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Billionaire dad leaves 3 remarkable lessons for children to hold on to till they're 100

Charlie Munger, having learned much in the 99 years of his life, shared his wisdom with his children.

Billionaire dad leaves 3 remarkable lessons for children to hold on to till they're 100
Cover Image Source: American billionaire investor Charles Munger poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, March 9, 1988. (Photo by Bonnie Schiffman/Getty Images)

Adults and seniors have invaluable wisdom to share that comes from their experiences and learnings. CNBC Make It shared billionaire Charlie Munger’s top 3 parenting lessons that he wanted his kids to hold on to till they were 100 years old. Munger passed away recently at the age of 99. “My children and grandchildren might not think exactly the way I do, but I hope they can observe my life as an example of how to be successful in their careers and relationships—just as I did with the generations before me,” Munger said. The first lesson Munger shared was one he had learned from his father.

Image Source: Charlie Munger at the book signing event| Getty Images| Mark Peterson/Corbis SABA
Image Source: Charlie Munger at the book signing event | Getty Images| Mark Peterson/Corbis SABA

“My father practiced law. One of his best friends, Grant McFayden, was a client.” Munger wrote. He explained that McFayden was a man with integrity and had all the right values. The billionaire then revealed that his father had another client who was the opposite. Munger described him as “pompous, unfair and difficult.” He then said, “One day, I asked my dad, ‘Why do you do so much work for Mr. X, this overreaching blowhard, instead of working more for wonderful men like Grant?’” “Grant treats his employees right, his customers right, and his problems right. He doesn’t have enough remunerative law business to keep you in Coca-Cola. But Mr. X is a walking minefield of wonderful legal business,” his father said.


Munger explained, “This conversation taught me that sometimes, you may have to sell your services to an unreasonable blowhard, especially if that’s what you must do to feed your family. But you want to run your own life like Grant McFayden.” He was highlighting the need to be a self-made, integrated person full of morale who raises one’s family with like-minded values. The next two lessons came from Munger’s children, Charles and Wendy. Charles shared the lesson, “Always return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.” Charles shared his story and said, “My dad and I were driving back in the snow when he took a detour to gas up the red Jeep we were driving.” He further pointed out that the family was pressed for time, but he noticed his father still took time to get gas even though they had plenty.


On inquiring, Munger told his son, “Charlie, when you borrow a man’s car, you always return it with a full tank of gas.” Charlie revealed that he followed his father’s advice when he went to college and borrowed a friend’s car. “I topped up the tank before I brought the car back. He noticed. We’ve had many good times since, and he was a groomsman at my wedding. My dad never skipped a point of fairness and consideration. His example taught me how to get a good friend — and how to keep one.” Wendy then revealed the next lesson, “Never hide your mistakes.”

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She shared how her father would tell ethical and moral stories during dinner and shared one of them. “I remember a story he told us about a financial officer who made a mistake that resulted in the loss. Once he realized his mistake, he went directly to the president of the company and told him about it.” Shen then revealed that the president was glad that the officer owned up to their mistake and how he saved himself from losing his job just by being honest. “I always remember this story every time I hear of yet another government official who chose to cover up their mistake instead of being honest and leading with integrity,” Wendy concluded.


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