Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked – Warren Buffett
Anyone who witnessed the bubble bursts and the bull markets in the past 10-20 years will definitely understand what Buffett meant here. Switch on the television or go to any stock analysis site and you will be immersed in “expert” opinions, stats, “hot tips” and more. Some people even go to the extent of predicting what will happen to stocks or even sectors in the near future and in the not so near future.
And then there are folks who do the stupidest thing. These people are so confident (or should I say their reality is so distorted) to lend money on high interest rates and invest them in stocks based on a hot tip. When the “stuff” hits the fan they will be left naked. They will lose everything.
Warren Buffett has only two rules in investing.
Rule #1. Do not lose your money
Rule#2. Follow Rule#1
I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.
– Warren Buffett
This quote is perhaps not on the top of the Warren Buffett quote list. I heard this when I was listening to one of his talks. The way he delivered this line is what impressed me. He was not even showing a hit of arrogance when he said that. He said it as if it was a fact. Since following great personalities is one of my main hobbies, I tend to wonder if I can find any commonalities among these exceptionally successful people .
Sure enough, you will find many. For one, I have observed that all these folks always “knew” that they would make it big. Knowing something is better than “believing” that something will happen. Both are far better than “hoping” that something will happen. The difference is that when you know something, you can visualize in your minds eye the clear path which will lead you to your destination. It is the quality of a man/women who lives a calculated and planned life. They will also have an unquenchable thirst to reach that destination. When you believe in something, you have that unquenchable thirst, but you don’t fully believe. Saying that you believe something is just an act of confirmation that you provide yourself. But when you know stuff, you eradicate the time wasted in self affirmation. “Hoping” without any action towards goal is the worst thing one can do. Some people think of themselves as planners. They will spend hours and days in planning stuff but never end up doing it. Taking the first solid committed step towards your goal can do wonders and the momentum will keep you going.
There is a famous quote “fake it till you make it”. If you pretend (Yes I said pretend) to be having a quality, you will find that with persistence, you will indeed adopt that quality. The fact that Warren Buffett subscribes to this idea is evident from his following quote about forming new healthy habits/qualities.
“You look at people who you admire and list out their good habits that you love to have. Strive to make those habits your own. “
You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.
– Warren Buffett
Most of Warren Buffett’s investment strategies are known for their simplicity. The above quote is one such advise that is a prime example of simplicity. When the popular media is united in taking the “diversification” approach to financial investments, Buffett is not a big supported of that.
As per Buffett, for new guys who don’t know anything about investing, it makes absolute sense to diversify. But if you are a professional and if your goal is to make big returns on your investment, then diversification is a a no no. His simple logic is staying away from diversification is this. If you have diversified among 50 avenues, you will never be able to say that you like all the 50 equally. This means that there might be 5-6 among these fifty which would be absolute winners in your eyes and the rest, not so much. Usually people diversify out of fear to decrease the chances of losing all your money if the one investment you picked tanks. This is where we have to go back to the circle of confidence that Warren Buffett keeps referring to in many of his talks. In other words, if you have a clearly defined boundary then your the 5-6 out of the 50 you picked will be inside the circle of confidence and the rest will be just outside the boundary of your circle of confidence or maybe in the very edge.
In life and in investment, if you see and observe the people who made a mark, you will find that they concentrated on one (or a select few areas) area alone and gave their undivided attention and razor sharp focus on that area.
In short, diversification might minimize risk of loosing your money but it also stops you from maximizing the ROI. Think back and see if you can remember a time when you gave something your undivided attention and ultimate focus. What was the outcome?
If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.
– Warren Buffett
Beginner investors always make the mistake of solely relying on a companies past performance before buying a stock. This quote from Warren Buffett will tell you that it is not the right way to pick stocks.
One of the most common way that newbie investors use to pick stock is by using historical chart. They might come across some stocks which have been on the rise for x amount of time and they get excited. Without giving it enough thought, they will jump on the stock and start to dream about making big bucks. If there is something that history has proved time and again, it is the fact that history is not always an indication of future. Only lazy folks make investment decisions by checking history of a stock alone. Big fishes like Buffett concentrates on how well the business is run, what kind of work culture they have, who is in the management of the business etc. He loves a well run business which is well established.
A new investor should take the time to learn about the fundamentals of a share and they should learn how to read and understand the boring stuff like the income statement, quarterly report, Annual report, Balance sheet etc. The time thus invested will pay them many fold as the times go by.
Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago
– Warren Buffett
I am not so sure whether this is a Warren Buffett original. But I think he has used this quote more times than anyone else during public speaking that many of the websites dedicated to quotes has assigned Warren Buffett as the brain behind this.
The thing I like about this quote is that it highlights more than one qualities one should cultivate. On one hand it says that one should cultivate a selfless pay it forward attitude which will be beneficial to the next generation. But since Buffett is first and foremost an investor, one of the ways this quote should be interpreted would be in the context of investment. Buffett made most of his fortune in the stock market by buying quality businesses and holding them for a very long period of time. He was fortunate to figure out that huge fortunes can be made by trusting great companies for a LONG period of time. Just like planting the seed (a small investment) and sitting in the shade when your investment grows up to become a huge tree. Warren Buffet is a kind of guy who wants to reap repetitive money (Shade) for a long term without cutting the tree down (Selling the business).
Any good investment advise or book will be incomplete without mentioning the power of compounding. Its effect is too easy to miss in the beginning that it is easy that people will quit before waiting for 20 or 30 years. But the real exponential effect will be revealed towards the end of the term.
Would love to hear your interpretations/thoughts on this quote in the comments section.