Warren Buffett has become one of the most revered and respected investors and philanthropists in the country. He has a long and successful career at Berkshire Hathaway to back up his reputation and he continues to make money for himself and his investors.
Mr. Buffett is also well respected outside of the financial world for his philanthropy and dedication to giving back and providing funds to helpful organizations around the US and the world. He frequently works with Bill Gates and other like-minded philanthropists in the US.
Over the weekend, Buffett released his yearly letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. In it he discussed a number of topics of interest to his audience. Of course, unless you’re involved in Berkshire Hathaway or are a shareholder yourself, it probably isn’t worth a full read. However, there are bits of Buffett’s wisdom sprinkled throughout. Here are some quotes from his letter:
About Berkshire’s acquisitions so far: “With Heinz, Berkshire now owns 8 1⁄2 companies that, were they stand-alone businesses, would be in the Fortune 500. Only 491 1⁄2 to go.”
On his confidence in the US: “Charlie and I have always considered a ‘bet’ on ever-rising U.S. prosperity to be very close to a sure thing. Indeed, who has ever benefited during the past 237 years by betting against America? If you compare our country’s present condition to that existing in 1776, you have to rub your eyes in wonder. And the dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic. America’s best days lie ahead.”
On paying attention to what’s important: “Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. Indeed, it is dangerous because it may blur your vision of the facts that are truly important. (When I hear TV commentators glibly opine on what the market will do next, I am reminded of Mickey Mantle’s scathing comment: “You don’t know how easy this game is until you get into that broadcasting booth.”)
On performance: “Over the stock market cycle between yearends 2007 and 2013, we over performed the S&P. Through full cycles in future years, we expect to do that again. If we fail to do so, we will not have earned our pay. After all, you could always own an index fund and be assured of S&P results.”
As you can see, he doesn’t speak briefly. There is much more in his letter if you’re interested in reading it yourself!