Forbes: Jimmy Buffett’s Net Worth is $1 Billion

From Forbes: “Beach Bum Billionaire: How Jimmy Buffett Went From Margaritaville To Easy Street”

Every day is like a vacation for Jimmy Buffett. When Forbes met up with the singer-songwriter in December 2022, he was just back from the Bahamas. He’d soon jet off to St. Barts, the Caribbean paradise where he has had a home for 30 years. “We’ve seen all kinds of fun come and go on that little rock,” Buffett says.

His workdays might as well be leisure time, too. Buffett, 76, has built a career—and a ten-figure fortune—distilling carefree island vibes into hit songs, merchandise, a chain of restaurants, resorts, even gated communities. Those five decades in the sun have paid off: Forbes estimates Buffett’s current net worth to be $1 billion. (He declined to comment on his fortune.)

The party started in the early 1970s, when Buffett landed in Key West, Florida, after a few years in Nashville as a fledgling country musician. “The whole idea of having a brand or anything, that never occurred to me until I got to Key West,” Buffett told Forbes in December. On that tiny spit of sand, just 100 miles from Havana, he played local clubs and gradually forged his trademark tropical rock sound, combining folk, calypso, rock and pop to create an indelibly new genre.

His breakthrough came with the beachy, easy-living strains of his hit “Margaritaville,” from his 1977 album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. The LP went platinum that year, and “Margaritaville” became an anthem to his loyal fans, who call themselves Parrotheads. A 1984 licensing deal with Corona beer reinvigorated his radio airtime and helped boost the lager brand from 2% to 17% market share in imported brews in just four years.

That one store ultimately led to an empire that encompasses bestselling novels (such as 1989’s Tales from Margaritaville), a Broadway musical, the Mailboat Records label and an internet radio station. Three decades ago, he met John Cohlan—a former finance executive whose firm invested in a bunch of fast-food chains. Cohlan later became CEO of Margaritaville Holdings and transformed the venture into what is now a sprawling global licensing operation that brought in $2.2 billion in sales in 2022—not including Buffett’s $400 million (est. sales) booze business—according to a source close to the company.

The Margaritaville brand spans more than 30 vacation resorts scattered from Manhattan and Palm Springs to the Dominican Republic and Mexico. There are 150 Buffett-themed restaurants, both free-standing and inside the resorts across the U.S. and Caribbean, which serve “Who’s to Blame” margaritas and Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya. There are casinos in Louisiana and Puerto Rico, Margaritaville apparel and frozen-drink mixes, pool floats and pickleball sets. Then there are the separate alcohol partnerships: Landshark beer and tropical punch (with AB InBev), Margaritaville tequila and, of course, ready-to-drink margaritas and cocktails (both with Sazerac).

His newest ventures promise even more 24/7 Buffett fun: Two-night, three-day Caribbean cruises (“Margaritaville at Sea”) offer respite from the residential communities in Florida and South Carolina that thousands of Boomer Parrotheads now call home.

Documents reviewed by Forbes reveal Buffett holds a 28% stake in the licensing company that’s estimated to be worth $180 million, plus another $60 million from the tequila and beer business. The rest of his fortune comprises an estimated $570 million amassed over a lifetime of touring and record sales, a music catalog valued at $50 million and a $140 million collection of six homes, four planes and a yacht and shares in Berkshire Hathaway, the investment conglomerate run by Warren Buffett (despite the rumors, no relation). Not bad for the Pascagoula, Mississippi, native who comes from a family of crabbers and ship captains and who spent his early adulthood busking while in college and working briefly for music-industry bible Billboard.

23 thoughts on “Forbes: Jimmy Buffett’s Net Worth is $1 Billion

  1. Good for him. This shows anyone can make the life they want if they are willing to work for. Working barefoot Tuesdays,Thursdays and Saturdays has paid off. Not a bad life

    1. Hi Kirk – posting from San Diego CA. That is one GREAT post!!!! Fins up from one Parrothead to another from the West Coast!
      Sincerely, Joice

  2. Well deserved good Sir! I listen to his music while driving in asnowy rush hour traffic in Minnesota. It can transport me to different latitudes and better times!

