In 1965, a middle-aged couple in Omaha, Nebraska, faced a common but difficult dilemma: how to plan effectively for retirement. Dorothy and Meyer Kripke diligently saved and received a modest inheritance, which put them ahead of their peers in terms of retirement planning. By that year, their savings amounted to about $67,000, which, when adjusted for inflation, would equate to about $650,000 today.
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was their main concern Preserving and developing their nest eggs to ensure availability when they retire in the next decade or two. After months of deliberation and stress, Dorothy offered her husband a simple solution: “Meyer, invest the money with your friend, Warren.”
This acquaintance was 35 years old Warren Buffett. He was a neighbor who had already established a reputation locally as a shrewd financial manager.
Little did they know that Dorothy and Mayer Kripke had found a man who would later be hailed as one of the greatest financial investors in history. Buffett, known as the Oracle of Omaha, will continue to run an investment business with assets totaling nearly $500 billion.
The Kripke family was introduced to Buffett through casual bridge games and holiday gatherings.
Meyer had initial reservations about entrusting their life savings to a rising young money manager. He feared that this might be a burden on their friendship and questioned the wisdom of mixing business with personal relationships. Buffett’s minimum investment requirement at the time was $150,000, making it seemingly impractical to approach him with less than half that.
Dorothy’s determination prevailed, and despite Mayer’s resistance for three years, he eventually reached out to Buffett. Buffett agreed to manage their money without hesitation, emphasizing his desire to maintain their friendship even in the face of potential losses. “I loved Meyer[and]wanted people who, if things went wrong, we could still be friends,” said Buffett.
Their collaboration flourished, and over the next three decades, Buffett’s business expanded exponentially. In parallel, Kripkes’ initial investment of $67,000 quickly multiplied.
“We got in fairly early on with a modest amount of money. Then it mushroomed like an atomic bomb,” Meyer said of their financial journey.
Their wealth grew, and the Kripkis went from millionaires to millionaires. By the mid-1990s, that $67,000 had grown to over $25 million, which today is about $40 million, accounting for inflation.
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During that period, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.The share price fluctuated between $20,000 and $40,000 per share. Assuming they owned approximately 833 shares at an estimated price of $30,000 per share, the Kripkis’ net worth in the mid-1990s was $25 million. If they had held these shares until Dorothy’s death in September 2000, their value would have doubled to $50 million. By the time Meyer died in May 2014, with Berkshire shares trading at $215,000 per share, their 833 shares would have been worth $180 million.
Today, a person who owns 833 shares of Berkshire Hathaway would have a fortune of approximately $394,222,356 — roughly $400 million — all for a $67,000 investment.
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