Rubbing Elbows with the Rich and Not-So-Famous ~ Pam Crooks

 

Through the ages, savvy businessmen have earned their wealth with a vision and brilliance that others had yet to fathom. Some earned their money with ingenuity, some with skill, others with luck for being in the right place at the right time. For the vast majority of us who weren’t blessed with such fortune, it’s hard to imagine having so much money, one can’t even count it all.

Here’s a few of the richest men in history, with their worth adjusted for inflation:

 John D. Rockefeller – $367 billion. Made his fortune in petroleum beginning in the 1860s.

 

Andrew Carnegie – $337 billion – Made his fortune in steel in the mid-1800s

Cornelius Vanderbilt – $202 billion – Made his fortune in the railroads and before that, steamships, also in the mid-1800s.

To their credit, Rockefeller and Carnegie were generous philanthropists who gave away much of their fortune to charitable causes. Vanderbilt, however, kept his fortune until he died and left 95% to a son, William, (one of thirteen children) and William’s four children. Bet there was some squabbling there from the other twelve, don’t you think? Yikes!

There are few men more wealthy today than Warren Buffet. Warren is special because his fortune began right here in my hometown of Omaha. He still lives in the same home he bought in 1958 in a modest, though very nice, neighborhood. Part of his charm is his thriftiness. I remember seeing him in our local grocery store buying a few cases of Coke (his beverage of choice) when it was on sale. Warren is worth $90 billion dollars and is listed by Forbes as the 3rd richest man in America, behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

His best pal and right-hand man is Charlie Munger. Together, they have made Berkshire-Hathaway into a world-renowned investment company with eye-popping success. Charlie is worth $2 billion.

I am fortunate to own some BH stock (not the good A stock, mind you, which is worth $315,000 (approximately) a share). Being a stockholder enables us to get into the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, which is also right here in Omaha, always the first weekend in May.

It is an EVENT, let me tell you. Besides commercial planes, private jets from around the world crowd our airport (about 110 private jets over the weekend.) Tens of thousands of people come to Omaha for the weekend to listen to Warren and Charlie give advice and talk about the year’s investments.  Not only are these guys entertaining and witty, they are SMART!!  They can quote percentages, stocks, companies and logic like men a fraction of their ages.  Oh, did I tell you Warren is 89 years old and Charlie is 95 years old?

My husband and I go to the shareholders meeting nearly every year just to breathe in the atmosphere. It’s fun, organized and INCREDIBLE to mingle with stockholders from so many countries.

One of the highlights of the weekend is the shopping. Literally thousands flow into our big convention center to snatch up BH companies’ products at special prices just for shareholders.  Dairy Queen ice cream treats and Coca-Cola are favorites!

Here’s a few fun pictures:

With “Warren” at the Pampered Chef exhibit

A luxury sports boat with leather everywhere

A special price for said luxury boat just for shareholders–$125,611.00.  A bargain!

Warren Clothing

A juggler

Really running joggers at the cool Brooks Brothers exhibit

Press box for multiple media outlets eager to talk with and about Warren and Charlie!

Are you a Berkshire Hathaway stockholder?  Have you ever rubbed elbows with some really RICH people?  Do you like to dabble in money? What would you buy if you were super-rich? 

Super-Hero Charlie and Warren Rubber Duckies

Let’s chat!  I’m giving away some collector rubber duckies dressed as Super-Hero Charlie and Warren. I tell ya, people were buying these like crazy! A fun keepsake for a fun weekend!

Pam Crooks
Pam has written 24 romances, most of them historical westerns. She has just released her newest sweet historical romance, TRACE, the launch book for the Bachelors & Babies series starting in June, More of her books are coming! Stay up on the latest at www.pamcrooks.com
Updated: May 8, 2019 — 8:29 am

36 Comments

  1. I have to say that I have never rubbed elbows with the truly rich and famous. I am not sure I would want to. I do wish I was a shareholder. That looks like it would be fun.

    1. Good morning, Debra,

      There were people from all walks of life there. Very few were hoity-toity. You wouldn’t know if they were rich or not. LOL. We certainly aren’t!

  2. I have never heard of B&H until now. I don’t follow stocks or anything like that since I can’t afford to be part of them. If I was a millionaire, I would buy my own plane and travel. The closest I ever came to someone rich was when I was with my ex. He always read the society pages in the newspaper and knew what people looked like. We used to like to eat at a steak house in Dallas and they had a private back door that people could go through to sit in the back room. We liked it because it was near the bar and they had a tv over it and they had a nice private bathroom too. So, one night we were eating our dinner and he told me not to turn around, but in the booth behind us was Stanley Marcus (who owned Neiman Marcus). I thought that was exciting. I got a good look at him when we left.

