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Don't miss: Warren Buffett's wise tips on investment

Last updated on: March 05, 2014 14:04 IST

Warren Buffett's wise tips on investment

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Warren Buffet has listed out incredible investment tips in its annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders which was published on Saturday (March 1).

The most successful investor with a net worth of $58.2 billion has time and again advised entrepreneurs and even investment gurus on how to maximise returns on investment.

We have collated few investment quotes  which he either gave in media or were published in his annual letters over the years.

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Image: Warren Buffett, chairman of the board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Photographs: Reuters

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Buying a stock is about more than just the price. 

"Its far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

Source: Letter to Shareholders 1989

You dont have to be a genius to invest

 “You don need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ."

Source: Buffet speaks via msnbc.msn

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Photographs: Reuters

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But, master the basics

“To invest successfully, you need not understand beta, efficient markets, modern portfolio theory, option pricing or emerging markets. You may, in fact, be better off knowing nothing of these. That, of course, is not the prevailing view at most business schools, whose finance curriculum tends to be dominated by such subjects. In our view, though, investment students need only two well-taught courses - How to Value a Business, and How to Think About Market Prices. "  

Source: Chairman's Letter, 1996

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Image: Leaders of the G20 summit gather around the meeting table at the Pittsburgh Convention.
Photographs: Reuters

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Don't buy a stock just because everyone hates it

"None of this means, however, that a business or stock is an intelligent purchase simply because it is unpopular; a contrarian approach is just as foolish as a follow-the-crowd strategy. Whats required is thinking rather than polling. Unfortunately, Bertrand Russell's (British nobleman, philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic) observation about life in general applies with unusual force in the financial world: "Most men would rather die than think. Many do."

Source: Chairman's letter.1990

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Image: A terminal operator speaks on telephones at a local stock market
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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Bad things aren't obvious when times are good.
 
"After all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."

Source: Letter to shareholders, 2001

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Photographs: Reuters

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This is most important.

Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don forget rule No. 1

Source: The tao of Warren Buffett

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Photographs: Reuters

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Time will tell.

"Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre."

Source: In a letter to shareholders, 1989 

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Photographs: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

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Companies that don't change can be great investments.

"Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, its the lack of change that appeals to me. I don think it is going to be hurt by the Internet. That's the kind of business I like."

Source: Businessweek, 1999

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Image: Infosys is among the top ten companies in India
Photographs: Infosys Technologies

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Higher taxes can never be a  deal-breaker.

"Suppose that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 per cent.”

Only in Grover Norquist’s (American political advocate who is founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform) imagination does such a response exist."

Source: New York Times

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Photographs: Rediff Archives

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You will not get bonus points for complicated investments.

"Our investments continue to be few in number and simple in concept: The truly big investment idea can usually be explained in a short paragraph. We like a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people. When these attributes exist, and when we can make purchases at sensible prices, it is hard to go wrong (a challenge we periodically manage to overcome).  

"Investors should remember that their scorecard is not computed using Olympic-diving methods: Degree-of-difficulty doesn’t count. If you are right about a business whole value is largely dependent on a single key factor that is both easy to understand and enduring, the payoff is the same as if you had correctly analyzed an investment alternative characterized by many constantly shifting and complex variables."

Source: Chairman's Letter, 1994

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Photographs: Reuters

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A good businessperson makes a good investor.

"I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and a better businessman because I am no investor."

Source: Forbes.com -Thoughts On The Business Life

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Image: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett wanders the company trade show before his company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska April 30, 2011.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

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Price and value are not the same

"Long ago, Ben Graham (a British-born professional investor) taught me that Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down."

Source: Letter to the shareholders, 2008

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Image: Value meal offered by Burger King Restaurant
Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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Do not consider politics and macroeconomics when picking stocks.

"We will continue to ignore political and economic forecasts, which are an expensive distraction for many investors and businessmen. Thirty years ago, no one could have foreseen the huge expansion of the Vietnam War, wage and price controls, two oil shocks, the resignation of a president, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a one-day drop in the Dow of 508 points, or treasury bill yields fluctuating between 2.8 per cent and 17.4 per cent.  

"But, surprise - none of these blockbuster events made the slightest dent in Ben Grahams investment principles. Nor did they render unsound the negotiated purchases of fine businesses at sensible prices.

"Imagine the cost to us, then, if we had let a fear of unknowns cause us to defer or alter the deployment of capital. Indeed, we have usually made our best purchases when apprehensions about some macro event were at a peak. Fear is the foe of the faddist, but the friend of the fundamentalist."

Source: Chairman's letter, 1994

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Image: Supporters of Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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The more you trade, the more you underperform

"Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton gave us three laws of motion, which were the work of genius. But Sir Isaac’s talents didn’t extend to investing: He lost a bundle in the South Sea Bubble, explaining later, 'I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men'.

If he had not been traumatised by this loss, Sir Isaac might well have gone on to discover the Fourth Law of Motion: For investors as a whole, returns decrease as motion increases."

Source: Letters to the shareholders, 2005

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Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

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You don't have to move at every opportunity.

“The stock market is a no-called-strike game. You don have to swing at everything--you can wait for your pitch. The problem when you are a money manager is that your fans keep yelling, Swing, you bum!"  

Source: The Tao of Warren Buffett via engineeringnews.com

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Image: Passers-by outside Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters

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Be greedy when others are fearful.

"Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful."

Source: Letter to the shareholders, 2004

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Photographs: Reuters

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Forever is a good holding period.

"When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever."

Source: Letter to the shareholders, 1988

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Photographs: Reuters

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Don't be fooled by that Cinderella feeling you get from great returns.

"The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money.

"After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice.

"But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There’s a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands."

Source: Letter to the shareholders, 2000

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff

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Always be liquid

"I have pledged – to you, the rating agencies and myself – to always run Berkshire with more than ample cash. We never want to count on the kindness of strangers in order to meet tomorrow’s obligations. When forced to choose, I will not trade even a night’s sleep for the chance of extra profits."

Source: Letter to the shareholders, 2008


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff

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