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If you’re interested in investing, the chances are you’ll have a book on your shelf carrying quotes from Warren Buffett, arguably the world’s greatest investor. Buffett-isms are stock-in-trade for asset managers and financial advisers hoping to emulate Buffett’s moves or hoping that his clever quips will allow them to bask in his glory. This year, Warren Buffett does not disappoint his followers. In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., he pokes fun at himself and other investors. The letter, which looks technical and dry before you get into the details, is required reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in massaging their hard-earned money into a sizeable pot of assets. Beyond the frivolity lie wise ideas on how to get your head and your investment behaviour right amid all the noise being generated in the media about markets and stock opportunities. Buffett likes to invest against the herd, but even he is hinting this year that you should be ready with a big basin to scoop up short-term opportunities when disruption rains gold on financial markets. – Jackie Cameron
By Dan Kraut
Bloomberg – Warren Buffett knows how to make a serious point fun.
The billionaire injects levity into his accounting lessons by dropping a reference to baseball or sex. Or he makes a self-depreciating joke while admitting to blunders that he hopes not to repeat. On Saturday, he showed off his wit again, with an annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders that built on some of his favorite themes and added new ones. Below are selected remarks:
After overpaying for past deals with Berkshire stock:
“Today, I would rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares.”
On being ready for disruption in financial markets:
“Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons. And that we will do.”
On those who doubt the bright prospects of the U.S.:
“Ever-present naysayers may prosper by marketing their gloomy forecasts. But heaven help them if they act on the nonsense they peddle.”
On his passion for Berkshire’s auto-insurance unit:
“Finally, there is Geico, the company that set my heart afire 66 years ago (and for which the flame still burns).”
On why Geico is adding customers after an industry slump:
“We like to make hay while the sun sets, knowing that it will surely rise again.”
On planet-friendly power projects in the U.S. Midwest:
“When it comes to wind energy, Iowa is the Saudi Arabia of America.”
On why the rich overpay for money management:
“The wealthy are accustomed to feeling that it is their lot in life to get the best food, schooling, entertainment, housing, plastic surgery, sports ticket, you name it. … For that reason, the financial ‘elites’ – wealthy individuals, pension funds, college endowments and the like – have great trouble meekly signing up for a financial product or service that is available as well to people investing only a few thousand dollars.”
On shareholder plans to travel to Berkshire’s annual meeting:
“Keep in mind that airlines have sometimes jacked-up prices for the Berkshire weekend — though I must admit I have developed some tolerance, bordering on enthusiasm, for that practice now that Berkshire has made large investments in America’s four major carriers.”
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