Warren Buffett's salary has been $100,000 a year for over 4 decades. Take a look at the billionaire investor's unique compensation.

Berkshire Hathaway has spent roughly triple Buffett's salary on his personal and home security each year, or about $5 million in total since 2008.

Warren Buffett's salary has been $100,000 a year for over 4 decades. Take a look at the billionaire investor's unique compensation.

Warren Buffett is an investing icon, the boss of Berkshire Hathaway, and one of the richest people on the planet. Yet he earns a modest annual salary of $100,000  — and hasn't seen a pay rise in over 40 years, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show.

As Berkshire's CEO and chairman, Buffett recommends to his board of directors how much he should be paid, and decides the rest of the executives' compensation. The 92-year-old has received $100,000 a year since 1980 — a fraction of the $18 million average pay of S&P 500 CEOs in 2021.

Warren Buffett's luck changed in 2022. After years of battling to find bargains and watching Berkshire Hathaway's cash stack up, the famed investor seized his chance to put his conglomerate's mountain of money to work.

Buffett spent a record sum on stocks, executed a major acquisition, and made some striking changes to his overseas bets. He also crowed about four of Berkshire's key holdings in his yearly letter, trashed bitcoin at the annual shareholders' meeting, and made a surprise donation to his children's charities.

Buffett published his famous annual letter to Berkshire shareholders in February.

The investor vented his frustration with Berkshire's mammoth $144 billion cash pile, blaming a lack of bargains in the stock market. He also celebrated the "Four Giants" among Berkshire's businesses: insurance, railroads, energy, and its enormous Apple stake.

Moreover, Buffett appeared to respond to criticism of his tax practices by noting Berkshire paid $3.3 billion of federal income tax in 2021 — nearly 1% of all the corporate income taxes collected by the US government that year.

Here's a roundup of the best quotes from Buffett's letter, and here are the key insights it contained.

Buffett struck a deal to buy Alleghany for nearly $12 billion in March. Berkshire completed its takeover of the insurer in October, ending a years-long drought on the acquisition front.

The investor showcased his trademark approach to dealmaking, which prizes trust and simplicity. He proposed the merger over dinner with Alleghany's CEO, who previously ran a Berkshire subsidiary, and the pair formally announced a deal less than two weeks later.

Buffet also refused to budge on the deal terms, and when Alleghany enlisted Goldman Sachs as a financial advisor, he insisted the investment bank's fee was subtracted from Berkshire's offer price.

Berkshire plowed a net $41 billion into stocks in the first quarter of 2022, setting a new record for its quarterly spending on equities.

Buffett and his team built large stakes in HP, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Citigroup, Paramount, and Taiwan Semiconductor in the first nine months of 2022. Berkshire also spent over $5 billion on buybacks and made other sizeable purchases, lifting its spending on stocks and acquisitions for the year to an astounding $70 billion or so.

Buffett hosted Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in April, after two years of virtual gatherings due to the pandemic.

The investor called out the reckless speculation in the stock market, underlined the grave threat posed by inflation, and declared he wouldn't pay $25 for all the bitcoin in the world.

Here's a roundup of the best quotes from the meeting, and here are the key takeaways. Insider also visited Berkshire's "Bazaar of Bargains," and interviewed several CEOs of subsidiaries, including See's Candies' Pat Egan, Dairy Queen's Troy Bader, Brooks Runnings' Jim Weber, Borsheims' Karen Goracke, and Cort's Jeff Pederson.

Buffett made some big moves in 2022 that deserve special attention. For example, he poured a total of about $30 billion into Chevron and Occidental, propelling the pair of oil-and-gas companies onto the list of Berkshire's most-valuable holdings.

The investor and his team also revealed in November they had boosted their billion-dollar bets on Japan's five largest trading houses.

In contrast, they sold BYD shares for the first time in 14 years. Berkshire has now slashed its position in the Chinese electric-vehicle maker by around 22%, and pocketed an estimated $1.2 billion profit from the disposals.

Buffett made his usual annual donation of Berkshire stock in June, dividing the $4 billion gift between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four of his family's charities.

Unexpectedly, he contributed a further $759 million worth of Berkshire stock to his three children's foundations for Thanksgiving, saying he was proud of their charitable work and wanted to show his appreciation.

Buffett doesn't earn much from other sources either. He netted double his salary in annual directors' fees in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he resigned as a director of The Washington Post Company and stepped down from other corporate boards.

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The highest annual compensation he's ever received at Berkshire was $525,000 in 2010, comprising his $100,000 salary, $75,000 in directors' fees, and $350,000 allocated to his security costs.

Berkshire spends far more on Buffett's personal and home security than it pays him directly. Keeping the boss safe has cost the company roughly $300,000 a year since 2008, or about $5 million in total.

Buffett isn't in desperate need of a big salary. He owns roughly $100 billion of Berkshire stock — which he's gradually giving away — and doesn't spend much: he lives in a modest family home, drives a basic car, and eats breakfast at McDonald's.

The investor also doesn't use a company car, belong to any clubs where Berkshire pays his dues, or commandeer company-owned aircraft for his personal use.

Buffett shared his views on salaries at Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting in 2017, when he was asked how much his successor would be paid. He expressed hope that the next CEO would already be rich, and wouldn't be motivated to earn 10 or 100 times the money their family needs to live on.

"They might even wish to, perhaps, set an example by engaging for something far lower than, actually, what you can say their true market value is," he continued, adding it would be "terrific" if that was the case.

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Buffett is a firm believer that CEOs should be incentivized to deliver long-term success for their companies. He believes massive annual salaries, bonuses, and short-term stock options encourage short-term thinking.

Charlie Munger — Buffett's right-hand-man and Berkshire's vice-chairman — has followed Buffett's example. He's also received an annual salary of $100,000 for several decades now, SEC filings show.

In contrast, Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, who head up Berkshire's insurance and non-insurance divisions respectively, are paid far more handsomely. Both men have earned a $16 million salary and a $3 million bonus in each of the past three years. Notably, Buffett has named Abel as his planned successor as Berkshire CEO.

Finally, Berkshire's finance chief, Marc Hamburg, has seen his salary grow from about $300,000 in 1996 to $3.3 million in 2021.

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