This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool. If still online, it's here.

Motley Fool published an article that briefly beat around the bush about Mr. Buffett's lifestyle. I put two and two together and did a little research. If he, such a well known icon of American Capitalism is poly, then shouldn't at least some of the rest of the world aspire to be like him? You can jump straight to the poly parts of the article. One might try to say that it's not a poly relationship, just "friendly". But that would be denying the statements of the article, and other similar statements in other papers. These three people love each other and have found the level of intimacy that is appropriate for them. And that is a good thing.

Update on 5-10-02: I did a search on Google and found more discussion about it. Including that Warren's book Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist talks (albeit briefly) about their relationship. Some snippets. They do this without fanfare.

E D U C A T E ,  A M U S E ,  E N R I C H

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.-- Thoreau

April 29, 1999 

Getting to Know Warren

   by Yi-Hsin Chang (TMF Puck) 

For someone who is such an

extraordinarily successful investor, Warren

Buffett comes off as a pretty ordinary guy.

Born and bred in Omaha, Nebraska, for

more than 40 years Buffett has lived in the same gray stucco house on

Farnam Street that he bought for $31,500. He wears rumpled, nondescript

suits, drives his own car, drinks Cherry Coke, and is more likely to be

found in a Dairy Queen than a four-star restaurant.

But the 68-year-old Omaha native has led an extraordinary life. Looking

back on his childhood, one can see the budding of a savvy businessman.

Warren Edward Buffett was born on August 30, 1930, the middle child of

three. His father, Howard Buffett, came from a family of grocers but himself

became a stockbroker and later a U.S. congressman. Warren's mother,

Leila, who grew up in rural Nebraska, met his father while the two worked

on the Daily Nebraskan at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Even as a young child, Buffett was pretty serious about making money. He

used to go door-to-door and sell soda pop. He and a friend used math to

develop a system for picking winners in horseracing and started selling their

"Stable-Boy Selections" tip sheets until they were shut down for not having

a license. Later, he also worked at his grandfather's grocery store.

After frequenting his father's brokerage firm and charting stock prices on his

own, Buffett, at the ripe age of 11, bought his first stock: three shares of

Cities Service preferred at $38 a share. He watched as his first investment

dropped to $27 and then recovered to $40. Buffett cashed out and made

$5 profit after commissions -- missing Cities Service's rise to $200 a share.

When his family moved to Washington, D.C., Buffett became a paperboy

for The Washington Post and its rival the Times-Herald. When his

customers canceled their subscriptions for one of the papers, he was ready

to offer the other paper to take its place. Buffett ran his five paper routes

like an assembly line and even added magazines to round out his product

offerings. While still in school, he was making $175 a month, a full-time

wage for many young men.

When he was 14, Buffett spent $1,200 on 40 acres of farmland in

Nebraska and soon began collecting rent from a tenant farmer. He and a

friend also made $50 a week by placing pinball machines in barber shops.

They called their venture Wilson Coin Operated Machine Co. 

Already a successful albeit small-time businessman, Buffett wasn't keen on

going to college but ended up at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania

-- his father encouraged him to go since he was just 17 years old. After two

years at Wharton, Buffett transferred to his parents' alma mater, the

University of Nebraska in Lincoln, for his final year of college. There Buffett

took a job with the Lincoln Journal supervising 50 paper boys in six rural


Buffett applied to Harvard Business School but was turned down in what

had to be one of the worst admissions decisions in Harvard history.

Nineteen at the time, he was told he was too young and to wait a year or

two. The outcome ended up profoundly affecting Buffett's life, for he ended

up attending Columbia Business School, where he studied under revered

mentor Benjamin Graham, the father of securities analysis who provided the

foundation for Buffett's investment strategy. 

From the beginning, Buffett made his fortune from investing. He started with

all the money he had made from selling pop, delivering papers, and

operating pinball machines. Between 1950 and 1956, he grew his $9,800

kitty to $140,000. From there, he organized investment partnerships with

his family and friends, and then gradually drew in other investors through

word of mouth and very attractive terms: Limited partners would get to

keep all the profits Buffett made for them up to 4%. Anything beyond that

would be split -- 75% would be earmarked for the investors and 25% for

Buffett. In other words, if Buffett's return was 4% or less, he would take

home nothing.

