Omaha, Neb. — Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting is an opportunity for shareholders and their family members to absorb first-hand the wisdom of Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.
Together, the two have created an empire worth nearly $500 billion. And as they get older, some shareholders say they want to make sure they have that in-person experience before it's too late.
"They are in their 80s and 90s and I wanted to see them before they retired," said Peng Chen, a 36-year-old man from Vancouver, who attended the so-called Woodstock for Capitalists for the first time this year.
The two men have had several books written about their approach to investing. Over the years, investors have tried to apply those teachings into their own portfolios.
Buffett turns 88 in August and Munger turned 94 in January. They have been working together about 40 years, when Buffett's Berkshire bought Wesco Financial, a company that was run by Munger. According to Forbes, Buffett and Munger are worth $82.9 billion and $1.67 billion, respectively.
Attendance at Berkshire's annual meeting has also grown explosively over the years. In 1986, about 1,000 people were present at the meeting. Last year, approximately 42,000 people attended the event.
"My brothers and I come here every year. It's really a brothers' get together for us," said Ed Gutowski, a 70-year-old shareholder. "We like to listen to what Warren and Charlie have to say."
But talks of succession have also increased with the passing of time. Earlier this year, Buffett appointed Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain to the Berkshire Hathaway board as vice chairs, a position that would suggest they are at least in the running to take the reins.
"I told my friend [before the meeting], you should come soon because Warren and Charlie are getting up there in age," said Steve Schell, a longtime Berkshire shareholder in his 60s.