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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: You don’t Know Who is Swimming Naked Until…

Risk is not something that is always immediately apparent. In fact, it is not until markets plunge, a company goes belly up, or a catastrophic event happens that causes insurers to pay large claims, that the degree of risk truly becomes clear.

“You don’t find out who’s been swimming naked until the tide goes out,” Warren Buffett said at the 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “You don’t, you really don’t find out who’s been swimming naked until the wind blows at them.”

Buffett pointed out that the adage applies as much to bonds and reinsurance as it does to the stock market. Investors that chase return through low-rated bonds, or insurance companies that write risky policies, can look like geniuses until circumstances turn against them and expose their true risk, often with catastrophic results.

“Reinsurance business, by its nature, will be a business in which some very stupid things are done en masse periodically,” Buffett noted. “I mean, you can be doing dumb things and not know it in reinsurance, and then all of a sudden wake up and find out, you know, the money is gone.”

Buffett’s full explanation


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© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing

Lessons From Warren Buffett: You’re Neither Right nor Wrong Because People Agree With You or Disagree

Warren Buffett believes firmly that the work of the investor is to find opportunities, and it makes no difference if other people agree with you or not.

“Ben Graham said long ago that you’re neither right nor wrong because people agree with you or disagree with you,” Warren Buffett noted at the 2006 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “You’re right because your facts and reasoning are right. So all you do is you try to make sure that the facts you have are correct. . . . And then once you have the facts, you’ve got to think through what they mean. And you don’t take a public opinion survey. You don’t pay attention to things that are unimportant. I mean, what you’re looking for is something — things that are important and knowable. If something’s important but unknowable, forget it. I mean, it may be important, you know, whether somebody’s going to drop a nuclear weapon tomorrow but it’s unknowable. It may be all kinds of things. So you — and there are all kinds of things are that knowable but are unimportant. In focusing on business and investment decisions, you try to think — you narrow it down to the things that are knowable and important, and then you decide whether you have information of sufficient value that — you know, compared to price and all that, that will cause you to act. What others are doing means nothing.”

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© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Do Anything That Makes Sense and Don’t Limit Yourself

While many mutual funds and ETFs limit themselves to a particular area, this is not Warren Buffett’s approach. He wants the maximum flexibility to take advantage of opportunities, and he also doesn’t want to be forced to do any particular thing.

“I would say that we think the most logical fund is the one we have at Berkshire where, essentially, we can do anything that makes sense and are not compelled to do anything that we don’t think makes sense,” Warren Buffett said at the 2007 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “So any entity that is devoted to a limited segment of the financial market we would regard as being at a disadvantage to one that has total authority if you have the right person in charge… So we would not want to devote our funds to something that was only going to buy bonds, something that was only going to buy futures, or anything of the sort.”

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© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Risk and Time Horizon are Inextricably Linked

Risk and the amount of time you intend to hold a stock are inextricably linked, according to Warren Buffett. That linkage is what makes day trading stocks so risky, as the shorter the holding period, the more likely that short term price movements will sink you.

“Well, we do define risk as the possibility of harm or injury. And in that respect we think it’s inextricably wound up in your time horizon for holding an asset,” Warren Buffett said at the 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If you intend to buy XYZ Corporation at 11:30 this morning and sell it out before the close today, I mean, that is, in our view, that is a very risky transaction. Because we think 50 percent of the time you’re going to suffer some harm or injury. If you have a time horizon on a business, we think the risk of buying something like Coca-Cola at the price we bought it at a few years ago is essentially, is so close to nil, in terms of our perspective holding period. But if you asked me the risk of buying Coca-Cola this morning and you’re going to sell it tomorrow morning, I say that is a very risky transaction.”

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© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: What Adversity Tells you About the Underlying Strength of a Business

How a company weathers adversity tells you interesting things about a business, according to Warren Buffett. Among the things it shows you is not only the resiliency of a company, but also how wide its moat truly is.

“If you see a business take a lot of adversity and still do well, that tells you something about the underlying strength of the business,” Warren Buffett said at the 2000 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “So, occasionally, you will find that an interesting test of the strength of a business. Coca-Cola had some problems, you know, in Europe. But it comes back stronger than ever. They certainly had problems with New Coke, and they came back stronger than ever. So you do see that underlying strength. And that’s very impressive as a way of evaluating the depth and impenetrability of the moat that we talked about earlier.”

