Everyone knows that Warren Buffett is one of the greatest living investors. The guy's not known as the "Oracle of Omaha" for nothing. But while shares of his Berkshire Hathaway holding company look relatively cheap in terms of their price multiples, ponying up the entrance fee might be a stretch: Berkshire's A shares (BRKa) currently go for $108,550.00 a pop, while the B shares (BRKb) will set you back some $3,629.00 apiece.
The good news is that you can get more affordable access to Buffett and his collection of subsidiaries and equity holdings -- a lineup that includes Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) , and Target (NYSE: TGT ) -- for smaller sums. How so? Via mutual funds that hold Berkshire shares in their portfolios.
Ariel Focus (ARFFX), for example, recently had nearly 7% of its assets plunked down on Berkshire B shares. The fund rounds out its portfolio with the likes of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) and Tyco International (NYSE: TYC ) . Oak Value (OAKVX), meanwhile, runs with a Berkshire slug that weighs in at more than 9% of assets and, if you invest via an IRA, has a $1,000 minimum. Buy shares of this puppy, and in addition to Berkshire, you'll be investing in a portfolio that recently held Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) , too.
What's that? Those funds don't provide quite enough Buffett for you? Not to worry: In Motley Fool Champion Funds, we've recommended a fund -- my favorite of the Buffett boys -- that packs more than 16% of its assets into Berkshire Hathaway. And this fund, too, can be had (via an IRA) for a mere $1,000.
In the interest of protecting value for our members, we tend to keep our newsletter's recommendations close to the vest. But if you want the inside scoop on this pick and all of our others, no problem. Just click here for a free 30-day guest pass.
Fund your future
In the meantime, add "access" to the list of winning traits that make investing in a world-class portfolio of mutual funds a great way to begin -- and continue -- your career as an investor. In addition to the likes of Berkshire, funds also open the door to areas of the market that might lie outside your circle of investing competence.
If you're looking to dial up your exposure to, say, equities plucked from the world's developing economies, or even industries in your own back yard that you may not fully understand -- biotech and nanotech come to mind -- terrific funds led by stock pickers who do understand them can be had, provided you know where (and how) to look.
Pricey picks with rookie managers should be avoided, for example, as should most funds that pack tons of assets into narrow areas of the market. Quick and easy diversification is another built-in advantage of well-chosen mutual funds.
The Foolish bottom line
Choosing well is what we strive to do each month at Champion Funds -- and so far, so good. Our list o' picks is up on the market by a double-digit margin since we opened for business back in March 2004. All of them have made money for shareholders, too.
That free 30-day guest pass I mentioned is just a mouse-click away, and you can use it to rummage through our archives, current and past recommendations, and members-only discussion boards. There's no obligation to stick around if you find it isn't for you, so go ahead and give Champion Funds a whirl. A world of market-beating stocks that you might not otherwise invest in awaits.
This article was originally published on Aug. 15, 2006. It has been updated.
At the time of publication, Shannon Zimmerman didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. Berkshire Hathaway, Wal-Mart, and Coke are Inside Value selections. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor recommendation. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.