  3. I’ve been an investor for years! 30 + shows,ts,CDs, his books, Mville tequilla, Landshark, backpacks, coolers, umbrella…much more. Wish buying stock would have been an optionin the 70s. I’ll settle for all of smiles and memories over the years. SEA you on the Summer tour!

  4. Good job, Jimmy!! Loved his music for years! I love it in my car, even though in Hickory, NC we don’t have the COLD like many places, the music transports me to “another time – another place!”

  5. I’m grateful for the life style Jimmy has inspired in my world. And to all of the Parrothead clubs accross the globe, we support the charity mission to help others. I feel confident that money isn’t everything to JB. It would be nice if shows weren’t so expensive. And hey, tshirts for the ladies, please. Been since St Somewhere tour.

  6. Looking forward to seeing Jimmy B/007! wow! Sheezam! Won’t be surprised when I sea JB actually heading to space! Live long and prosper. Keep paddle boarding! Gonna do your own stunts. Hope I can get the TV channel

  7. He’s one of my heroes. It’s nice to know that you can become a billionaire with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a keen artistic and business sense. He’s left so many who have questioned his talent in the dust over the years. Keep on keeping on Jimmy!

    1. Hi Jerry
      Not only is Jimmy one of my heroes, he’s also a nice guy! Like you Jerry. I see him surfing in Montauk every summer and he is an easy guy to talk to.
      I Had a chance to say hi to you at MOTB. Love your music. It was a pleasure meeting you and seeing you perform! Hope to see you next year in Tampa!

  8. Dear Ms Voytko,

    I am curious about the pie chart “Breaking Down Buffett’s Billion” that accompanies your recent article. Apparently, 56.8% of his billion dollars is “cash,” which is described as “an estimated $570 million amassed over a lifetime of touring and record sales.”

    Could someone at Forbes explain to me just how that is figured? Does that mean that all that money he had amassed is just sitting somewhere and has not be spent on any of the other items. such as home, yachts. boats. and investments? It  is simply sitting there?

    On the other hand, if that $5.7 million is simply a total amount that he has accumulated (and spent) over the past 50 years (and no longer has in his possession), then how can that be used to tally up into a Billion? More than half of that pie no longer exists.

    And what sort of savvy businessman just sits on a pile of cash?

    What am I missing?

  9. Good job, Bubba … spending and investing our money wisely. And I’m thankful that you’ve inspired a little of Travis McGee’s “incremental retirement” as well. Spend it while you can … Fins Up!

  10. Agreed Robin! Tom Corcoran, number 1. Chip Bell, of course, JBs books will enlighten all new parrotheads of who Jimmy may or may not be…I suggest, Where’s joe Merchant. you then begin the Buffett journey to Margaritaville. Songs come to life…keep reading though until you get to Salty Piece of Land. Also though, A Good Life all the Way and The Key West Years. Sea ya all soon at the tailgate. Finzup

  11. Great for JB! He is the reason this Parrothead flocked from Texas to Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach, Florida and he will be the reason I will flock back to Texas next year. Fins Up!!!🍹🦜🌴🦈

  12. Acknowledged. Cool. Time to get back to work JB. Schoolin around looks like a fine introduction to seaing your parrotheads again. Thanx in advance for wherever you might play this summer. I’m willing to travel. Wish I had a slice of your pie though for a great seat.

  13. Can’t wait to get my Second Wind T-shirt. Please, design for the ladies. Kick it in JB. Let’s get the Summer tour date out. I’ll be traveling,for sure. Usually, train, rent a car, lodging. Can hardly wait! Hope ur well rested. In tropical waters away from it all….yup. so do a show and let us embrace you🌴🎶🦜

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