What will Berkshire Hathaway
Almost every time 79-year-old Buffett gets interviewed or questioned, the issue of succession arises. Understandably, people want to know who will lead the company once he's no longer in charge. Buffett has answered that question many times already: His board of directors has a list of capable people who can be tapped for the job. But another succession question remains largely unasked -- and unanswered.
The great teacher
When the dark day arrives on which Buffett no longer calls the shots at Berkshire -- not for another three or four decades, we hope! -- we investors will have lost a great teacher. Buffett hasn't just shared his wealth-building journey with his shareholders, nor his vast personal fortune with charities around the world. He's also generously passed along the wisdom he's acquired from decades of expert investing.
Buffett regularly hosts visiting groups of students in Omaha, Neb., answering questions and steering them toward productive and profitable lives. His annual meetings draw tens of thousands of attendees, primarily because of the insights he and Munger offer during their discourses. His annual letter to shareholders is also educational, offering his thoughts on investing in general, along with more specific topics such as derivatives, CEO compensation, or boards of directors.
It can even be argued that his entire company educates the world how entrepreneurs can invest effectively and run their companies honorably. Given the numerous corporate scandals we've witnessed in the past decade, from boardroom spying at Hewlett-Packard
Fortunately, even when Buffett is no longer around to inform and inspire us, we'll be OK. He'll still be with us through all he'll leave behind. His trove of shareholder letters will remain, with much of their wisdom timeless. There are plenty of recordings of his speeches and interviews. Munger has also shared much with the world, most notably in his book Poor Charlie's Almanack. And perhaps in accordance with Buffett's master plan, generations of investors guided by his principles will follow, too. We'll be able to learn from and profit along with many of them.
We can also learn from Buffett's own teacher. His mentor, Benjamin Graham, wrote the seminal volume The Intelligent Investor, which will likely remain in print for decades to come.
And while few investors can match Buffett's amazing track record, plenty have their own wisdom to offer, and many top financial minds are similarly generous about sharing what they've learned. Whitney Tilson and Mohnish Pabrai are just two of the notable names full of valuable advice.
Tilson used to write for the Fool; his Tilson Focus (TILFX) fund advanced 66% in 2009, and was recently up more than 15% so far this year. It recently included General Electric
Warren Buffett's legacy amounts to more than a huge pile of money. We can learn a lot from him today, and for many years to come.
What has Buffett taught you? Share your experience in our comment box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Try any of our investing newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.