Jimmy Buffett Is Now A Billionaire – Here’s How Long He’s Owned Berkshire Hathaway Stock

Colorful tropical sign for Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant
Shutterstock / Alexanderphoto7

Jimmy Buffett is widely known for his relaxing music, laid-back island lifestyle, and his successful brand, Margaritaville. But he is also a shrewd businessman with diverse interests beyond the music industry.

Buffett has ventured into several areas of business over the decades via his Margaritaville intellectual property empire, including restaurant chains, hotels and resorts, real estate development, and, of course, alcohol.

Those investments have paid off big time. According to Forbes, Buffett has amassed a billion dollar fortune since releasing his first album over 50 years ago.

The magazine estimates his current net is around $1 billion – a number the singer declined to comment on. But this marks the first time Buffett has made the magazine’s prestigious billionaire list. 

The key to Jimmy Buffett’s business success: Selling a lifestyle 

At the heart of Buffett’s business empire lies his music, which embodies a breezy, beach vacation-inspired ambiance. Jimmy’s music captures the carefree spirit of island living and nautical adventures, transporting listeners to a paradise filled with good times, eccentric characters, and endless possibilities, making him a beloved artist across generations. 

Forbes estimates his music pursuits – which include a dedicated Sirius XM channel, cash from decades of touring, and an expansive catalog of 52 albums – to be around $570 million of his overall net worth. 

As an entrepreneur, Buffett is a business school case study. He’s leveraged those beachy vibes into a brand with its tentacles in a little bit of everything, with legions of parrot heads ready to open their wallets for a taste of the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle.

Related: Warren Buffett’s ‘2 List Rule’ Will Change The Way You Look At Your Goals 

There are over 30 Margaritaville hotels and resorts, including locations in New York City, up and down the Florida coast, Palm Springs, and the Oregon wine country. There 150 Jimmmy Buffett-themed restaurants around the world, featuring his legendary “Cheeseburger In Paradise.”

The singer’s beer with AB InBev, Landshark beer and tropical punch, is nationally distributed. So is his signature Margaritaville tequila – made in partnership with Sazerac – along with ready-to-drink margaritas and cocktails (… lost shaker of salt not included).

He even has retirement communities, called Latitude Margaritaville, in Florida, Hilton Head, and a forthcoming one in Texas. 

In 1994, Buffett told Forbes that becoming a businessman was simply about having control over his life: “If you’re an artist, if you want to have control of your life… then you gotta be a businessman, like it or not. So the businessman evolved out of being an artist.”

Jimmy Buffett’s investments: Long on Warren Buffett

Of course, Jimmy Buffett isn’t the only business tycoon with the last name Buffett. Warren Buffett, the legendary Ohama businessman behind Berkshire Hathaway, told Forbes that he “wishes there were more Jimmy Buffetts in the world” and to “write him into his world.” 

The two took a 23andMe DNA test together in 2018 to see if they were related. The results came back negative.

Jimmy Buffett, meanwhile, has proudly held on to Berkshire Hathaway shares over the years, worth an estimated $496,000 per share as of this writing.

In April 2022, he told CNBC he bought Berkshire shares “25 years ago.” He added he “never sold anything” this whole time, while also joking that the 2018 test may have been a fluke. 

Related: The Reason Warren Buffett Isn’t Leaving His $200B Fortune To His Kids Actually Makes A Lot Of Sense

This means Buffett would have roughly bought Berkshire Hathaway shares in April 1997, when the stock price was around 37,700. Since then, the stock has 13x’d to nearly a half a million dollars. Roughly, a million dollar investment in 1997 would be worth almost $13 million today.

Forbes estimated that 1.9% of Buffett’s net worth is Berkshire Hathaway holdings, worth an estimated $19 million.

Planes and yachts compromise 7% of the singer’s net worth, at an estimated $73 million. Homes, an estimated $50 million.

“With a little love and luck you will get by”

Buffett’s career success hasn’t always been a breeze. To paraphrase his own song, it took a little love and luck to get by. 

In the beginning of Jimmy Buffett’s 1998 memoir, A Pirate Looks At 50, he reflected on his trajectory. He said that growing up, “parents, teachers, coaches, and guidance counselors bombarded me with the same question: ‘What are you going to do with your life?’

His answer:

“Live a pretty interesting one.”

“I have been called a lot of things in these fifty years on the good old planet Earth, but the thing I believe I am the most is lucky,” Buffett writes in the book. “I have always looked at life as a voyage, mostly wonderful, sometimes frightening. In my family and friends I have discovered treasure more valuable than gold. I have seen and done things that I read about as a kid. I have dodged many storms and bounced across the bottom on occasion, but so far Lady Luck and the stars by which I steer have kept me off the rocks. I have paid attention when I had to and have made more right tacks than wrong ones to end up at this moment–with a thousand ports of call behind me and, I hope, a thousand more to see. My voyage was never a well-conceived plan, nor will it ever be. I have made it up as I went along.”

Related: Warren Buffett’s First Ever TV Interview From 1985 Is Full Of Advice For New Investors

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.