Thursday, December 18, 2008

Whine at the Buffett

What's it like when your grandpa is the richest man in the world? For Nicole Buffett, it means forgoing cable TV and health insurance and making do on $40,000 a year. Here, she dishes on her upbringing and why her grandfather Warren Buffett disowned her.

Forgive me if I have a hard time mustering up sympathy for an adult who isn't getting coin from their rich relatives.

Committed to instilling those homespun values in his grandkids, Buffett agreed to pay for their college educations — and nothing more. He picked up the six-figure tab for Nicole's art school tuition. Once, Nicole called her grandfather's office to ask if he'd help her buy a futon when she moved to an off-campus apartment. "You know what the rules are: school expenses only," his secretary told her.

Grandpa gave her a "six-figure" college education which is more than most of the population gets from their family to go to school...and while we're at it, if she was so concerned about money...why not study something that's going to make you some money?
...Meanwhile, she makes a living off of her art, which is more than a lot of artists can boast.
I'm sure that her surname doesn't hurt her where interest in her pieces are concerned.

The perceived sense of entitlement and Nicole's self-appointed role as family spokesperson prompted Buffett to tell Peter that he'd renounce her. A month later, the mega-billionaire mailed Nicole a letter in which he cautioned her about the pitfalls of the Buffett name: "People will react to you based on that 'fact' rather than who you are or what you have accomplished." He punctuated the letter by declaring, "I have not emotionally or legally adopted you as a grandchild, nor have the rest of my family adopted you as a niece or a cousin." Nicole was devastated. "He signed the letter 'Warren,'" she says. "I have a card from him just a year earlier that's signed 'Grandpa.'"

Yeah, because the best way to endear ourselves to the cash holder with the moneybags in the family is to slag them in the press.

I smell an expose book deal.

P.S.: Here's Nicole's website. You tell me if it's worth 6 figures.