Advice to investors
Advice on anything is greatly sought in Buffett's annual meetings. Here are some relevant excerpts from his talks and lectures
Jul 10, 2018
I have always worked at a job that I loved. I loved it just as much when I thought it was a big deal to make $1,000. I urge you to work in jobs that you love. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think they will look good on your resume.
Lecture, University of Florida Business School, 1998
I think you should read everything you can. In my case, by the age of ten, I'd read every book in the Omaha public library about investing, some twice. You need to fill your mind with various competing thoughts and decide which make sense. Then you have to jump in the water-take a small amount of money and do it yourself. Investing on paper is like reading a romance novel vs. doing something else. You'll soon find out whether you like it. The earlier you start the better.
Annual Meeting notes, 2007
This (non-insurance) group of companies sells products ranging from lollipops to jet airplanes. Some of the businesses enjoy terrific economics, measured by earnings on un-leveraged net tangible assets that run from 25 per cent after-tax to more than 100 per cent. Others produce good returns in the area of 12-20 per cent.
A few, however, have very poor returns, a result of some serious mistakes I made in my job of capital allocation. These errors came about because I misjudged either the competitive strength of the business being purchased or the future economics of the industry in which it operated.
I try to look out ten or twenty years when making an acquisition, but sometimes my eyesight has been poor. Charlie's has been better; he voted no more than 'present' on several of my errant purchases.
Annual Letter, 2011
The one thing I will tell you is the worst investment you can have is cash. Everybody is talking about cash being king and all that sort of thing. Cash is going to become worth less over time. But good businesses are going to become worth more over time.
Buffett & Gates at Columbia Business School, 2009
This story was originally published in June 2015.