This has been going around it seems. Notes from a talk that Buffett gave a couple weeks back. The transcript is great, and the insights are bountiful.
From Underground Value, Notes from Buffett Meeting 2/15/2008
Read through, but here are a some good quotes:
That’s what most people should do, buy a cheap index fund and slowly dollar cost average into it. If you try to be just a little bit smart, spending an hour a week investing, you’re liable to be really dumb.
I know too many people from the forums that think they can spend a little time a week and make themselves rich. Not gonna happen and Buffett agrees, and here’s the kind of person you’re up against, and the kind of person you have to be if you want to make serious go at anything other than index funds:
Markets are efficient most of the time about most things. But for these opportunities, nobody will tell you about them. They won’t be on CNBC and they won’t be in brokerage reports. You have to go find them yourself. In 1951, after I graduated from school, I used Moody’s and S&P manuals as my sources of information. I went through them page by page. I was like a basketball coach looking for 7-footers. I still have to find out if he’s coordinated, and can stay in school…On page 1443 of Moody’s, I found Western Insurance Securities. It had earned $21.66 per share 2 years ago, and earned $29.09 last year. Over the past year the stock was selling for between $3 and $13 per share. I still had to do the work to make sure the earnings were valid. The markets will get it right eventually. But they are there. You don’t have to find too many. Finding 10 of these opportunities in your lifetime will make you so rich. But you can’t be wrong. You can’t have any zeroes. A list of big numbers multiplied by zero will equal zero. You can’t go back to “Go”.
Are you trying to play the stock game? If so, are you reading thousands of pages of reports looking for the right investment? Are you certain that your method will produce no zeros? If you’re gonna do it, take it seriously. Even just a few hours a week is silly and leaves you undereducated, and unable to react quickly (or not react at all) and rationally when times require it.
A couple more, there are tons behind the original link. Reading the full post is a must.
As Bertrand Russell says, “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.” I won the ovarian lottery the day I was born and so did all of you. We’re all successful, intelligent, educated. To focus on what you don’t have is a terrible mistake. With the gifts all of us have, if you are unhappy, it’s your own fault.
We did an informal office survey by looking at the total tax footprint versus the total income. I earned 46 million and paid a tax rate of 17.5%. My rate was the lowest, the average was 33%, and my cleaning lady paid 40%. The system is tilted towards the rich. The Forbes 400 total net worth has gone from 220 billion to 1.54 trillion, an increase of 7-to-1. You see in legislature that there is lobbying carried on by the powerful over issues such as the estate tax and carried interest for private equity investments. We need to flatten income and payroll taxes, and those making under $30,000 shouldn’t be bothered.
Those are just random ones I grabbed from the long read, so I didn’t have to even try to get good quotes.