"Get rich slowly." So says one of the alternating banners on top of The Motley Fool's homepage, and there's really no more succinct statement of the company's investing philosophy. Warren Buffet, famed investor and CEO of the eternally successful Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B), didn't use that exact phrase when he spoke recently to New York Times' reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, but considering everything else that came out of his mouth over the course of the interview, he may just as well have.
When brokers go broke
"If somebody bought Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 and they held it, they made a great investment -- and their broker would have starved to death." Now, those exact words did come out of Buffett's mouth in his sit-down with Sorkin, and founding Motley Fool brothers Tom and David Gardner couldn't have put it better themselves.
Since its founding in 1993, The Motley Fool has been about investing for the long term: about finding companies with solid fundamentals, good leadership, and business models you can easily wrap your head around, and then sticking with them. With this kind of investing strategy, your broker really will go broke.
But wait a minute, who needs brokers anyway? The Motley Fool has also always been about doing it yourself: Do the research, read the income statement and balance sheet, make your own decision, and then make the trade yourself. The Internet, of course, has made researching -- and trading -- easier and cheaper than ever.
One Fool's success story
"The whole thing about [going long] is," Buffett told Sorkin, "if you know you're right, you can just keep buying." And keep making money, Buffett could easily have added, because barring some core change in the way they operate (which, by the way, means you should check in on your Foolish companies once a quarter, and not watch the share price every day), companies like the ones previously described will provide investors with a lifetime of good returns.
When I began writing for The Motley Fool, I had no investing experience. I mean zero. Zilch. And I had very little business experience, having spent the entirety of my writing career in marketing and advertising. I picked up bits and bobs from that time, but it wasn't much.
Yet through the magic that is The Motley Fool's simple formula of solid fundamentals, good leadership, and straightforward business models, I now find myself comfortably invested in two appropriately Foolish companies, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM): both of which I'm very comfortable being in for the long term.
The long view trumps quick returns
"I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and a better businessman because I am an investor." This Buffett quote wasn't from the interview with Sorkin; it's on the wall of one of the conference rooms at The Motley Fool's corporate headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The room is appropriately named "Buffett," so much is the man loved and admired by the Fools who work there, and not just for his obvious achievements as an investor, but for the way in which he achieved them. The man is a Fool at heart, whether he knows it by that terminology or not. And if you're reading this, chances are you are, too.
"For Buffett, the Long Run Still Trumps the Quick Return." So reads the headline of Sorkin's New York Times article. I couldn't have put it more succinctly myself. Go forth and get rich slowly, Fools.