    1. Oh,Janine, now that’s cool! Who hasn’t heard of Neiman Marcus? He was famous-and rich-, too!

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. You’re welcome! I wish I had the nerve to at least say hello to him. Of course that store is the most intimidating store I have ever been in. I used to go in and have lunch with a friend who worked in the restaurant and people would look at me knowing I didn’t belong there. But one time, my husband bought some perfume for me just because the saleslady didn’t want to help us assuming we wouldn’t buy anything. Really, I just wanted to look at the pretty bottle and see what it smelled like. But, my husband wanted to set an example and teach her not to judge people by how they look.

  3. Probably the closest I ever came to rubbing elbows with the “rich and famous” was when I worked at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum here in Oklahoma City. Every year, at their big awards presentation in April, there were all kinds of western actors and authors there. Then in June, they kick off their annual “Prix de West” art exhibition. The winner of that competition has their painting purchased by the museum. So I did get to meet a lot of entertainers, artists, and authors while I worked there those two years. My most fun story was when I met Dale Robertson. Mr. Robertson had a really huge ranch in a small town just outside of Oklahoma City. He was a big contributor to the museum and had donated a lot of his paraphernalia from his acting days for the Western Entertainers Gallery. When you came into the museum, after you paid, you could turn right down this long hallway that led to the galleries, and on either side of the hallway were HUGE portraits of western actors. But from time to time, they had to be taken down and cleaned, etc. During that time, they would be replaced with another portrait of someone else. Well, on the particular day Mr. Robertson came in, his portrait was GONE. I was on my way to the ladies room, and he said, “Excuse me, young lady.” When I turned around there he was! OMG–I was unprepared. LOLLOL “UH…” (I quickly recovered and said hello.) “I’d like to know where my portrait is.” I WAS prepared for that one, because I knew exactly where it was! “It’s in the basement.” (Probably not the best thing to say.) “I mean…they’re cleaning it, so it’s downstairs.” He smiled, and nodded, and said, “AH…I see. So, are they cleaning the guns I donated, too?” LOLLOL! He was witty, for sure. That was an interesting two years.

    I have never had money to play with. My dad dabbled in the stock market — and when I say DABBLED that’s what it was. He was not a risk taker, having been raised during the Great Depression here in the Dustbowl. Interesting post, Pam! I would be like you and your hubby–just get dressed up and go hobnob and see what’s going on!

    1. Dale Robertson!! Very cool. I’m so glad you knew the answer to his question, and I’d definitely ask where my portrait was, too, if I was him. Who can blame him?

      Great story, Cheryl! And you still remember him to this day, don’t you? Funny how those chance encounters stick with you, isn’t it?

  4. A fun post, Pam. I don’t own Berkshire Hathaway stock but I do have a Medicare Supplement policy from their company–Central States Indemnity. I felt safe in going with them because of Warren Buffet’s reputation and I trust him to do right. I have stock in quite a few companies and getting the link to vote in shareholder meetings makes me feel important. None are close enough to attend in person. Darn it! I’d sure go if they were.

    It’s fun to imagine what I’d do if I were suddenly rich. I’d donate a chunk, pick out a really, really good nursing home 🙂 , give some to my kids, and reinvest the rest. 🙂

    1. I agree, Linda. Warren is just so down-to-earth, you can’t help but trust him. I mean, what billionaire buys Coke when it’s on sale, right? That puts him down on my level. I grew up frugal, too, since my mom was, and I can just relate to him.

      You’d be a very sensible investor. Anyone who works hard for their money like you do deserves to put themselves first when it comes to their future. Nursing homes ain’t cheap, and you’re smart to make sure you set aside funds in case you need one.

      Thanks for stopping by, my dear.

  5. Great blog Pam. I guess Stephanie Jenkins Ortiz-Cerrillo and I can say we went to school with a man who is now a billionaire. His mom recently passed, she still lived in Stephenville, TX out hometown. His sister still resides there. I remember going over to his house playing as a child. I learned a great deal with this article.
    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO EVERYONE!

    1. How did he get to be a billionaire, Tonya? Sounds like he started out grassroots and worked his way up.

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!

    2. Avatar

      Our hometown boy that developed the ‘Cloud’ and now is into cybersecurity! Who knew he’d turn out to be the huge success he is!

      1. Wow! That IS huge! He must be a genius!

  6. No I’ve never rubbed elbows with the rich. If I was to become rich biggest thing I would do is pay off my house and buy a well needed new vehicle and continue to live just as I do now I just wouldn’t be in debt oh and I would make a nice contribution to St Jude Children Hospital

    1. I detest debt, too! When we were newly married and the babies started coming, I would rather live on mac and cheese and send more money to the bills than live more generously every day. I’d keep my eye on the pay-off dates, and oh, it was a happy day when I could see that zero balance.

      To this day, if I can’t pay cash for something, I don’t buy it.

