“A man is not a plan. Women should not count on a man to take care of them. They should educate themselves in something they love doing, become financially self-sufficient and plan for their future.”
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mary Buffett, a best-selling author, international speaker, entrepreneur, political and environmental activist who advocates women’s self-empowerment through financial investment. Ms. Buffett is regularly sought after by American and International media as an expert finance commentator. Having worked as a freelance consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies such as AOL Time Warner, Ms. Buffett was previously an executive at Columbia Records and worked with some of the music industry’s biggest names as co-founder of her own music and editorial post-production companies, Independent Sound and Superior Assembly.
What is your “backstory”?
My backstory is that I started when I was very young in the music business and not finance. As a singer/songwriter I quickly learned the business of music. I had a keen sense of business and although I love singing and writing which I did throughout my career, I could see that the real money was in publishing.
I became interested in the world of finance much later after I had married Peter, the son of Warren Buffett. I started by managing Peter’s career, was continuing to sing with other producers and started a company with Peter writing music for commercials and eventually films. I even did one of the first music video’s of the song “My Boyfriends Back” which went on MTV in the early days. Peter wrote some of the music for their original commercials and we were very successful in the San Francisco bay area. Individually and as partners, in our music and recording studio.
After our divorce, I moved back to Los Angeles and worked as a consultant to several companies before I started my own, which was a film editing company for video’s, commercials and films with some of the great directors of our time David Fincher, Michael Bay and the like.
I am also the proud mother of 3 successful children.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
After my divorce from Peter Buffett lots of agents wanted me to write a tell-all book about what went on within the Buffett family because so little was known about Warren and Susie at the time. I thought the most interesting thing people would want to read about would be how Warren made his billions. Being single I was sure there were many other women in my position so I decided to write a smart book about how to make money.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have been speaking internationally on Value Investing, women’s empowerment and financial literacy for children. I recently completed a new book and am working on a series of books and videos on finance.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem; they were all pioneers of the feminist movement in the sixties and they inspired me to become a life long political and social activist.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?
Irrational Man by William Barrett. It discusses the roots of Existentialism in famous thinkers, authors, music and art.
The Seven Stairs by Stuart Brent. It’s a love story about his love of literature and how he became Chicago’s premier bookseller.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s an incredible love story about two people that overcame every obstacle to be together.
How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?
My writing makes it easier for the average person to understand how to save money and invest it properly for the long term so they can grow their financial nest egg for the future. I also want to give women the confidence that they can begin investing early and not have to depend on men for their financial security.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?
Write about something you really enjoy or something you are expert at that you want to share. You must be disciplined and focused on your goals and be open to the suggestions presented by your editor.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My success has given me a public platform to support many causes I believe in such as civil rights, women’s rights, world hunger and clean water.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. That I would learn more from failure than from success. Failure is painful and you can’t let it defeat you. You are forced to examine why the failure occurred and learn not to repeat the same mistakes.
2. Pick someone you admire and someone you don’t and try to emulate the one you admire. For instance the person you admire most likely will be honest, hard working and have integrity. The person you don’t admire might be lazy, take credit for the work of others and be dishonest.
3. A man is not a plan. Women should not count on a man to take care of them. They should educate themselves in something they love doing, become financially self-sufficient and plan for their future.
4. Make saving money a habit. Don’t let “things” define you. Cars, clothes, designer labels are fleeting. Saving a minimum of 10% of gross income for investments will serve you better in the long term.
5. Enjoy the ride. Not everyday will be sunny, not every review will be kind. I tell all of my children even if all of my book sales dried up I would still have the love of my family and friends, and that’s what really matters in the end.
6. Stay out of the sun!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Rachel Maddow. She is one of the best in the news business. Brilliant, funny, respected by her peers…I could go and on. I want to know the news she couldn’t put on air!
Originally published at medium.com