There are really just two kinds of people in the world: Those whose Twitter feed has recently been filled with either Met Gala pics or a running commentary on the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. And yet, somehow I had both, so for those who didn’t follow Warren Buffett’s yearly marathon Q&A about his company and life in general, here’s what you missed:
Buffett gives great investment advice, but he would make a terrible nutritionist/life coach:
In the most controversial question of the event, journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Buffett if Berkshire investors should be proud of the company’s stake in Coca-Cola. It is one of America’s most beloved brands, but its products are also extremely unhealthy.
Buffett readily admits to drinking four or five Cherry Cokes per day, and he rebuffed the question by noting everyone makes their own personal decisions. He further commented that if you do what makes you happy, you’ll live longer. I’m not holding my breath for verification from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Buffett does not believe Berkshire’s success hinges on the presidential election results:
Buffett is a Democrat and Hilary Clinton supporter, but he isn’t worried about the election for business reasons. His outlook on our country’s future is bright regardless of who wins. Appearing on Squawk Box after the annual meeting, he even stated, “Your children are going to live better than you if we elect three bad presidents in a row.” He is nothing if not confident.
Buffett is no fan of hedge funds:
He made a bet with Protégé Partners back in 2006 that they couldn’t outperform a Vanguard S&P 500 index fund over a ten year period. It was their idea, and they even wanted to measure the results net of their fees. There is a year left in the competition, but as of the end of 2015, the S&P has yielded 65.7% while their fund-of-funds has yielded only 21.9%.
He went on a rant right before lunch about “hyperactive” investing and expensive managers. In general, he thinks people would be better served using passive investments, commenting, “You just have to sit back and let American industry do its job for you.”
As an admirer of Buffett, I always pay attention when he says something. He has a way of simplifying and clarifying even the most complex of financial issues. However, despite his moniker, he is not an oracle. Even the great Warren Buffett is fallible, so it is important for all investors to make their own decisions and not take his opinion as fact.
Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.