Berkshire Hathaway‘s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday included dozens of questions spanning topics such as investing strategy, artificial intelligence and politics for the legendary investors at the helm of the conglomerate: Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger
But it wasn’t all strictly business. Buffett and Munger — who are 92 and 99 years old, respectively — cracked jokes and shared wisdom from decades in the investing world throughout the more than five hours spent answering questions.
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Tens of thousands congregated at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska were left laughing on multiple occasions by quips from the nonagenarians.
Shareholders watch Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger from the overflow room during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Omaha, Neb.
Rebecca H. Gratz | AP
Here’s 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 that we had a competitive broadcast going out somewhere in the U.K. … They were celebrating a ‘King Charles,’ and we’ve got our own ‘King Charles’ here today.”
More people do ‘dumb things’
Munger said value investors should be prepared to get smaller returns as competition intensifies. But Buffett said there’s still opportunities given so many people have a short-term view and often do stupid things in a panic.
What gives you opportunities is other people doing dumb things … In the 58 years we’ve been running Berkshire, I would say there’s been a great increase in the number people doing dumb things, and they do big, dumb things.
Munger said it’s “insane” to teach that one has to diversify when investing in common stocks.
One of the inane things that’s taught in modern university education is that a vast diversification is absolutely mandatory in investing in common stocks … That is an insane idea. It’s not that easy to have a vast plethora of good opportunities that are easily identified. And if you’ve only got three, I’d rather be in my best ideas instead of my worst.
And he said investors should know themselves and their strengths.
We’re not so smart, but we kind of know where the edge of our smartness is … That is a very important part of practical intelligence. … If you know the edge of your own ability pretty well, you should ignore most of the notions of our experts about what I call ‘deworsification’ of portfolios.
‘Hold the godd— stock’
Munger had simple advice when it comes to Berkshire Hathaway in an estate. And he didn’t mince words sharing it.
Well, at Berkshire, we have a simple problem of estate planning. Just hold the godd— stock.
Write your obituary and live up to it
Buffett offered advice on how to live life and spend and invest in a way that isn’t detrimental.
“You should write your obituary and then try to figure out how to live up to it. That’s something you get wiser on as you go along. … You just want to make sure you don’t make any mistakes that take you out of the game or come close to taking you out of your game. You should never have a night when you’re worried about investing, assuming you have any money to invest at all. … Spend a little bit less than you earn, and you can spend a little bit more than you earn. … Then you’ve got debt, and chances are you’ll never get out of debt. I’ll make an exception in terms of a mortgage on your house.”
Not smarter, but wiser
Buffett said investors don’t need to be experts in technical aspects of businesses if they can understand fundamentals and commit to always learning.
We’re interested in owning a wonderful business forever. … We do learn a lot as we go along. … We’re learning all the time how consumers behave. I’m not going to be able to learn the technical aspects of businesses. It’d be nice if I knew it, but it isn’t essential. … We’ve got a business at Apple … I don’t understand the phone at all, but I do understand consumer behavior. … We’re learning all the time, from all of our businesses. … We don’t get smarter over time, we … get a little wiser, though, following it over time.