Charlie Munger Biography

(Investor, Businessman and Vice Chairman of ‘Berkshire Hathaway’)

Birthday: January 1, 1924 (Capricorn)

Born In: Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Charles Thomas Munger was a business owner, investor, former real estate lawyer, and philanthropist from America, who  served as the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett. According to Buffett, Munger was his partner. Between 1984 and 2011, he was the chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation. He also served as the chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, California, as well as a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation. Originally from Nebraska, he was employed at the Buffett & Son grocery store as a teenager. He was a student of the University of Michigan, California Institute of Technology, and several other colleges before enrolling at Harvard to study law. During World War II, he did his military service with the US Army Air Corps. After his relocation to California, he was employed at a law firm before setting up his own firm. He later quit law and ventured into real estate development. He got his start as an investor in the early 1960s and was mostly known for his association with Buffett.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Charlie Thomas Munger

Died At Age: 99


Spouse/Ex-: Nancy Barry (m. 1956–2010), Nancy Huggins (m. 1945–1953)

father: Alfred C. Munger

mother: Florence Munger

siblings: Carol Munger, Mary Munger

children: Barry A. Munger, Charles T. Munger, Emilie Munger Ogden, Jr., Molly Munger, Philip R. Munger, Wendy Munger

Born Country: United States

Billionaires Investors

Died on: November 28, 2023

place of death: Santa Barbara, California, United States

U.S. State: Nebraska

City: Omaha, Nebraska

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education: Harvard University, University Of Michigan, California Institute Of Technology

Childhood & Early Life

Charlie Munger was born on January 1, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, to  Florence Munger and Alfred C. Munger. When he was a teenager, he was employed at Buffett & Son, a grocery store of which Buffett's grandfather was the owner.

He studied mathematics at the University of Michigan. He quit school on his 19th birthday in early 1943, and joined the US Army Air Corps. Despite not having a college degree, he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant.

He served during World War II. Munger pursued a degree in meteorology at Caltech in Pasadena, California, the city which would later become his home.

While Munger attended several universities for various advanced courses, he never obtained an undergraduate degree. This proved to be a problem when he attempted to enrol at the Harvard Law School.

Eventually, with the help of Roscoe Pound, a former dean of Harvard Law and a Munger family friend, he got into the university. He performed superlatively there and graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. in 1948.

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According to Charlie Munger, during his time in college and the army, he learned a very important skill, playing cards. After his relocation to California with his family, he got a job at a law firm named Wright & Garrett (later Musick, Peeler & Garrett).

In 1962, he became a founding partner of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where he served as a real estate attorney.

He and Jack Wheeler established the investment firm Wheeler, Munger, and Company, which was listed on the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange. After the firm accumulated losses of 32% in 1973 and 31% in 1974, he was forced to wind it up in 1976.

Between 1962 and 1975, he operated an investment partnership of his own. In the essay ‘The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville’, published in 1984, Buffet wrote that the compound annual returns of Munger’s investment partnership were of 19.8% during the 1962–75 period compared to the 5.0% annual appreciation rate for the Dow.

Munger and Buffett met through a mutual contact in 1959 in Omaha, Nebraska, where they had dinner together, along with their wives, at Johnny’s Cafe. The men quickly connected and realised that they both had been employed as teenagers by Buffett’s grandfather at his grocery store. They never met at the time, as Munger is six years older than the other man.

In 1978, he was appointed the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, where he and Buffett have worked together ever since. He is often referred to as Buffett’s “right-hand man”. Buffett himself regards him as his partner.

From 1984 to 2011, he served as the CEO and chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation, which is now a fully owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Headquartered in Pasadena, it was active in three primary categories: insurance, furniture rental, and steel service.

Alongside being the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, he also served as the chairman of Daily Journal Corporation and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation.

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Family & Personal Life

Charlie Munger was married to his first wife, Nancy Huggins, from 1945 to 1953. They had three children: Wendy, Molly, and Teddy. Teddy died of leukaemia at the age of nine.

Munger exchanged wedding vows with Nancy Barry in 1956. They were married until her death on February 6, 2010. They had four children: Charles T. Munger Jr., Emilie Munger Ogden, Barry A. Munger, and Philip R. Munger. Munger also helped Barry in raising her two sons from her previous marriage: William Harold Borthwick and David Borthwick.

Charlie Munger died on November 28, 2023, at the age of 99. at a hospital in Santa Barbara, California.

Philanthropic Activities

Charlie Munger was a major donor to the University of Michigan, his former school. For over 40 years, he served as a trustee of the Harvard-Westlake School.

In October 2014, he made a donation of $65 million to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In March 2016, he donated a further $200 million to the institution.

See the events in life of Charlie Munger in Chronological Order

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