Last weekend, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger hosted the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The duo dazzled and charmed 40,000 attendants in the CenturyLink Center for hours on Saturday—answering questions, telling stories, and imparting a great deal of wisdom along the way. Here are a few highlights:
Buffett on Bogle
Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, was in attendance, and Buffett had him stand for an applause from the crowd. Buffett went on to say, “Jack Bogle has probably done more for the American investor than any man in the country,” which is a bold statement from a man responsible for minting countless millionaires himself.
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley just announced that they are dropping Vanguard mutual funds as an investment option for its clients. They will continue to provide access to Vanguard ETFs, which are growing in popularity, but the exclusion of Vanguard mutual funds seems like an overtly insecure move by the Wall Street giant.
Lesson from Aunt Katie
Buffett told a story this year about his Aunt Katie, who had money in Berkshire Hathaway. But she lived modestly and worked her whole life, and even though she was worth millions, she would write her nephew every few months asking if she was going to run out of money.
Now, there’s something endearing about a frugal aunt writing to her nephew, Warren Buffett, about money problems. But as Buffett advises at the end of the story, “There’s no way in the world if you’ve got plenty of money that it should become a minus in your life.” Be frugal like Aunt Katie, but don’t obsess over a problem you don’t have.
Buffett has used this joke before, but he opened the meeting Saturday by saying, “That’s Charlie. I’m Warren. You can tell us apart because he can hear and I can see.” Now, that casual remark is telling in a couple of different ways. First, it highlights his humility—Buffett has all the notoriety, but Charlie Munger has been his business partner for years. Even so, Buffett introduces Munger first and just casually uses their first names.
Second, it’s self-deprecating. This meeting represents the easiest opportunity for Buffett to just bask in his own glory—he could spend the whole day talking about his accomplishments and receiving praise from all his investors (read: fans). Instead, he makes fun of himself and brags on what great managers he has. It’s no wonder his employees never leave.
Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.