Billionaire Charlie Munger, who passed away at 99, shared some of his wisdom on life in an interview with CNBC ahead of his birthday on January 1 next year. He also spoke about his bucket list and why he gave it up.
On bucket list and fishing
When asked about his bucket list, Munger seemed amused by the question, answering, “That’s an interesting question. I am so old and weak compared to when I was 96, that I no longer want to catch a 200-pound tuna, which is just too much work to get in, takes too much physical strength.”
“So I don’t, I would have paid any amount to catch a 200-pound tuna when I was younger. I never caught one. And now given the opportunity I would just decline going. I think you give up with time,” he added.
Predominantly known for his investment strategies, Munger in 2017 had shared an analogy between fishing and investing, as per a report by Business Insider. “I have a friend who says the first rule of fishing is to fish where the fish are. The second rule of fishing is to never forget the first rule. We’ve gotten good at fishing where the fish are.”
On unfair advantages and grabbing opportunities
When asked if he still lives a very active and social life, Munger told CNBC that’s what he considers old age. “I like it that way. That’s my idea of old age for me. I didn’t plan on it, it just happened. And when it happened I welcomed it.”
He added that his active lifestyle was due to “unfair advantages” that he recognises, stating, “I am very good at recognising unfair advantages and I got unfair advantages in old age the way I got an unfair advantage in non-old age. And when they came I just grabbed them boom, boom.”
On living lavishly
Munger said he eschewed a luxurious lifestyle, adding, “Warren (Buffett) and I both lived in the same house for decades after decades after decades. All our friends got richer and built better houses and we both considered building better houses too. I had a huge number of children and I still decided not to live a life where I look like the Duke of Westchester or something. I was going to avoid it. I did it on purpose.”
When asked why, Munger told CNBC, “I didn’t think it would be good for the children. You came from a rich family you think your duty is to use the wealth to live grandly. That’s what everybody else is doing with the money.”
On writing his own obituary
CNBC asked Munger about the advice he once gave Buffett – to write his obituary as he would like it to be read and then live his life fulfilling it. Munger said, “I’ve written my obituary the way I’ve led my life and if they want to ignore it, that’s okay with me, I’ll be dead what difference will it make? And do but I think it’s not a bad idea.”
He added that the obituary he would have written for himself when in his 30s was the same he’d write today. “I basically believe in the soldier-on system. Lots of hardships will come and you gotta handle them well by soldiering through, and a few rare opportunities will come, you have to learn how to recognise them when available. Those are simple life lessons,” he said.