1. She's got a lemonade stand

retro girl wearing sunglasses with lemonade stand
Michael C. Gray / Shutterstock

Warren Buffett was a born entrepreneur. He was 5 years old when he started selling Chiclets gum to kids in his neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska.

When he was 6, he bought six-packs of Coca-Cola for a quarter, then sold the individual bottles for a nickel each — making 5 cents' profit each time.

A few years later, he was buying used golf balls and reselling them at a markup.

When Buffett had a lemonade stand, he decided against putting it in front of his own house. Instead, he set up shop outside a friend's house, because that area got more foot traffic.

2. He prefers books about wealth to the Wimpy Kid

Cute little boy reading book in the library
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OK, maybe this one is pretty obvious, but if your kid's favorite books are about making money, that's a pretty strong clue that he could be on Warren Buffett's trajectory.

When Buffett was just 7 years old, he latched onto a book he found at the library called One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000.

He was fascinated by the book's lessons about how money can grow, particularly if you start early enough. He vowed that if he didn't become a millionaire by 30, he'd jump off the tallest building in Omaha. (Fortunately, he made it!)

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3. She loves junk food

Surprised little girl
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Warren Buffett is a regular at McDonald's and Dairy Queen, and his diet consists largely of Coca-Cola and snacks you'd find in a vending machine.

It might never be described as healthy, especially not for an 80-something billionaire. But Buffett argues that, statistically speaking, 6-year-olds have the lowest mortality rate. So he follows a diet that he presumes a 6-year-old would eat.

Unlikely business decisions are often made after careful consideration of facts.

4. He's really serious about his hobbies

Adorable kid playing on his table with watercolors, painting a wooden parts of his airplane wooden toy. He is young designer with many ideas waiting to be found. Very shallow depth of field.
Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

Kids might like to play with toy trucks, but how many really dive deep into a hobby like that and fixate on becoming a mechanic or automotive engineer when they grow up?

Warren Buffett loved the stock market and money from a young age, and his pastime became more of a passion as he grew.

He bought his first stock when he was 11. He was investing in real estate by age 14, when he bought a 40-acre farm with profits he made delivering newspapers.

5. She's crazy about numbers

Portrait of lovely girl doing sums on transparent board with two schoolmates on background
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Buffett was enamored with numbers as a child. He gave himself a caption in his high school yearbook that said, in part, "likes math."

It wasn't just math: He liked statistics, too. While all of his friends were memorizing facts about athletes and drawing comic book characters, he chose to memorize the populations of various cities.

His familiarity with numbers and statistics has helped Buffett understand shifts in the stock market.

6. He handles rejection well

Handsome toddler child with green eyes doubt expression, confuse and wonder concept, uncertain future shrugging shoulders over blue background
Aaron Amat / Shutterstock

Before the age of 18, Warren Buffett was running several businesses and could have reasonably skipped college, since he already seemed to be on his way to great success.

But his dad persuaded him to enroll. And, after spending time at two different colleges, Buffett got his bachelor's degree. Then, he applied at Harvard.

Despite all of his academic and financial success by that time, he was rejected. He ended up at the Columbia School of Business, where one of his favorite authors became his professor.

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7. She realizes it's OK to fail

Ice skating concept - young woman sitting on the ice rink after falling down and hurting her knee
l i g h t p o e t / Shutterstock

Buffett ran a lot of businesses before he graduated from high school. He delivered newspapers and magazines, sold stamps to collectors, buffed cars, and put pinball machines in barber shops.

Several of these endeavors failed quite quickly. Some were just ideas that couldn't be fully executed. And one — a brief attempt at selling betting tips on horse races — wasn't quite legal.

Still, none of the misfires stopped him from launching his next business. Buffett developed an admirable resilience.

8. He has self-discipline

Determined young boy trying to lift a heavy weight bar
Brocreative / Shutterstock

Believe it or not, by age 13 Buffett's various ventures and investments were earning him a weekly income that was higher than that of his teachers.

It would have been easy for a teenager to become haughty in that situation, but Buffett was always very grounded.

After losing money on what he later said was an "emotional" horse racing bet, he promised himself he'd never make a financial decision with his heart again.

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Then, when your child becomes an adult, they'll be able to take over the account and start using the lessons you've taught them.

9. She values wise advice from others

Portrait of a young girl in school at the desk. Horizontal Shot. She is looking and listening at her teacher attentively.
Milles Studio / Shutterstock

While many look to Warren Buffett for financial advice today, he has made no bones about the fact that he often relies on the good advice of others himself.

Though Buffett considered skipping college altogether, he followed his father's advice and continued his education. At Columbia, he met two professors who greatly shaped his investment style.

One of them, Benjamin Graham, wrote a book called The Intelligent Investor, which served as a guideline for Buffett's approach to investing. He has called it "by far the best book about investing ever written."

10. He's a penny pincher

Young boy build a tower by coins. The concept of children's economic education.
Vitali Michkou / Shutterstock

Despite being uber-wealthy, Warren Buffett lives a lot like an average, middle-class American. He does not live in a mansion, and he avoids wasting money on status symbols like fancy cars and private jets.

According to popular folklore, Buffett has always been a conservative spender. He graduated high school with $5,000 in savings — about $57,000 in today's money — and he did not blow any of that on expensive hobbies.

Children who are already developing frugal habits will be more likely to carry them over into adulthood, giving them more savings and income to use to grow their wealth.

Kids can hone their penny-pinching ways early with Greenlight, a debit card for children that parents manage through an app. You can assign chores, create savings goals and set parent-paid interest rates while restricting where your child can spend their money. Tracking progress toward a specific goal will be fun for the value-minded kids out there.

Use our calculator and see how quickly you could save $5,000 — or $500,000.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman


Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNBC.com and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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