Charlie Munger’s Sage Advice for Investors 

In this year’s Berkshire Hathaway letter, Warren Buffett highlights some thoughts about life and investing expressed by his partner, Charlie Munger. The 99-year old Munger has a way of distilling wisdom that we, as investors, can draw on.

 

  • The world is full of foolish gamblers, and they will not do as well as the patient investor. 
  • If you don’t see the world the way it is, it’s like judging something through a distorted lens. 
  • All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there. And a related thought: Early on, write your desired obituary – and then behave accordingly. 
  • If you don’t care whether you are rational or not, you won’t work on it. Then you will stay irrational and get lousy results. 
  • Patience can be learned. Having a long attention span and the ability to concentrate on one thing for a long time is a huge advantage. 
  • You can learn a lot from dead people. Read of the deceased you admire and detest.
  • Don’t bail away in a sinking boat if you can swim to one that is seaworthy. 
  • A great company keeps working after you are not; a mediocre company won’t do that.
  • Warren and I don’t focus on the froth of the market. We seek out good long-term investments and stubbornly hold them for a long time. 
  • Ben Graham [Buffett’s teacher and colleague] said, “Day to day, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long term it’s a weighing machine.” If you keep making something more valuable, then some wise person is going to notice it and start buying. 
  • There is no such thing as a 100{fa12a1ddfd2e9511e425ffa82d03ff10cf8f6b496ca27868adfa8056076e54a2} sure thing when investing. Thus, the use of leverage is dangerous. A string of wonderful numbers times zero will always equal zero. Don’t count on getting rich twice. 
  • You don’t, however, need to own a lot of things in order to get rich. 
  • You have to keep learning if you want to become a great investor. When the world changes, you must change.

Each of these pearls of wisdom can be used to make our lives and investing better. These concepts are universal, in the sense that they can be applied in any country that has a relatively free market and the rule of law.

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