OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha won’t throw a bash for Warren Buffett’s 82nd birthday on Thursday, and that’s just fine with the billionaire investor.
The decidedly low-key lifestyle in Omaha, where Buffett was born and where he’s lived continuously since 1956, is a key reason he chose to remain there rather than trade up to a city with a splashier skyline or new digs closer to Wall Street.
“If I had to live some other place I’d be fine doing it, but I can’t think of a better place to live than Omaha,” Buffett said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Buffett was born in Omaha in 1930 and spent the first 12 years of his life in Nebraska’s largest city until his father was elected to Congress. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, Buffett didn’t return full-time to Omaha until he got his master’s in economics at Columbia University and worked in New York for a few years.
He and his first wife, Susie, wanted their children to grow up in Omaha, so they returned to the Midwest city to plant roots.
Buffett didn’t plan to start an investment partnership until a few family members and friends persuaded him to do so. But his success with the partnership before he liquidated it allowed Buffett to take control of Berkshire Hathaway in the 1960s and gradually transform the textile company into a conglomerate that today owns more than 80 businesses.
Buffett is known for investing in quality businesses that have fallen out of favor with the market, and he said being in Omaha helped him do that.
“In some places it’s easy to lose perspective. But I think it’s very easy to keep perspective in a place like Omaha,” he said.
Buffett said being far from Wall Street actually helped him.
“It’s very easy to think clearly here. You’re undisturbed by irrelevant factors and the noise generally of business investments,” Buffett said. “If you can’t think clearly in Omaha, you’re not going to think clearly anyplace.”