Warren Buffett, the second richest American and chairman of $250 billion conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) paid Bill Gates a meager $1,800 in board fees for his service to Berkshire in 2012, according to an SEC filing. Compare that with the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) co-founder's net worth of $67 billion. That means his fee as a board member of Berkshire Hathaway was 0.000003 percent of his net worth.
Bill Gates' fee is still lower than an average American family's net worth of $80,000. Of course, Mr. Gates isn't doing it for the money. Warren Buffett has pledged to donate most of his assets to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett and Gates are longtime friends.
As for Warren Buffett himself, the Oracle of Omaha received a salary of $100,000 in 2012, unchanged for over 30 years. Of which, Buffett reimburses $50,000 to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) for “minor items such as postage or phone calls that are personal.” Berkshire board members were paid between $1,800 and $5,800 in fees for 2012. The average board fee for S&P 500 companies was $241,000 in 2011, according to Equilar, an executive compensation firm.
Buffett's total compensation for the last year was $423,923, far less than what the chief executives of other high-profile companies receive. Of that, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) spent $323,923 on Buffett's security. The security expenses were lower than in 2011. Last year, Buffett didn't earn the director's fee from Washington Post Co. that caused a 14 percent decline in his total compensation. Berkshire has a large stake in Washington Post Co., so the board fee was counted towards Buffett's compensation from Berkshire. Buffett, whose net worth is estimated to be $53.5 billion get a vast majority of his income from his investment portfolio.
Warren Buffett's longtime friends and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) vice chairman Charlie Munger, too, received a salary of $100,000. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chief financial officer Marc Hamburg earned a salary of $1.03 million, up 6 percent from 2011. Marc Hamburg's total compensation was $1.04 million, according to the filing.