Warren Buffet, the “Oracle from Omaha,” is considered one of the most successful investors in history. The investment world may seem complex, Mr. Buffet’s advice is pretty simple. Here are a few Buffet quotes, along with suggestions on putting them to use:
“Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.”
Be prepared to own quality stocks for the long term; over time, your confidence may be rewarded. On the other hand, if an investment is not of high quality, its flaws will be revealed over the years.
“If investors insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”
Trying to “time” the market — that is, attempting to buy when prices are low and sell when prices are high — is a difficult task. Too many people do just the opposite: They try to “cut their losses” by selling when the market is down and then go after the “hot” investment whose price may already be as high as it’s going to go. Mr. Buffet clearly is not in favor of a market timing approach, and those who try to do it, he says, are probably better off by going against the crowd. Keep in mind, though, that even when holding investments rather than trying to time the market, investing in equities does involve risk, including potential loss of principal.
“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”
When should you sell good investments? Never, according to Mr. Buffet. And while this endless holding period may not be possible for all of us, you get the idea: the longer you keep a good investment, the better off you may be when you do sell.
“The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money.”
The lesson here? Be an investor, not a speculator. A long run-up in the market can increase your wealth, but it may also make you prone to risky behavior if you think that all your investments will rise indefinitely.
As an investor, you may well want to consider Mr. Buffet’s ideas— after all, they’ve sure worked well for him.
Information from Edward Jones, provided by Jim Talley, financial advisor at Edward Jones, 2703 Beaver Ave., 279-4179.