How Much Warren Buffett Would Have To Spend Per Day To Go Broke

Regardless of your opinion about billionaires in general, you could probably find plenty worse than business magnate and Berkshire Hathaway big dog Warren Buffett. In fact, Biography even lists his profession as 'philantrophist.' Sure, the "Oracle of Omaha" sits on top of a vast conglomerate, and he's a huge deal in the investor circles and one of the world's richest men, so he has presumably stepped on at least some toes along the way. On the other hand, as Business Insider tells us, if you forget his whole "Third-richest person on the Forbes list of billionaires, who arranged his life around money since he was ten years old" aesthetic, he comes across as a pretty down-to-earth dude: He's a self-made man who eats McDonald's and drinks way too much Coca-Cola, enjoys a game of bridge and some quiet reading, and lives relatively frugally.

Oh, and he's a founding member of the Giving Pledge initiative, which "asks the world's wealthiest people to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy." Never one to avoid practicing what he preaches, he has given somewhere around $28 billion to charity between the years 2006 and 2017 alone. In fact, Buffett has promised to give away over 99% of his fortune. How much, would you think, he'd have to give away every day to achieve this?

Warren Buffett would have to spend an unbelievable amount of money every day to go broke

Warren Buffett's net worth in late 2019 is $87.2 billion, and he's 89 years old. For the sake of an argument (and also because it's probably safe to assume a guy with his budget has access to the kind of super medical care mere mortals can only dream about), let's assume that he wants to celebrate his 100th birthday by going broke, and that he starts his mission on his 90th birthday, which is on August 30, 2020. Let's also assume that this would give him a full decade to achieve his goal of extreme poverty, which allowing for leap years 2024 and 2028 would give him exactly 3652 days to get rid of his $87.2 billion. Good luck coming up with charitable causes, Mr. Buffett — you would have to give away a little under $23.88 million every single day to go broke in ten years.

While spending $23.88 million a day seems enough to make just about anyone go broke sooner or later, it must be pointed out that Buffett might not even notice the dent in his bank account if he didn't magically stop earning more money. As Business Insider tells us, the man has had years when he has made a ridiculous $37 million per day, which means that even if he rigorously spends his $23.88 million, without stopping his incoming cash flow he might actually end up earning $13.12 million a day.

What could $23.88 million buy Warren Buffett every day?

It's not entirely unreasonable to think that if Warren Buffett felt like giving away his possessions in daily chunks, he'd probably just pick whatever foundation or charity he feels like supporting that particular day and throw a $23.88 million check at them. Maybe he'd even get creative every once in a while. For instance, the United States Census Bureau reports that based on the year 2018, the average median household income in the U.S. is $61,937. Buffett could pay that to 385 random families every single day, and still have a five-figure sum left to buy Coca-Cola or whatever. Hey, speaking of Coke: If the Oracle of Omaha decided to go all in with his favorite drink — like, maybe fill his swimming pool with it — his daily spending budget could buy him a very respectable amount of the stuff. Expatistan estimates the average prize of a two-liter (67.6-ounce) bottle of Coke in Omaha at $1.80, so Buffett's $23.88 million could buy him a ridiculous 13,266,666 of them. 

What does Warren Buffett actually spend his money on?

Of course, as Business Insider notes, it's unlikely that we'll ever witness Warren Buffett walk home from the grocery store with a convoy of Coke trucks snaking after him. For one of the richest people in the world, he leads a famously frugal existence, and apart from the billions of dollars he gives to charity he doesn't really appear to spend much money at all — or even value the concept of money, at least as a measuring stick of a person's success. "I measure success by how many people love me," he says. "And the best way to be loved is to be lovable."