Words of Wisdom From Warren Buffett

Jun 4, 2015   //   by Profitly   //   Profitly  //  Comments Off on Words of Wisdom From Warren Buffett

Here are Profit.ly we appreciate all forms of trading and investing. Warren Buffett is one of the most famous investors of all time, so we wanted to post his most recent note and some of the best quotes in it. You can read the note in its entirety by clicking here.

(Buffett’s review starts on page 24, while Vice Chairman Charlie Munger’s analysis begins on page 39.)

via onthemoneyradio.org

via onthemoneyradio.org

The blueprint [Munger] gave me was simple: Forget what you know about buying fair businesses at wonderful prices; instead, buy wonderful businesses at fair prices.

Even with Charlie’s blueprint, I have made plenty of mistakes since Waumbec. The most gruesome was Dexter Shoe. When we purchased the company in 1993, it had a terrific record and in no way looked to me like a cigar butt. Its competitive strengths, however, were soon to evaporate because of foreign competition. And I simply didn’t see that coming.

The reason for our conservatism, which may impress some people as extreme, is that it is entirely predictable that people will occasionally panic, but not at all predictable when this will happen. Though practically all days are relatively uneventful, tomorrow is always uncertain. (I felt no special apprehension on December 6, 1941 or September 10, 2001.) And if you can’t predict what tomorrow will bring, you must be prepared for whatever it does.

Periodically, financial markets will become divorced from reality – you can count on that. More Jimmy Lings will appear. They will look and sound authoritative. The press will hang on their every word. Bankers will fight for their business. What they are saying will recently have “worked.” Their early followers will be feeling very clever. Our suggestion: Whatever their line, never forget that 2+2 will always equal 4. And when someone tells you how old-fashioned that math is —- zip up your wallet, take a vacation and come back in a few years to buy stocks at cheap prices.

Post mortems of acquisitions, in which reality is honestly compared to the original projections, are rare in American boardrooms. They should instead be standard practice.

At a healthy business, cash is sometimes thought of as something to be minimized – as an unproductive asset that acts as a drag on such markers as return on equity. Cash, though, is to a business as oxygen is to an individual: never thought about when it is present, the only thing in mind when it is absent.

I believe the chance of any event causing Berkshire to experience financial problems is essentially zero. We will always be prepared for the thousand-year flood; in fact, if it occurs we will be selling life jackets to the unprepared.

Fortunately, the structure our future CEOs will need to be successful is firmly in place. The extraordinary delegation of authority now existing at Berkshire is the ideal antidote to bureaucracy. In an operating sense, Berkshire is not a giant company but rather a collection of large companies. At headquarters, we have never had a committee nor have we ever required our subsidiaries to submit budgets (though many use them as an important internal tool). We don’t have a legal office nor departments that other companies take for granted: human relations, public relations, investor relations, strategy, acquisitions, you name it.

We do, of course, have an active audit function; no sense being a dammed fool. To an unusual degree, however, we trust our managers to run their operations with a keen sense of stewardship. After all, they were doing exactly that before we acquired their businesses. With only occasional exceptions, furthermore, our trust produces better results than would be achieved by streams of directives, endless reviews and layers of bureaucracy. Charlie and I try to interact with our managers in a manner consistent with what we would wish for, if the positions were reversed.

And last but not least, he addressed the issue of finding a successor. They have always said they have a good plan if something were to happen to Mr. Buffett, but he added some more color:

Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO – a successor ready to assume the job the day after I die or step down. In certain important respects, this person will do a better job than I am doing.