 was estimated at $ 72.7 billion. Buffett is the owner of Berkshire Hathaway .

    Financial Times columnist Tony Jackson called Buffett a stingy fellow in 2002: “The more carefully we look at him, the more he looks like such a big local misfortune - a man who saves every penny in his youth, buys a neighboring house and as a result owns a whole street.”

    Often, they also recall that Buffett continues to live in the house that he bought in 1958 for $ 31.5 thousand (about $ 280 thousand at current prices).

    His first wife testified that for many years Buffett wore simple clothes, "until she was completely worn out." His daughter said that once she had nothing to pay for parking, her father lent $ 20, she had to write a check to daddy, and he was not too lazy to cash it out.

    “Eat what you want”


    The following story is from a waiter who served Buffett during lunch at the French Cafe restaurant in Omaha. Before dinner, a visitor presented a $ 3.95 discount coupon and said, “I want this to be reflected in my bill.” And in an interview with CNBC, Buffett showed off the contents of his wallet, from which he pulled out a McDonalds gold card, giving him the opportunity to eat for life at the snack bars in Omaha.

    For example, in Buffett’s book of aphorisms, compiled by Janet Lowe, the phrase “I'd rather take the money” is placed in the section “Eat what you want,” although, of course, he hinted at an artificially high price for expensive wines and the disadvantage of buying them, if useful the consumer is limited by the quality of the drink without taking into account its social aura.

    Buffett also once said that French wine is an artificially created brand. "Maybe the grapes from a small eight-acre vineyard in France are really the best in the world, but I always had a suspicion that it was 99% words and 1% booze." The real cost of a glass of wine is much less than its price.

    “Price is what you pay, value is what you get,” Buffett is convinced that wealth should not be squandered on false and artificially embedded values ​​in the mind.

    Image and business strategy


    Most likely, Warren Buffett is sincere when he claims that luxury does not appeal to him, and does not dissemble when he says that he lives in his first, rather modest house for him because he likes it and because it is his house. On the other hand, in all these actions aimed at demonstrating indifference to luxury, there is also a hidden meaning. The image of "his boyfriend" works on a business strategy.

    This image turned out to be exceptionally good for communication in higher political circles. For example, Buffett used it very competently, protecting Salomon Bank from liquidation. At the Congressional hearings, Buffett was "a kind of timid and modest man with a hat in his hands." Despite his 700 millionth investment in Salomon, congressmen did not see Buffett as a figure from Wall Street, but as a man from the provinces, and a good half thought Omaha was a farming town. A Nebraska spokesman played along, saying that Buffett is a typical guy who was “born and raised in the Midwest,” “continues to live in a quiet green street in Omaha” and “fills out his tax returns.” The bank and Buffett's investment in it were saved.

    In this regard, I recall the workers of the Soviet nomenclature and some deputies who also tried by all means to impress people "from the people."

    It is possible that such popularity gives Buffett extra points when investing: he gets the opportunity to indirectly influence the price of shares of companies, packages of which he bought, by advertising their products.
    Finally, the popularity of Buffett attracted a lot of people to the Berkshire shareholders meeting - in 2015, about 44 thousand people came. At a meeting called Woodstock for Capitalists, Berkshire sells virtually all of the company's products and all the services it provides — from Justin Boots cowboy-style boots to GEICO car insurance.

    Small pleasures


    In 1986, he bought a private plane, on which he flies for company affairs.

    It is curious that Buffett's addiction to flying private jets is actively used to promote a business owned by his company. So, in a letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett once said that his family flies with NetJets, a private-owned company in Berkshire, and even gave statistics on how many hours he and his wife flew over the year.

    And yes, Buffett has long been buying expensive things. And journalists remember his past indifference to clothes and try to “beat”. Once he was asked why he wears cheap suits. The answer was simply brilliant: “I buy expensive suits. They look cheap on me. ”

    Berkshire was a major shareholder of McDonalds and still owns a major stake in Coca-Cola.

    And this is still a big question, does Buffett go to McDonalds and whether he drinks Coke in a private setting. Berkshire Hataway shareholder Andrew Kilpatrick describes a lunch with Buffett: “He ordered a sandwich with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, a salad and iced tea. When I began to order a Coke, he exclaimed: “Oh my God!” ”The well-known economic columnist Luis Ruckeyser tells about the lunch with Buffett in approximately the same way:“ The only thing that was told to me that it’s absolutely certain is that Buffett ... drinks nothing but cherry cola.


    Buffett's demonstrative consumption - hamburgers and Coca-Cola - this is the opposite of consumptive consumption.

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