Berkshire HathawaySaturday’s annual shareholder meeting included dozens of questions covering topics including investment strategy, artificial intelligence and politics for the legendary investors at the helm of the conglomerate: Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger
But not everything was strictly professional. Buffett and Munger – who are 92 and 99, respectively – cracked jokes and shared wisdom from decades in the investment world throughout more than five hours of answering questions.
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Tens of thousands of people gathered at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, were repeatedly left laughing at the jokes of the nonagenarians.
Shareholders watch Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger from the overflow room during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting on Saturday, May 6, 2023 in Omaha, Neb.
Rebecca H. Gratz | PA
Here are some of the best moments from “The Oracle of Omaha” and Munger:
King Charles and King Charlie
Buffett referenced the coronation of King Charles III in England also scheduled for Saturday as he introduced Munger. Charles was the 40th monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a tradition that dates back to 1066, according to NBC News.
“When I woke up this morning I realized we had a competitive show somewhere in the UK… They were celebrating a ‘King Charles’ and we have our own ‘King Charles’ here today.”
More people are doing “dumb things”
Munger said value investors should be prepared for lower returns as competition intensifies. But Buffett said there was still opportunities offered so many people are short-sighted and often do stupid things in a panic.
What gives you opportunities are other people doing stupid things… In the 58 years we’ve run Berkshire, I’d say there’s been a big increase in people doing things stupid, and they do big stupid things.
Munger said it’s “foolish” to teach that you have to diversify when investing in common stocks.
One of the insane things taught in modern university education is that broad diversification is absolutely mandatory for investing in common stocks… It’s an insane idea. It is not so easy to have a vast plethora of good opportunities that are easily identifiable. And if you only have three, I’d rather be in my best ideas than my worst.
And he said investors should know themselves and their strengths.
We’re not that smart, but we kind of know where our intelligence lies… It’s a very important part of practical intelligence. … If you know your own abilities well enough, you should ignore most of our experts’ notions about what I call “deworsification” of wallets.
‘Hold the godd — stock’
Munger had simple advice regarding Berkshire Hathaway in one area. And he didn’t mince words to share it.
Well, at Berkshire we have a simple estate planning problem. Just hold the godd—stock.
Write your obituary and stick to it
Buffett offered advice on how to live life, spend and invest in a way that isn’t harmful.
“You should write your obituary and then try to figure out how to stick to it. It’s something you get wiser about as you go. … You just want to make sure you don’t make mistakes that take you out of the way. game or be about to get out of your game. You should never have a night where you worry about investing, assuming you have money to invest… Spend a little less than you earn , and you can spend a little more than you earn…. So you’re in debt, and chances are you’ll never get out of it. I’ll make an exception in terms of the mortgage on your house.
Not smarter, but wiser
Buffett said investors don’t need to be experts in the technicalities of businesses if they can understand the fundamentals and commit to always learning.
We are interested in owning a wonderful business forever. … We learn a lot as we go along. … We learn all the time how consumers behave. I won’t be able to learn the technical aspects of business. It would be nice if I knew, but it’s not essential. … We have a business at Apple … I don’t understand the phone at all, but I do understand consumer behavior. … We are learning all the time, from all of our businesses. … We don’t get smarter over time, we… get a little wiser, however, by following this over time.