One is the loneliest number, and there's more than one way to do just about everything. So this week, let's start with a two-fer.
Idiot-Proofing Berkshire Hathaway
What You Should Know About Berkshire Hathaway
In the first article, Fool writer Alex Dumortier posits that the Oracle has a plan for idiot-proofing the enterprise so that future Berkshire Hathaway
"Increasing Berkshire's internal cash requirements is a means of protecting his 'masterpiece,' by reducing the risk that his successor will make ill-considered investments with the cash," explains Alex.
In the second article, Fool writer Morgan Housel takes a closer look at Berkshire Hathaway's three major segments: insurance and investments, utilities and energy, and finance and financial products.
Insurance is Berkshire's largest and most important line of business, Morgan writes, giving the company what amounts to "interest-free loans" from premium-payers. Berkshire then takes that money and invests it in strong companies such as American Express
Click to the articles to read more about how Berkshire makes money now, and how it will continue to do so after the Oracle has departed.
What the Bubble Taught Us About Tech
This is one package you should definitely accept. Fool writers and analysts put together six articles (a six-fer?) looking at what the dot-com bubble taught investors about making money in the tech sector.
"[T]he dot-com disaster may have been less devastating than the recent financial fiasco and housing hullabaloo, but it still destroyed about $5 trillion in value," starts off Fool writer and Motley Fool Rule Breakers team member Tim Beyers. Scoff, nod, or weep at the mention of flops such as Pets.com, Kozmo.com, or DrKoop.com, but don't forget to learn from them, too.
Here's one of Tim's lessons: "It's never, ever 'different this time.' Sock puppets don't change the rules of economics any more than Wile E. Coyote gets to change the laws of physics by strapping on a ragged pair of cartoon wings."
Click to the article to check out all of Tim's insight, find links to all stories in the package, and read why Netflix
What's Messed Up About Social Security
How much Social Security money, if any, will you receive in retirement? The answer is crucial when planning your investing strategy. Fool writer Morgan Housel explores the issue, offering some causes, then some solutions.
"Some of this is the result of poor planning. Some of it is due to a crashing stock market. But a lot of it is simply the fact that we're living longer than before," says Morgan.
Proposals include increasing the starting age for Social Security benefits and changing the way benefits are calculated. "Apply a fraction of each proposal, and you've fixed Social Security," concludes Morgan.
Click to the article for a look at Morgan's reasoning and the chance to throw your two cents into the debate.
American Express and Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway and Netflix are Stock Advisor selections. Procter & Gamble is an Income Investor selection. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Procter & Gamble.