Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are among the richest men in the world. At number 4, Buffett’s net worth is $53.5 billion and Gates’, at number 2, is $67 billion. So, how does a 19-year-old college student with a net worth of only $1,000 find herself in the same room as these big-wigs? This is how:
Step #1: Become a shareholder
In 2009 I bought one share of Berkshire Hathaway B stock. As a shareholder, I receive an annual report with information on how to request passes to the annual shareholder meeting.
Step #2: Make flight and hotel arrangements
Reservations need to be made about a year in advance! While Omaha is a good sized city, the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting draws about 35,000 people to the city all at once. You may even want to make dinner reservations at Warren’s favorite steakhouse, Gorat’s.
Step #3: Get your annual meeting credentials
Attached to the proxy statement in the annual report is a perforated post card. Fill it out and send it in to receive your credentials. Each shareholder can get up to four passes.
Step #4: Attend the meeting and all events
The only way to be in the presence of these CEOs is to actually attend the meeting. There are special events for shareholder’s that include free food, free drinks, music and good company that last all weekend. Not to mention great deals on products from Berkshire Hathaway companies like See’s Candies, Brooks, Fruit of the Loom, GEICO and many more. The actual meeting may sound boring, but Buffett and his vice chairman, 89-year-old Charlie Munger, may as well be a comedy act. Bill Gates is on the Berkshire Hathaway board of directors so chances are you’ll see him sitting in the audience!
Step #5: Talk, talk, talk
If it’s your first shareholder meeting, talk to people who have been there before. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across someone who has been going for a decade who can tell you all their secrets like where Buffett will be selling jewelry or where he and Gates will challenge the olympic table tennis champion to a game. Who knows… maybe you’ll get to meet a billionaire! At the very least you’ll be able to snag a picture to prove that you got close.