Buffett’s full explanation on adversity and how it tests a business

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© 2022 David Mazor

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: “Mr. Market” is There to Serve, Not Advise

Warren Buffett is fond of reminding investors about “Mr. Market,” Benjamin Graham’s personification of stock market fluctuations that he describes in Chapter 8 of The Intelligent Investor. Graham notes that sometimes the prices for stocks that Mr. Market quotes are reasonable, but sometimes “Mr. Market lets his enthusiasm or his fears run away with him, and the value he proposes seems to you a little short of silly.”

This brings us to a key point that Warren Buffett is keen to emphasize. The market is there to serve you not instruct you.

“The beauty of stocks is they do sell at silly prices from time to time,” Warren Buffett said at the 2012 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “Ben Graham writes about it in Chapter 8 of The Intelligent Investor. . . Chapter 8 says that in the market you’re going to have a partner named ‘Mr. Market,’ and the beauty of him as your partner is that he’s kind of a psychotic drunk, and he will do very weird things over time and your job is to remember that he’s there to serve you and not to advise you. And if you can keep that mental state, then all those thousands of prices that Mr. Market is offering you every day on every major business in the world, practically, that he is making lots of mistakes, and he makes them for all kinds of weird reasons. And all you have to do is occasionally oblige him when he offers to either buy or sell from you at the same price on any given day, any given security.”

As Graham wrote:

“If you are a prudent investor or a sensible businessman, will you let Mr. Market’s daily communication determine your view of the value of a $1,000 interest in the enterprise? Only in case you agree with him, or in case you want to trade with him. You may be happy to sell out to him when he quotes you a ridiculously high price, and equally happy to buy from him when his price is low. But the rest of the time you will be wiser to form your own ideas of the value of your holdings, based on full reports from the company about its operations and financial position. “

Buffett’s full explanation on the stock market and stock prices

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© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: People Behave in Extreme Ways in Markets

Warren Buffett recognizes that stock market prices periodically get disconnected from fundamentals. For Buffett, it’s both a caution and an opportunity.

“People get captivated simply by the notion of rising prices without going back to the underlying rationale. And that’s when you get very dangerous conditions in terms of possible bubbles,” Warren Buffett said at the 1997 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.

Buffett notes that this applies to the market’s extremes both going up and falling.

“It’s just people behave in extreme ways in markets,” he adds. “And over time, that’s very good for people that keep their heads.”

Buffett’s full explanation on bubbles and market extremes

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© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Look to Value, Not Headlines

The news is full of headlines. On any given day the Federal Reserve is taking an action (or indicating that it won’t take any), trade relations are going well or going badly, or the IMF is making a prediction on economic growth. So, does any of this plethora of news matter to Warren Buffett when he makes an investment decision? Not in the slightest. “There’s always going to be good and bad news out there,” Buffett notes.

“We look to value, and we don’t look to headlines at all,” Warren Buffett said at the 2012 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If we find a business that we think we understand, and we like the price at which it’s being offered, we buy it. And it doesn’t make any difference what the headlines are. It doesn’t make any difference what the Federal Reserve is doing, and it doesn’t make any difference what is going on in Europe. We buy it.”

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© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing Warren Buffett

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Combining These Two Things is Dangerous

If you look at the mistakes that investors commonly make, one is not truly understanding their investment, and another is leveraging a poorly understood investment through borrowing. Combining those two, as Warren Buffett points out, usually means that investors are really heading for trouble.

“Any time you combine ignorance and borrowed money, you can get some pretty interesting consequences,” Warren Buffett said at the 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “The ability to borrow enormous amounts of money combined with a chance to get either very rich or very poor very quickly, has historically been a recipe for trouble at some point.”

Hear Buffett’s full explanation

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© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Lessons From Warren Buffett Value Investing

Lessons From Warren Buffett: You Don’t Get Paid for Activity, You Only Get Paid for Being Right

Warren Buffett’s legendary patience flies in the face of the market’s need to have activity. How long is he willing to wait for an opportunity?

“The question of how long we wait, we wait indefinitely. We are not going to buy anything just to buy something. We will only buy something if we think we’re getting something attractive,” Warren Buffett said at the 1998 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If the money piles up, the money piles up. And when we see something that makes sense, we’re willing to act very fast, very big. But we’re not willing to act on anything that doesn’t check out in our view. . . . You don’t get paid for activity, you only get paid for being right.”

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© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.