Buffett's goal was to top the Dow Jones Industrial Average by an average

of 10% a year. Over the length of the Buffett partnership between 1957 and

1969, Buffett's investments grew at a compound annual rate of 29.5%,

crushing the Dow's return of 7.4% over the same period, according to

Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein. In

other words, had you invested $10,000 in the Dow in 1957, by 1969 you'd

have $15,260. The same investment in the Buffett Partnership would've

produced $150,270 after deducting Buffett's cut. As for Berkshire

Hathaway, you can get a glimpse of its performance by taking a look at this

chart. That flat line in blue actually represents the S&P 500 in the booming

'80s and '90s.

Buffett's investment strategy mirrors his lifestyle and overall philosophy. He

doesn't collect houses or cars or works of art, and he disdains companies

that waste money on such extravagances as limousines, private dining

rooms, and high-priced real estate. He is a creature of habit -- same house,

same office, same city, same soda -- and dislikes change. In his

investments, that means holding on to "core holdings" such as American

Express, Coca-Cola, and The Washington Post Co. "forever."

That sense of loyalty actually kept Buffett holding on to Berkshire

Hathaway's past perhaps longer than he should have. Buffett Partnership

bought some shares in the New Bedford, Massachusetts-based textile mill

in 1962 when its stock dropped under $8 a share (it had $16.50 a share in

working capital) and then acquired control of the company in 1965. Buffett

hung on to the company's mills despite the industry's decline and redeployed

its capital into a wide range of businesses (see table) before finally selling the

yarn mill.

Buffett's tenacious grip on stability and constancy is reflected in his

friendships, such as his longtime collaboration with Charlie Munger and his

relationship with his wife Susie. They got married when Buffett was 21, and

judging from Berkshire's annual reports and other public appearances,

they've been happy together ever since. 

In truth, Susie moved out shortly after the couple's 25th wedding

anniversary. She even set her husband up with other women, including

Astrid Menks, a waitress at the French Cafe who ended up moving in and

still lives with Buffett. While Susie and Warren remain close, Astrid is his

daily companion, though Susie still accompanies him on trips to New York

and California and sits on Berkshire's board. Susie and Astrid are friends;

they send presents to relatives from "Warren, Susie and Astrid." 

Buffett's view of inherited money also departs from the norm. Critical of the

self-indulgence of the super-rich, Buffett thinks of inheritances as "privately

funded food stamps" that keep children of the rich from leading normal,

independent lives. With his own three kids, he gave them each $10,000 a

year -- the tax-deductible limit -- at Christmas. When he gave them a loan,

they had to sign a written agreement. When his daughter, also named Susie

like her mother, needed $20 to park at the airport, he made her write him a

check for it.

As for charity, Buffett's strict standards have made it difficult for him to give

much away. He evaluates charities the same way he looks for stocks: value

for money, return on invested capital. He has established the Buffett

Foundation, designed to accumulate money and give it away after his and

his wife's deaths -- though the foundation has given millions to organizations

involved with population control, family planning, abortion, and birth

control. The argument goes that Buffett can actually give away a greater

sum in the end by growing his money while he's still alive. 

One thing's for sure about Buffett: He's happy doing what he's doing. "I get

to do what I like to do every single day of the year," he says. "I get to do it

with people I like, and I don't have to associate with anybody who causes

my stomach to churn. I tap dance to work, and when I get there I think I'm

supposed to lie on my back and paint the ceiling. It's tremendous fun." 

It's fun to watch the master at work, too.


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This was posted to the newsgroups alt.polyamory.

From: Rutabaga22 (
Subject: Re: Famous and Poly
Newsgroups: alt.polyamory
View: Complete Thread (41 articles) | Original Format
Date: 2001-01-11 08:00:26 PST

Warren Buffett - definitely.

Buffett's wife left him in the 1970's to build a life of her own in San
Francisco, and he acquired a girlfriend, Astrid Menks, but Buffett and his wife
also continued to see each other. Almost three decades later, he is still
married to Susie and lives with Astrid. "This most unlikely trio developed a
rhythm," writes Roger Lowenstein in his best-selling biography of Buffett.
"Astrid took care of Buffett day-to-day; Susie was with him if Buffett was
accompanied outside of Omaha. In New York and California, Warren and Susie saw
their usual friends... [their] personal chemistry was unchanged. Buffett's
friends...became accustomed to his domestic triangle... Buffett did make a
point of telling friends that Astrid had Susie's blessing... the two women
were friends."