Who is Charlie Munger?
Charlie Munger is the vice chair of Berkshire Hathaway Corp., the diversified company chaired by renowned investor Warren Buffett. Buffett has described Munger as his partner and “right-hand man.” He is also chair of the Daily Journal Corp., based in Los Angeles, and a director of Costco Wholesale Corp. As of May 2021, Munger had an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion, according to Forbes.
Personal Life of Charlie Munger
Munger was born in Omaha, Neb., in 1924. As a teenager he worked at Buffett & Son, a grocery store owned by Warren Buffett's grandfather.
He enrolled in the University of Michigan, where he studied mathematics, but dropped out a few days after his 19th birthday to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he became a second lieutenant. He continued his studies in meteorology at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., the town he was to make his home.
Through the GI Bill he took advanced courses via several universities. He entered Harvard Law School without an undergraduate degree and graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. in 1948. He was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.
Charlie Munger’s Law Firm and Move into Finance
In 1962, Munger founded and worked as a real estate attorney at Munger, Tolles & Olson, now a renowned law firm. He then gave up the practice of law to concentrate on managing investments and later partnered with Otis Booth in real estate development.
Although Munger is better known for his association with Buffett, he ran an investment partnership of his own from 1962 to 1975. According to Buffett's essay "The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville," published in 1984, Munger's investment partnership generated compound annual returns of 19.8% during the 1962–75 period, compared with a 5% annual appreciation rate for the Dow. Munger and Buffett met in 1959 and gradually developed an investment relationship.
The Charlie Munger Investment Philosophy
In multiple speeches, and in the book Poor Charlie's Almanack, Munger introduced the concept of "elementary, worldly wisdom" as it relates to business and finance. Munger has stated that high ethical standards are integral to his philosophy: At the 2009 Wesco Financial Corp. annual meeting, he said, "Good businesses are ethical businesses. A business model that relies on trickery is doomed to fail."
Charlie Munger’s Philanthropy
Munger is a major benefactor to the University of Michigan and Stanford University. He has also made large donations to UC Santa Barbara and has supported abortion rights and health care causes, despite identifying as a Republican.