      Great to hear from you, Glenda!

  7. I haven’t encountered the rich and famous but the post is fascinating and wonderful. I would buy a beach house getaway since I love the beach and relaxing there is the best destination.

    1. Excellent choice, Anne. Being rich entitles you to pleasure yourself. We have a lake cabin (small, mind you, and not fancy at all) but to just sit on the dock and gaze out over the peaceful water makes me feel like a million bucks. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Avatar

    I do not own any stock anymore, let’s just say life didn’t turn out as planned. My father was a well-known cattle broker before he retired and I had the pleasure of meeting many famous people over the years. One of my favs was Wilford Brimley. I walked into our downtown office after classes one day and was barely in the door when I heard a voice and said out loud, that’s “Wilford Brimley”, he just has one of those voices you know. Very down to earth funny man. Our hometown prodigy is most likely the wealthiest person I know, he developed the cloud and sold it for billions, he is now into cybersecurity and rocking that world.

    1. Wilford Brimley! Oh, that’s a name from the past. He did the Quaker Oats commercials!!! Did you talk to him?

  9. If I ever could meet a very rich individual it would be very interesting. Some are just like normal people. Here in town someone once told me that a man whom I did meet was very wealthy but how was I to know when he dressed and acted very modestly. If I had the money I would travel since that is very costly but fun too.

    1. That’s right, Ruth. They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like we do. It was that way at the shareholders meeting. The place was full of (many of them) ordinary looking people who just happened to invest wisely but don’t flaunt it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Avatar

    have never herd of B& H. my last name is Hathaway, so maybe they owe me something, lol no i have never rub elbows with the rich and famous, I have met a few celebrities,got an autograph, one time when i was waitressing at denny’s, a guy came in to eat late at night and said he was a big time ball player for the white sox, he could of been pulling my leg, as im not a big sports fan so i wouldn’t know one if they were in front of me, but we chatted about how my son at the time liked the white sox,s and asked if he would sign a napkin for him, I don’t remember if he did sign a napkin but i remember he left a crappy tip. lol

    1. LOL on the crappy tip! And when I saw your name, right away I thought of BH. What a coincidence.

  11. The Rich are different. I have heard that expression many times. It depends how they made their money, inherited, worked hard or have a legacy. Some are generous and some are cheap. I have experienced their habits. If I was very lucky to inherit money it would provide me with an escape which is for my health. A cottage at a beach or lake is all that is necessary.

    1. Very true, Sharon. I would think if someone made their money by working hard, saving it and studying how to make the best investments, they are likely to appreciate their wealth and not flaunt it.

      Hope you get that lake house/cottage some day, my dear. You never know….

  12. I once went to an engagement party and rubbed elbows with with some extremely wealthy and powerful people.

    1. And how did that make you feel? Were you comfortable? Intimidated? Were they snooty or friendly?

      🙂

  13. Pam, Thanks for the fun post! I’ve not been around those who are wealthy. If I wealthy, I would use it for the Kingdom.

    1. Forgive my ignorance, Caryl. I’m curious. What do you mean by kingdom?

  14. I’ve never rubbed shoulders with anyone super rich except I have met Robert Redford if he counts 🙂 On my 19th birthday, I was at his ski resort in Utah and in his restaurant and he happened to find out it was my birthday and he came over and signed my menu! He was super nice and yes, very handsome!!!!

  15. That totally counts, Valri!! Love this story – oh, my. Robert Redford. I had such a huge crush on him back in the day!!!

  16. For a while I was near the family circle of President Marcos. The teacher I living with while in the Peace Corps was the aunt of Marcos’ lawyer. The super rich really do live very different lives. I stayed as far as I could from the politics, but did attend some family events. The lawyer’s daughter married at the cathedral in Manila. I attended with the teacher. The wedding and reception were lovely. Much like the British Royals.

  17. What would I do with the money? Pay off our daughter’s student loans and some medical bills for families. There are several charities we support which would get large donations. We would spend some of the money on lots of traveling.

    1. Excellent plan, Patricia!

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    Pam Crooks, thank you for the blog. Who among us has not daydreamed about winning the lottery and what we would do. I have not had the pleasure (or privilege) to rub elbows with anyone rich or famous. To me, I am as good as they are. My husband was in the Army and a CO. As his wife I was frequently asked about meeting the General. Wan’t I nervous. What did I say. I think my answers will give you a laugh. What did I say? Well, I said hello. As to nervous or scared, I told them No, I wasn’t. How could that be, he was a General. I simply looked at them and said, “But he puts his pants on the same way I do every day.” Hope you got a laugh. Keep writing.

    1. Ha! Very true! You sound like a level-headed, practical person, Cricket. Meeting a general is a big deal, but you handled it perfectly. I’m sure you made your husband proud.

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