The 7 Most Eye-Popping Quotes From Warren Buffett

The Oracle of Omaha doesn't bite his tongue -- and his Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter lays it all out.

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:00AM

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) (NYSE:BRK-A) shareholder letter is out -- and with $58 billion and 83 years to his name, the Oracle of Omaha has a lot to say. Here are the seven juiciest quotes from Buffett's wise words.

1. "After all, you could always own an index fund and be assured of S&P results."
Warren Buffett is usually first in line to point out the stupidity of most market minions, but his comparing of himself to the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) or one of its many index funds is laughable. In the past 20 years, Berkshire Hathaway stock is up 1,000%, smoking the S&P's returns.

BRK.A Chart

2. "No one likes to buy auto insurance. But almost everyone likes to drive."

Some businesses are built on desires -- Berkshire Hathaway's Geico is built on necessities. Its auto insurance offerings are what people need at a price they can afford, and Berkshire Hathaway knows it. Its massive market share has helped create a nearly impenetrable competitive moat, while the "little gecko continues to tell Americans how Geico can save them important money."

3. "Both companies [NV Energy and H. J. Heinz] fit us well and will be prospering a century from now."

Nv Energy Inc

Source: NV Energy, Inc.

Sure, his nickname's the Oracle of Omaha, but can Buffett really see into the future a century from now? In the case of his $18 billion spent to acquire NV Energy (NYSE:NVE) and Heinz, he certainly things so.

4. "The [employment] increase ... included one person at our Omaha home office."

Brkb

Source: Berkshirehathaway.com. "Power lunch, Berkshire-style."

Last year, Berkshire Hathaway added 42,283 new employees to its ranks to hit a record total of 330,745. That's equivalent to the population of St. Louis or Honolulu. But in his obsession with shareholder value creation, that massive increase included only one hire at HQ. And just in case you were worried about fancy new Omaha offices, Buffett adds that the "gang still fits comfortably on one floor."

5. "A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends."

Bull

Source: Wikimedia Commons, lngfbruno. Wall Street Bull. 

OK, so technically emerging-market mastermind Barton Biggs said it first, but Buffett quoted him in his letter to shareholders to make an important point: Timing is everything. Paying too much for anything is a bad idea, and "know-nothing" investors often invest everything when stocks are soaring too high. In a not-so-subtle allusion to his sexual simile, Buffett notes that "satisfactory results" are the most any wise investor should hope for.

6. "Come by bus; leave by private jet. Live a little."

Netjets

Source: Netjets.com. Gulfstream G550/GV.

While Buffett enjoys a five-minute commute in his Cadillac DTS, that doesn't stop him from promoting Berkshire-owned private-jet company NetJets for his shareholder conference attendees.

7. "Could anyone really believe the earth was going to swallow up the incredible productive assets and unlimited human ingenuity existing in America?"
In case you're wondering, it's a rhetorical question. Buffett asked this in dismay as millions sold their stocks in 2008 -- but Buffett held faithfully on. And in just half a decade, the Oracle of Omaha was proved right. From a peak just before 2008, shares are up around 35% -- and have kept up solidly with the S&P 500's (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) returns over the same period.

BRK.A Chart

Get the best of Buffett's letters
Warren Buffett's latest shareholder letter is full of wisdom. He's made billions through his investing-and he wants you to be able to invest like him. Through years of letters, Buffett has offered up investing tips to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special compilation report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Justin Loiseau owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers