This is a rough transcript of the video interview of Warren Buffett by Charlie Rose which can be found here.
Still Tap Dancing
[00:00:00] Charlie: It’s great to see you
[00:00:01] Buffett: It’s great to see you. I mean I’ve been in Omaha and I think I’ve made, prior to the last week, I’ve probably made two plane flights in two years. You know, one to see my sister and I just a….free at last!
[00:00:21] Charlie: You’re 91.
[00:00:22] Buffett: I’m 91.
[00:00:25] Charlie: Good health?
[00:00:26] Buffett: I couldn’t be in better health. It’s a little discouraging to me that my partner in business life and everything else, Charlie Munger is 98.
[00:00:37] Charlie: And still going strong.
[00:00:37] Buffett: I’m still the kid.Read more: Buffett Interview with Charlie Rose
[00:00:39] Charlie: You have a successor in place?
[00:00:41] Buffett: Oh yeah, we have a successor in place, but he’s not warming up.
[00:00:49] Charlie: You’re not ready to go.
[00:00:50] Buffett: I’m still on overtime, but I’m out there.
[00:00:54] Charlie: You still tap dance to work?
[00:00:55] Buffett: I tap dance to work, Charlie, I’ve always been happy at the work, but I’ve never been happier. I’ve got the most interesting, to me, job in the world. I’ve got people you wouldn’t believe the support me and it takes about four or five. I mean it takes a village, but to a degree, but I’ve got three people sitting right down within 20 feet of me, or 30 feet you know; my assistant Devo Sonic, the fellow that handles all the trades I tell him to do in the morning and money and billions flow in and out. And he takes care of it all, Mark D Millard and I’ve got a chief financial officer Mark Hamburg who knows more than most of the finance offices and legal offices and everything else in the world. And We’ve all worked together for thousands of years and we like each other, and everybody helps me. choose to be better
[00:02:04] Charlie: Choosing who you work with.
[00:02:07] Buffett: It’s everything. I mean you know, I wrote out a little bit about it in the annual report, but the choosing what you do and who you do it with, you can, you know, if you’re like me, you’re gonna spend 70 years or something. My assistant hasn’t worked the whole time with me, but she went to work for Berkshire when she was 17 and she still looks 17, and now, you know, she’ll be with us 50 years I presume. And they know me forward and backward and they accept my eccentricities. They helped me.
[00:02:50] Charlie: What would they be?
[00:02:51] Buffett: But I would say this if you take Mark Millard. I walk in in the morning and I call him first and I tell him exactly, I’ve already done it for today. I tell them exactly what we want to do. And he does it all day and some days good, many days he moves billions of dollars purchases and sales. He takes care of the whole thing.
[00:03:21] Charlie: When do you make those decisions?
[00:03:23] Buffett: I think all the time I’m on the clock at Berkshire all the time.
[00:03:28] Charlie: Walk me through a typical day.
[00:03:30] Buffett: Well, a typical day is I get up usually a few minutes before seven, so I can catch the seven o’clock news and network news. And so I get a few minutes for that. And sometimes I turn on the network news. I was turned on San BC and, I look at what prices are doing and what’s happening in Europe, and what’s happened in Japan. And I then about you know, the market opens our time 8:30, although we’re doing maybe things in Japan or Germany too, and I call mark At 8:00 with a market opening 8:30. And I tell them exactly what to do for the day. And I probably won’t change it during the day. And it’s usually a percentage of something I will say, buy or sell X percent of the trading volume. And I’ll give them a list of things. If there’s a limited price, I’d give him the price, and then he does it all day. I don’t need to check with him. And, and he sometimes does billions of dollars worth of business. He buys the treasury bills which we lost a couple of years. We probably bought 5 billion every Monday. And I would guess, that we might be the biggest buyer. And just week after week,
On his Early Investing Life
[00:05:25] Charlie: You made your first investment when you were 11 years old?
[00:04:54] Buffett: In 1942, 80 years ago, I took $114.75, every penny I’d saved, and I bought three shares of Citi service preferred. Citi Service was a pretty well-known name back then. In fact, in 1920, Cities Service, I think was the fourth-largest company in the United States in terms of the number of shareholders. It was a big company and it had a preferred stock that was selling at 38, that it skipped, and started skipping the dividend during the depression. So it accumulated dividends on it of 60 or 70 bucks. And of course, it was par value of a hundred dollars too, and it was something at 38. At breakfast one morning, I followed little stocks every day, but then I made my plunge and I had, roughly this amount of money. So I bought three. I don’t remember this precisely, but I think I told my dad in the morning, “now let’s move that pop, I call it”
[00:06:37] Charlie: But you felt the thrill of it then
[00:06:41] Buffett: I’d been reading about it and following it. I had literally read every book of the public library that was on the stock market.
[00:06:49] Charlie: By 11? ,
[00:06:52] Buffett: By 11, I’ll guarantee you and some of them twice. I started out reading the ones in my dad’s office, and I just love to read, I read other things too, but, I knew more when I was 11 than I know now in terms of the actual mechanics of the stock. I mean, I don’t know what happens when I put an order now and the machinery of the way orders are executed. Now I wouldn’t know if I sat and worked in a trade room for a day or two, but I don’t really know the mechanics as well, of what happens when an order is processed today. As I did, when I was 11.
[00:07:38] Charlie: what is it you enjoy the most about it because you don’t pick stocks, you pick companies?
[00:07:03] Buffett: Yeah. That’s when I was, but when I was 11, I picked stocks. I had the whole wrong idea. I was interested in watching stocks and I thought stocks were things that went up and down and I charted them. I read books on technical analysis. I read Edwards and Magee I think that was the classic then hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages. And I read that whole thing over and over again. I read everything and I thought the first eight years, I thought the important thing was to predict what stock would do and predict the stock market. And then I read Ben Graham, you know when I was 19 or 20. And I realized that I was doing it exactly the wrong way. And, but it didn’t hurt that I had that background and everything. I rejiggered my mind. And when I read the book, the intelligent investor, from that point, I never bought another stock. I bought businesses that happened to be publicly traded, but I became an owner of a business and I did not care whether a stock went up or down the next day or the next week or the next month or the next year. And I didn’t have any idea what it would do. I didn’t know what the stock market would do, but I knew businesses. I knew something.
And then I read Ben Graham, you know when I was 19 or 20. And I realized that I was doing it exactly the wrong way…From that point, I never bought another stock. I bought businesses that happened to be publicly traded, but I became an owner of a business and I did not care whether a stock went up or down the next day or the next week or the next month or the next year.Warren Buffett
Buy Businesses not Stocks
[00:09:13] Charlie: I’ve asked people about your genius, whatever we describe it.
[00:09:16] Buffett: I’m a bright guy who’s terribly interested in what he does so I’ve spent a lifetime doing it. I’ve surrounded myself with people that bring out the best in me and you don’t need to be a genius in what I do. That’s the good thing about it. If I wouldn’t have physics or a whole lot of other subjects, I’d be an also-ran, but I am in a game, that you don’t need…you probably need 120 points of IQ, but 170 doesn’t do any better than 120. It may do worse, probably do worse, but, you don’t really need brains.
I’m a bright guy who’s terribly interested in what he does so I’ve spent a lifetime doing it. I’ve surrounded myself with people that bring out the best in me and you don’t need to be a genius in what I doWarren Buffett
[00:10:05] Charlie: What do you need?
[00:10:06] Buffett: You need the right orientation. You know 90% of the people, I’m pulling a figure out the air, but 90% of the people that buy stocks don’t think of them the right way. They think about something that they hope goes up next week and think about the market as something they hope goes up and it was down. They feel worse. I feel better.
You need the right orientation. 90% of the people that buy stocks don’t think of them the right way. They think about something that they hope goes up next week and think about the market as something they hope goes up and it was down. They feel worse…(I think about) what’s the company going to be worth 10 or 20 years from now. And I hope it goes down when I buy it because I’ll buy more.Warren Buffett
[00:10:30] Charlie: And what do you think about it?
[00:10:31] Buffett: What’s the company going to be worth 10 or 20 years from now. And I hope it goes down when I buy it because I’ll buy more.
[00:10:42] Charlie: Do you have? you have a competitive spirit clearly.
[00:10:46] Buffett: Yeah. Well, but you gotta be careful about what you compete in, you know, it’s a good thing, I don’t have a competitive spirit in chess or you know, or football or anything like that. No, I just, I’ve been an observer there. I enjoy watching things like that, but I try to keep my competitive spirit in a game where I win.
[00:11:05] Charlie: Do you have a killer instinct?
[00:11:08] Buffett: Nah, not exactly. I’ve got, I wouldn’t call it a killer instinct, but I do know this when I want to do something, I always want to do it big.
[00:11:09] Charlie: What does that mean?
[00:11:10] Buffett: I put my whole net worth in Cities Service Preferred.
[00:11:21] Charlie: $120.
[00:11:22] Buffett: $114.75 cents. I put my whole net worth and, and I’ve never since that day, March 11th, 1942, I have never had less than 80% of my money in American business. You can call them stocks, but I see them as American businesses. I’ve owned a piece of American business for at least 80% at all times. You know, I’ve just, I don’t want to own anything else. I want to own a home and you know, things my family wants and all that, but owning five homes doesn’t mean anything to me because I’m going to be happy in one home. And, and there’s a certain amount of things to go wrong with everything. If I got two homes, I bet I know I’ve got more problems than I don’t have more happiness.
The Joy of Being Trusted
[00:12:19] Charlie: What brings you happiness?
[00:12:21] Buffett: Oh, that. I would have to honestly say that what makes me happiest is what I’m doing. You know, I enjoy two things about it. One I know all went over time. That doesn’t mean I’ll beat everybody else or anything like that. but I mean, the game is very, easy. If you have the right lessons in your mind about what you’re buying, I’m not buying stocks. I’m buying pieces of overwhelmingly American business. And I’m happy, that’s what I’m doing. I’m happy when stocks are going down, I’m happier when stocks are going down because I can buy more of them with the same amount of money. I’d be happy if I were a farmer, I want farmland to go down. So I could buy more acreage. You know, it just makes sense. And I’ll tell you that the second thing I really like. I like being trusted by people. You know, I like to do what I do with partners than do it sitting in a room myself, even though I might make more money that way.
I’m happier when stocks are going down because I can buy more of them with the same amount of money. I’d be happy if I were a farmer, I want farmland to go down. So I could buy more acreage. You know, it just makes sense. And I’ll tell you that the second thing I really like. I like being trusted by people. You know, I like to do what I do with partners than do it sitting in a room myself, even though I might make more money that way.Warren Buffett
[00:13:40] Charlie: you like the idea that people are trusting you with their savings.
[00:13:43] Buffett: Yeah. They just say, look, “I’ve saved money. I don’t know what to do with it.” And they give it to me and, and they don’t, most of them give it to me. I mean, certainly originally, but even now to an unusual degree, you haven’t told me what the idea is, that number is for the lifetime. And then the most of them, I mean, I’ve done this a long time ago. Most of them give it away when they get through. They never quit saving. I mean and of course, I’m sort of their savings machine.
[00:14:16] Charlie: They save it and then give it to you
[00:14:20] Buffett: Yeah. And then they say, keep it and just keep building up. And they don’t do it with the idea they’re going to retire when they’re 65 and then build great castles or anything like that. They just basically a few do, I mean if you spend some money, let Rob, but overwhelmingly, they, if they’ve been saving, when they were 25 and saved a little money, he gave it to me. They’re still saving. There were 11 doctors that we met hilltop house. There was one friend of mine named Bill Angle and he was trying to get these other doctors to join with me. So I don’t know what was in 1958 or 59. I invited 12 doctors to this dinner at Hilltop house and he had me come. And he basically said, “this is my friend Warren. And if you’ve got any brains, you’ll give him some money.” And so we spent the evening and these guys were all probably in their low thirties and 11 of the 12 put in $10,000 each the 12th said to Bill, he said, “well, what happens if we lose our money?” And my friend Bill, I’ll never forget what he said, “well, dummy.” He said, “we’ll form another partnership!”. That was the guy that didn’t invest. He got reminded of this by the other 11 for the rest of his life. And those people stuck with me and, one of them died. Then the last year was in front of my deleted and 101, and his name was Stan Tools. And he came from a little town about 300 people near Omaha. And he became an ophthalmologist and a super wonderful guy in every way. I mean, he helped all those fellow doctors and, you couldn’t have found that final guidance, but two of the other 11, two of them are still alive and the money and the amount of money. I mean, they haven’t built, they could have done anything. I mean, they, they got to look bigger than anybody. But then what about the lives they liked?
[00:16:49] Charlie: and so have you, you live in the same house you’ve lived in.
[00:16:54] Buffett: I’ve lived in the same house since 1958, 63 or 64 years. A quarter of the life of the country. I’ve lived a quarter of the life of the country in one house. And I like being five minutes from the office too. I’m gonna just think if I’d had a 35-minute commute. I’ve gone to the same office now since January of 62. So it’s been 60 years, And Let’s say I’ve saved 30 minutes every day on commute each way.
On Writing the Annual Letters
[00:17:28] Charlie: Let me turn to the shareholder’s letter that you wrote for 2021.
[00:17:33] Buffett: Well, that letter was, I started that letter in my head. I’ve already started next year’s letter in my head, but I started that letter in my head…
[00:17:41] Charlie: Because you can begin to see what….
[00:17:45] Buffett: It keeps forming, but that isn’t a newsletter that comes out, you know. It’s what I want to talk to my sisters. Well, I forged it originally in terms of my sisters who had brought me all their money and Berkshire, they trusted me 60 years ago and they just put it all in and they’re very smart. My older sisters’…died recently, but both of them are very smart and interested in financial matters, but they’re not a nob like me. And so they got other interests too. And basically, be they’ve had to be on their money and they don’t want to hear day today.
[00:18:34] Charlie: So you tell them what’s happened in the last year.
[00:18:35] Buffett: Once a year, It’s like I sit down with them and tell them you know, here’s what might be interesting to you. And that’s, I’m doing that all year in my mind and I’m doing it, I’ve done it. I know what I’m going to talk about next year unless something changes in a dramatic way.
[The anual letter] keeps forming, but that isn’t a newsletter…It’s what I want to talk to my sisters. Well, I forged it originally in terms of my sisters who had brought me all their money and Berkshire, they trusted me 60 years ago and they just put it all in and they’re very smart….both of them are very smart and interested in financial matters, but they’re not a nob like me…Once a year, It’s like I sit down with them and tell them you know, here’s what might be interesting to you. And that’s, I’m doing that all year in my mindWarren Buffett
[00:18:50] Charlie: Can you tell me what that is?
[00:18:52] Buffett: No, but I can tell you this. Last night, you know I went to music man and among the people who were with me was my friend, Carol Loomis. Carol is 92.
[00:19:05] Charlie: She’s a great journalist and writer.
[00:19:11] Buffett: She starts editing. I sent her the report, which I think is perfect, always at the time I said, or the report in I’ve usually December and she keeps sending it back and she, kinda won’t let me send it out without, checking to make sure that I like looking at if I left out a comma or something like that. so right up to the end, but so that the report, although it’s dated February 23rd, that, that report basically it was written in my head for a long time, but it was what I thought was finished probably in December. And then Carol tells me there’s a lot of work to do.
Investing during the Pandemic
[00:19:58] Charlie: No big investments in 2021, because you didn’t see anything that met your requirements.
[00:20:03] Buffett: Yeah, I wrote a report and people can go to Berkshirehathaway.com and they can see exactly what I think and I’ve thought for 40 some years of each report.
[00:20:14] Charlie: But for you to make a big investment. What do you need to know?
[00:20:20] Buffett: I need to know that I think the Berkshire Hathaway is going to be worth more money someday down the road. Not tomorrow. I wanted to do the down if I’m buying something you know, and I would say this, the world has changed a lot since that report was written, but the world changed a lot 2 years ago. Just think about it.
[00:20:47] Charlie: Because of the pandemic.
[00:20:48] Buffett: pandemic. It’s almost exactly two years later. And that happened two years ago and we didn’t know exactly what it was. We didn’t know what the financial result would be. We didn’t know what the result was, you know, I mean, we just didn’t know, but when I wrote my report in February, I didn’t know the pandemic was going to hit, but, you know, a week later, and I didn’t know that the American financial system was on the brake, you know, chaos a few weeks later. And if somebody wants to read a great book that just came out it’s a sensational book called trillion-dollar triage. That tells us on a day-by-day basis, what was going on in March that; well, in my opinion, Jay Powell, he matched Paul Volcker in terms of doing things that needed to be done that day, you know? And it’s a great day-by-day report. The book just came out a couple of days ago.
[00:22:04] Charlie: We expect the fed will raise the rates. Does it remind you of the 1970s?
[00:22:12] Buffett: Everything that happens in the investment world reminds me of something or other, I mean, every day, if it’s a boring day, it reminds me of something. I mean there, but I don’t think that way, all I’m trying to do is buy businesses. Let’s pretend there is no stock market. Let’s say I had to buy these privately, like you buy a farm privately, like a bio department house, private their investments. So you’re looking to say, what can I do with the money I’ve saved. To put it away. So I feel good about getting it back later under any circumstances, but not necessarily on a given moment, but if I have a farm, it’s going to take me a while, but it is. People will be so much better if they actually didn’t have a stock market in terms of buying businesses, but you know…
Let’s pretend there is no stock market. Let’s say I had to buy these privately, like you buy a farm privately, like a bio department house, private their investments. So you’re looking to say, what can I do with the money I’ve saved. To put it away. So I feel good about getting it back later under any circumstances, but not necessarily on a given moment, but if I have a farm, it’s going to take me a while, but it is. People will be so much better if they actually didn’t have a stock market in terms of buying businessesWarren Buffett
[00:23:08] Charlie: You’ve made two huge investments recently. One is Activision.
[00:23:15] Buffett: No, we have two fellows in the office that each, they manage a total about $30 billion between them Ted watch learn and Todd homes,
[00:23:27] Charlie: Two people you chose.
[00:23:28] Buffett: They’ve been with us for about 10 years each. They have total authority over the monthly investment. They’re just as independent in buying things as I am. I mean, If they decide to buy something in a country I’ve never heard of and the stock, they don’t ask me.
[00:23:47] Charlie: But are you saying that maybe they were decided to..
[00:23:50] Buffett: well, I’ve actually said that one of those I’m sort of very clear in, and there’s a letter on, on the website that describes exactly the circumstances. Cause he got misreported in the press originally. And so I have written a letter there because actually a number of secother first pass news organization. Picked up a story without checking whether it was true. I mean, they ran with it without independently reporting it. So they, the one I’m not going to name names, but there are some names in my letter, but they just ran it wrong, a wrong story which had implications on its own. So the letter is up there. It’s going to stay posted forever because it’s the correct record of what happened precisely is that one of the other fellows decided to buy Activision. Didn’t ask me and it’s fine. I mean, he bought it. He bought about, I think I used the figure of $85%. I think when we double-checked, it was $76 or $77, but we’ll list every day. That he bought it at the price. He bought it and the price was reported wrong by the press and that it was picked up by a whole bunch of other organizations and printed as wrong. And so millions of people read an incorrect story. And so we’ll have it at the annual meeting. I think I’ll have a slide if anybody asked me for it, let me show everyday purchases, the exact price. And that was done by one of the fellows in the office now. And that was like I say, $77 was in October and the rest was in early November and he paid, he paid about $77 a share and you can buy it today. And Microsoft announced. The first story said weeks later, which makes us all like two or three or four weeks later it was 12 weeks later, months later.
[00:26:03] Charlie: So this was months before Microsoft decided to acquire Activision.
[00:26:09] Buffett: The other guy like that as a stock, as a business. And so it was buying it and he paid an average of $77 a share and we will have a list of every day at every price. And then I guess it was well, there was a big expose type, story run and but he wasn’t buying during any of that period. And then the preliminary proxy came out has been filed with the SCC by Activision deciding, describing the history of the deal was to when Microsoft came to them and it was an It was sometime in a couple of months later that Microsoft first approached Bobby Kotick. And then four other people, you can read it all to file with the SEC, And then after it was announced, the stock, you could buy the stock at $78 a share. So the implication, the first story was that it was somehow that somebody made a great deal by getting tipped off or something. Simply not $1 a share after it was announced higher than one of the other fellows paid for about 15 million shares. He still got it.
[00:27:49] Charlie: How about Occidental?
[00:27:50] Buffett: Well, Occidental And we go, well, you know, a couple of years ago we financed Occidental
[00:28:00] Charlie: And had some warrants coming out of there
[00:28:03] Buffett: Vicky, who I’d never met before. And I got a call on a Friday and Bank of America saying that, Occidental’s going to need some money to buy Anadarko. And I think I did not know then they were in competition with Chevron and will I meet with them because they needed a lot of money fast. And I said, “sure, how about tomorrow?” And went back and forth. Or another came up Sunday that Friday. And we met at 10 o’clock in my office on a Sunday. And I said we’ll give you $10 billion under these circumstances. But we’ll do it tomorrow. And you know, that’s not wall street, but that’s, Berkshire. And so and they knew I was good for it. And so we made a deal Monday night, the next day on the night. No, I told our guys, you work all night, all night for them, and we get this thing done on Tuesday,
[00:29:17] Charlie: But is there much negotiation or are you simply saying this is what I will do.
[00:29:21] Buffett: This is what I’ll do. I always say that’s what I’ll do. I mean, you know, I’ve, said, that’s what I’ll do many times. And I’ve always, and, that is all I’ll do.
[00:29:33] Charlie: But this is what you have come to represent. I mean, think of the financial crisis and think of Goldman Sachs but it gave them credibility when they needed it. That Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway had decided to have confidence in them.
[00:29:50] Buffett: We were putting in X, billions of dollars. And then when I questioned where we’re putting it in, it wasn’t an IOU or they all, we send them the cash and it was right after Lehman. And there was a run on the whole economic system. Everybody was the dominoes the numbers were falling. Yeah. Goldman Sachs knew they’d be fine. Although dominoes didn’t fall. And they had to worry about the United States Congress because they were mad at banks. this time they were mad at banks and this particular guy, but they were mad at banks and they really didn’t. Some of them didn’t fully understand what the hell was going to happen.
[00:30:38] Charlie: They were mad because this was a financial crisis.
[00:30:41] Buffett: It was more than a financial crisis. I mean it was a financial crisis cubed.
[00:30:45] Charlie: but it had an origin in financial institutions.
[00:30:49] Buffett: Yeah. A lot of people did a lot of things wrong, but there was plenty of it on wall street, plenty of it on wall street, but there was plenty of what else worked too. I want to emphasize that but, wall street made a lot of money out of doing a lot of things that contributed to the crisis.
[00:31:05] Charlie: Here’s my point Berkshire and Warren buffet merged to a point where your reputation and your credibility. ..
[00:31:19] Buffett: and our money and the body were important. They won’t as a determining factor.
[00:31:27] Charlie: they wanted the money, but they also wanted credibility.
[00:31:31] Buffett: They had to have instant credibility and that’s what they had to have somebody who countered besides people whose position it was to lie.
[00:31:41] Charlie: And how did you build that? Which is an essential part of who you are and Berkshire Hathaway.
[00:31:53] Buffett: Well I started on March 11th, 1942, and I had a father that was the right father now. And I was lucky.
On the Pandemic, the Global Economy and Human Progress
[00:32:03] Charlie: I think that you may have heard this Lennon once said there are decades when nothing happens. And then there are weeks when decades happen.
[00:32:13] Buffett: That’s very well put. And when you’re buying businesses, don’t, don’t call them stocks. When you’re buying businesses where you’re buying apartment houses. Sometimes when you’re buying land, you know, all kinds of things. There are times when you get a chance to act and do something really intelligent may happen once every 10 years, once every 20 years depending on what field you’re in, where you live, what you know, all of that. But most of the important things, there’s a lot of foundational work, but the actual big acts in life, are when you proposed to your spouse, forget all the other stuff. I mean, if you, if you made the right decision and you get the right answer from him or her, you’re 90% of the way home in life.
When you’re buying businesses where you’re buying apartment houses. Sometimes when you’re buying land, you know, all kinds of things. There are times when you get a chance to act and do something really intelligent may happen once every 10 years, once every 20 years depending on what field you’re in, where you live, what you know, all of that…if you made the right decision and you get the right answer from him or her, you’re 90% of the way home in life.Warren Buffett
[00:33:05] Charlie: But also things happen in the world. Like the pandemic
[00:33:06] Buffett: That’s true too,
[00:33:07] Charlie: And it can change everything as it did.
[00:33:10] Buffett: It happened in 1929.
[00:33: 11] Charlie: It happened in 1918 and 19.
[00:33:19] Buffett: I forget when these things were in 1907. I mean, when they closed the stock exchange back in 1914 for a long period of time, people don’t ever think about 9/11. They closed the stock exchange for a few days. And I mean, there are big events in this world.
[00:33:36] Charlie: We’re going through one of them right now.
[00:33:38] Buffett: Yeah. I’m going, we’ll get into discussing that particularly
[00:33:42] Charlie: Allow me this. I mean this is having a huge effect on the world order.
[00:33:51] Buffett: Yeah. But it doesn’t do me any good and it doesn’t do the world any good for me to talk about it. So.
[00:33:57] Charlie: Can we talk about the global economy then, you know, in terms of where we are?
[00:34:01] Buffett: I can tell you where we are, but yeah,
[00:34:04] Charlie: But yeah, let me phrase it this way, in terms of the global economy. I mean when you look at the United States.
[00:34:13] Buffett: the United States is the United States economy, and it’s very easy to look at the statistics on it. I mean, more people, a greater percentage of the American population is, wealthy now or have more income now than they’ve ever had. And if you look at whether the bank of America gives you their average deposit, I mean, you just look at the wealth and that doesn’t mean everybody’s wealthy, but it does mean relative to any other period of time. And I mean, people here have more money now. They get mortgages at lower rates than they’ve ever gotten. So if they want to buy a house or something.
[00:35:03] Charlie: Okay, But is that going to continue. I mean what do the rates are, right? Raising as you know we were in an inflation period.
[00:35:11] Buffett: I’m not going to pick them straight for you, but
[00:35:13] Charlie: What I’d ask you to predict?
[00:35:16] Buffett: Right, today, Charlie, you live in an environment. You live in a new environment where the bottom 2% in terms of income in the United States, the bottom 5 percent, for sure. The top 1% all live better than John D Rockefeller was living when I was six years old, John D Rockefeller was the richest man in the world. And today, you can get better medicine, better education, better entertainment, and better transportation. You can do everything better than equally. You can. I mean, it’s just astounding. That’s in my lifetime, if you wanted to watch a football game, he still had the goal there. And I can sit there with this big screen and they keep showing me the replay. So that explained to me what happened and everything. And maybe everybody doesn’t have a screen as big as mine, but damn near everybody has a screen or has an iPhone or a computer or access to one. And they have access. I mean, when I was, born, you know, the dentist didn’t use navigate. I mean,
[00:36:42] Charlie: There has been progress and none and nowhere more than in the United States.
[00:36:50] Buffett: Well, relative to the base, maybe more than I make, but there’s no country that’s done what our country has done in seven. If you go back three of my lifetimes, you’re looking, you’ve three lifetimes. You are looking at less than 1% of the world’s population, closer to half of 1%, half a, 1% of the people in the world are sitting in this land. They don’t work harder than people in, the rest of the world. I mean, in terms of hours of unpleasant labor, everybody’s got hours of labor, that aid practically, they don’t come Laden with gold, And you know, they are half of 1% and they work the same hours. They got the same IQs. They may be in little self-selected in terms of enterprise, in terms of going across oceans and fast forward a couple of lifetimes. And they’ve got 20% plus of all the bounty in the world. I mean, something that. Like nothing. We just imagine that if you’ve gone to anybody, constitutional Congress since 1789, if you go to any one of the representatives there and you said, I want to tell you what this place is gonna look like, you know, in three more of your lifetimes, your great, great-grandchildren. are going to be flying in the sky. They’re going to be watching sports all over the world and are going to entertain their medicine. They hold you off to a lunatic society.
[00:38:50] Charlie: But at the same time, as you know, and you hear this all the time, you have 845 billionaires in America, and they have more wealth than the bottom 60%.
[00:39:02] Buffett: That’s true, and that’s up to the government. Government has a proper place as the rule maker, but Henry Ford. By 1922 or three, he was turning out 2 million cars a year. Now, how many could the Ford family use? 30, 40 I don’t know. So 2 million people are getting the benefit of what he’s doing and he’s getting 30,000, he’s getting 50 cars and he’s getting a whole bunch of little claim checks. Just think of it. Everything on Thomas Edison did all the things he did, you know, he made some money, but we better. I mean, we’re using it. It belongs to us. And it doesn’t. If you take what an hour of labor delivered to you a hundred years ago, and what an hour of labor delivers to you now for you and your family? It’s unbelievable.
[00:40:08] Charlie: but that’s an argument for the forward progress as an argument.
[00:40:13] Buffett: it’s an argument for capitalism, but it does capitalism just say, get rid of a referee and a government. We’ve got a government who can tell capitalism what to do. Do you think they do? And that’s what they should do. And they do it in different ways at different times and all kinds of things. But I’ve got this money, which I’ll never, again, you know,but it has value to somebody. I mean, it’s claim checks on future output that’s declining judge bawling to me. So I want to buy 50 superyachts. I couldn’t do it, but What does it mean to me? It can buy more things for other people that are useful. And I know I have everything I want in life, you know, everything. So it’s not evil, but the federal government, is the boss in the end and they shouldn’t screw up capitalism, and capitalism shouldn’t screw up the federal government. It’s very simple.
[00:41:25] Charlie: but does capitalism need to be reformed, itself, As you know,
[00:41:29] Buffett: it’s evolving, always. We started in 1789. We had, we had business and it’s gotten far, unbelievably, more productive for people. And the only thing it can do with what a producer has given to other people, it isn’t like the 50 richest guys in the country can say, I’m just going to eat everything. They’re turning out products that I found. I’m probably the least capable guy in the world of working with it, but it makes life better.
[00:42:07] Charlie: It is the reason that Apple is the richest company in the world.
[00:42:09] Buffett: Yeah. And you had Tim cook on before and you can hear as a company that a guy invents something, all kinds of other smart people do the same thing. Apple, I think sells less than 25% of the smartphones in the world. I know a guy that produces as apple does, but Apple has produced the one that is the most useful to people. It’s an aspirational product. Somebody, you know, a lot of people have made cars, but you got a few survivors that made the ones that people liked the best. And, you know, we would be selling 16 or 17 million cars a year in this country. We have 50 producers or whether we got three and we never used to have.
[00:43:10] Charlie: But here is an interesting fact, as you know, Tesla has more market value than all the other automobile companies combined.
[00:43:19] Buffett: Yeah. That shows what America produces. He’s taking on general motors and Ford and Toyota, all these people, who’ve got all the stuff and he’s got an idea and he is winning. That’s America. I mean you can’t dream it up. I mean, it’s astounding now. You still need a referee.
That shows what America produces. He’s taking on general motors and Ford and Toyota, all these people, who’ve got all the stuff and he’s got an idea and he is winning. That’s America.Warren Buffett
[00:43:51] Charlie: And that’s the government.
[00:43:52] Buffett: Yeah, sure. And you need a judicial system and you know, but that comes with government and we’ve got the best so far. We’ve got the best system. We’ve got a better system than we used to have. We’ll have a better system, 50 years from now.
[00:44:05] Charlie: Why are you so sure.
[00:44:10] Buffett: Well, I’ve seen 91 years of it, I’ve never seen a period where I didn’t believe that.
[00:44:18] Charlie: That it will get better.
[00:44:19] Buffett: Of course.
[00:44:20] Charlie: And every aspect
[00:44:22] Buffett: Not every aspect, we can go backward or something. No, it’s not, but it’s unbelievable what has happened, you know, let me just think. You know, we’ve got civil war, we’ve got a great depression. We have, we’ve had all these things. And we’ll continue. I’ll guarantee you’ll probably get them next year. And the year I’ve been hereafter, but in a herky-jerky, but the dramatic manner, business moves forward. Government moves forward, and more important people move forward.
[00:45:00] Charlie: The thing that you feared the most, and you have said this, is nuclear war.
[00:45:05] Buffett: Yep. It was Einstein. You know, maybe it’s Burton Russell, this one, but he says, this changes everything in the world, the way men think.
[00:45:11] Charlie: you don’t want to talk about the current situation where one of the questions is, what if we end up with world war three and a nuclear catastrophe is a reason you don’t want to talk to me about it because you don’t want to be quoted by people.
[00:45:28] Buffett: I don’t know. I want to talk about it, but,I’m talking about nuclear catastrophes pop past. And the truth is that, well, it was Einstein that said, “I know not what the weapons of world war three will be, but world war four will be fought with sticks and stones”. And that says it all. Yeah, we’ve got the power and other people have the power to essentially destroy the planet. And climate change is important. All of those things. I mean, we, there’s all kinds of things we should be working on, but in the end.. we can destroy that. It’s not just us, we’re going to end the planet, and that it’s, and I don’t want to talk about much more beyond that. I don’t like saying that to people, but it’s true. It was true when Einstein said it, I mean, it’s been true, you know, we came close to the Cuban missile crisis
[00:46:34] Charlie: And it is being talked about now.
[00:46:39] Buffett: All this you talk about,
[00:46:43] Charlie: But let me, before we leave capitalism, in a sense, do you see any changes that businesses ought to do? Because you know, there is, you know, on part of Larry Fink and others. Where does Warren buffet come down on that argument?
[00:47:03] Buffett: I will be talking about a lot of things on April 30th at our annual meeting And that’s what I’m talking about. All of our shareholders at the same time and
[00:47:12] Charlie: The people who’ve trusted you.
[00:47:16] Buffett: yeah and the be there’ll be 40,000 in attendance. And it’ll you know, it’ll be taken around the world and, and that’s when I can talk to all, if they want to listen to it, I will everyone, every one of my partners can hear at the same time on a Saturday. So star merged is not open until Monday. And so I think digest, or like, what should we play or anything else? Cause they can watch it on a CNBC. We’ll be sending in a little bit of watching.
[00:47:48] Charlie: Watching It’s not like being there.
[00:47:50] Buffett: Well, it isn’t for a lot of people, but it’s where we’re going to have in my view, if it were held today and that was what April 30th, but we will have, I think from everything I hear, we’re going to have the largest. Grew up coming along. I think I ever, and I sure hope so.
[00:48:03] Charlie: Do I hear you? And you can tell me I’m wrong here, that all those things that I might want to hear and your partners might want to hear, and everybody wants to hear,
A) because, you know because you are a student of history,
B) Because you have written about the evolution of history in annual letters, as well as in answering questions at annual meetings, but on the questions of war and peace and questions of new world order on the questions of sanctions, on the questions of that inflation, all of those things that I’m enormously curious about, you’re holding back, talking to them until you choose the venue.
[00:48:46] Buffett: And there may be some, it may be a lot of things I don’t feel I should talk about at that time, too, but that is going to be a very, important meeting. And, and I get that time to take all these people who trusted me with their money. Trust me with our future. And I talked to him at the same time and they can ask questions that can be imperfect. I can do anything they want with us. And, I love it. And Charlie loves it,
[00:49:22] Charlie: but you understand my curiosity.
[00:49:23] Buffett: Oh, of course.
[00:49:24] Charlie: And, but do I understand this is an important moment. This is a moment to speak to and we’re in a crucial time.
[00:49:30] Buffett: Yeah, but we’ve been in lots of crucial times. We were in a crucial nine 11. Did we think we were in a crucial time? The world changed in five and I didn’t know how it had changed. The President United States didn’t know how to change. Nobody knew what the hell was going to happen.
Buffett over the years
[00:49:55] Charlie: I want to know how Warren has changed from decade to decade . Do you have a sense of that?
[00:50:00] Buffett: I’ve gotten dumber, but I’ve gotten wiser.
[00:50:04] Charlie: Ah, okay. That’s, that’s a nice phrase, but what does it mean?
[00:50:08] Buffett: It means that I can’t add a group of numbers remotely as fast as I used to be able to. I can’t remember. Sometimes when I walk upstairs, what I, while I’m walking up the stairs, I’m thinking about something else. So by the time I, to the top of the stairs, I don’t remember why the hell I walked down the stairs. It means I forget names so easily. It means that I can’t read as fast as I used to read. I am a decaying machine that still feels wonderful, but I can’t hear as well. I can’t see as well. My balance is good, but it doesn’t interfere With my happiness, my work, anything.
I am a decaying machine that still feels wonderful.Warren Bufett
[00:50:47] Charlie: Especially your work. Well, clearly your happiness, but, but it doesn’t, you know, you’re no standing,
[00:50:56] Buffett: it doesn’t interfere with anything that ages I can get on a plane go anyplace. You know, I can, do anything as long as you don’t ask me to dance or juggle or, or even remember, you know, who did I meet yesterday?
[00:51:14] Charlie: But in terms of the doing the job that you do allocate capital,
[00:51:20] Buffett: I think I can do that as well as ever that’s ever. Yeah, that sounds awful.
[00:51:22] Charlie: But, better than that, do you do it today better than you did it 20 years ago?
[00:51:29] Buffett: No. I’ve got a different set of opportunities
[00:51:32] Charlie: and that gives you obviously. Well, Berkshire is much bigger and that can prevent that defines the choices.
[00:51:42] Buffett: The size restricts, the kind of things that can happen, important effect on what I can do for the people who leave the money with me. So, I can’t earn the returns on capital with 500 billion or a second, or whatever it may be to work. Like if I do something brilliant with $5 billion. It’s 1% of my net worth. I mean,1% of the net worth of people I’m working with and 1% doesn’t move much, you know? So I have to think about big things and they’re limited, I mean, you know, I made money in an entirely different way when I was working with originally $10,000 9,800 to be exactly that. And when I started working with other people’s money, it was $105,000 on May, the fifth of 1956. I had $5,100 put into that partnership. And Berkshire is the outgrowth of that. I went to the house that I was renting. It brought in 75 a month, the other day. I just come back from New York and there’s a little room, I would say, it’s about five feet by eight feet. And I’ve written on the door because I knew the people who owned it earlier. This is where it all started, May 5th, 1956. And I worked out of that little room for two years and moved to the house. And then I got another little room. I worked there for four years and everything I did could double our net worth, you know, I could find, find them all, but I mean, there were thousands of possibilities and I wanted to know every one of them.
The size restricts, the kind of things that can happen, important effect on what I can do for the people who leave the money with me. So, I can’t earn the returns on capital with 500 billion or a second, or whatever it may be to work. Like if I do something brilliant with $5 billion. It’s 1% of my net worth. I mean,1% of the net worth of people I’m working with and 1% doesn’t move much, you know? So I have to think about big things and they’re limited, I mean, you know, I made money in an entirely different way when I was working with originally $10,000 9,800 to be exactly that.Warren Buffett
[00:53:38] Charlie: And they’re not thousands of possibilities now?
[00:53:41] Buffett: Can’t possibly be
[00:53:46] Charlie: Not many whales out there.
[00:53:51] Buffett: No, no, but there’s some.
[00:53:55] Charlie: is that a moment of great exultation when you, when you realize that’s a whale?
[00:54:00] Buffett: Sure.
[00:54:01] Charlie: You know, I see something
[00:54:02] Buffett: I mean if you’re looking for whales for Vermont’s has got to be Let….
Taking on Healthcare
[00:54:10] Charlie: I talk about something that didn’t work. You and Jamie diamond and Jeff Bezos. Healthcare is a huge part of our economy. And here we saw three really smart people representing three enormous institutions and all the money in the world.
[00:54:27] Buffett: all the money in the world. And we had, we trusted each other. Yes, totally. And it was well justified. So I mean, we, we had the, we had good a combination as you could have in terms of resources, flexibility mutual interests, everything.
[00:54:49] Charlie: And what was the intent?
[00:54:52] Buffett: The intent was, well, we had several intents, but I mean, what, we, we had an intent and we had a hope and we did the hopeless, nothing. I mean, we knew that we didn’t know what it was 50 to one, I guess we were 101 against, but, what was the downside.
[00:55:00] Charlie: the problem was so big. It was worth trying.
[00:55:07] Buffett: Yeah, and, and what were the downside dues? Nothing, right. Exactly. Maybe we looked like we couldn’t solve it, which is true, but, that’s okay.
[00:55:16] Charlie: Why couldn’t you solve it?
[00:55:21] Buffett: Oh, it’s three. No, It’s as big as the federal government receipts. I mean, it’s, it employs more people and it’s not a terrible system. I mean, it’s, so much better than it was 20 years ago and 50 years ago, a hundred years ago. So I mean, we’ve got a wonderful medical system
[00:55:45] Charlie: But we’re fighting over it all the time.
[00:55:50] Buffett: Well, I mean, you know, anytime you get a big pie in this country that people fight over, but I mean,
[00:55:55] Charlie: as you know, until Obama did what he did, you know, Clinton failed, and then
[00:55:59] Buffett: No, I think what Obama did was good. I think it was really important progress for the American people. And then the question is how they make it better
[00:56:10] Charlie: and to make it better, what we need to do is
A) bring the price down and,
B) make that accessible to it.
[00:56:18] Buffett: You gotta be sure everyone rich, unbelievably rich country,
[00:56:24] Charlie: like America,
[00:56:25] Buffett: like America can be sure that every single person not only has access but feels he or she has access to that knows that he can get prompt. Reasonably prompt them. You can look on Columbus with pandemics and everything, but reasonably prompt and essentially free. I mean, it was in a free society. Doesn’t pay for it, but the ability to get good medical. Attention fast reasonably fast should exist for every American.
[00:57:08] Charlie: but it doesn’t simple.
[00:57:10] Buffett: we do pretty damn well, but we could do better,
[00:57:13] Charlie: but we’re not first in the world or second or third, or
[00:57:17] Buffett: I listened, I don’t know what medicine, but I know everybody tells me and I believe that we are the best in rate. Many people come to the United States. If they got a lot of money and a lot of things, we are in a way, it touches us, as I understand it.
[00:57:39] Charlie: Mine too. But just to understand what you’re saying, the quality of the medical care is as good as it possibly can be in terms of the best positions, the best therapies, the best
[00:57:48] Buffett: intelligence and great medical schools.
[00:57:50] Charlie: but access is the issue
[00:57:53] Buffett: It’s better than it’s ever been, butit’s got room to go. I mean, it’s, it’s better than it’s ever been Johnny, most things, almost everything is good.
[00:58:03] Charlie: Do any ideas come out of this?
[00:58:05] Buffett: Well, yeah,I think all three institutions are learning something and I think they actually won that much money anyway, but we all got our money’s worth, the sense of just in terms of, you know, we employ 360,000 new books, Amazon, you know, who knows how many they employ and Jamie poison, you know? Fantastic. So we all learned something. Well, we didn’t have any breakthroughs at all.
[00:58:39] Charlie: Here’s what was interesting about it for me was the fact that these three institutions were led by these remarkable human beings smart, and successful, it was taking all that IQ and all of that experience and applying it to a huge problem, you know? and, and you ask yourself, are there other areas in which
[00:59:02] Buffett: yeah, well, you can say that everything we do in the country can be improved, right? Education can be improved. I mean, everything.
[00:59:10] Charlie: Tell me the things that you think we ought to be talking about. I’m going to talk about climate in just a moment. Are there things that you think we ought to be talking about?
[00:59:19] Buffett: I mean, I am happy to tell people that the. The same thing I’ve told them before, but they’ll never get the most she’d most of them, but a few knew that the most, you know, the best thing to do if you want to invest for the long term
[00:59:35] Charlie: is index
[00:59:36] Buffett: and it’s the S&P 500 index. And what’s happened, of course, is that organizations like to grow. So they set up indexes on different industries and different countries. And as soon as you do that, you’re violating basically what Jack Bogle said. He says, you don’t know enough to pick the right businesses, which means, you know, don’t know enough to pick the right countries, right. You know, enough,
[01:00:04] Charlie: Let me get it back and we’ll get there. But we will see a time in which the Chinese economy is bigger than the US economy
[01:00:11] Buffett: someday. You know, they got four times as many people and, logically they will grow and grow and we will be the two superpowers.
[01:00:34] Charlie: are they going to grow as fast as they have been growing.
[01:00:39] Buffett: Noah, I don’t know the answer to that,
[01:00:41] Charlie: but they’ve got some issues. They’ve got to be sure. They’ve got issues. I got issues with debt. They’ve got issues, demographics.
[01:00:49] Buffett: Everybody’s got issues, Everybody’s got those kinds of patent issues. We’ve also got issues throughout the history of the United States.
[01:01:01] Charlie: They’ve all got also had the issues of the environment and climate. The UN just released a report and we have heard it and we constantly hear it. How worried are you about our success in protecting the planet?
[01:01:17] Buffett: Well, the biggest, biggest problem obviously is nuclear weapons, but it doesn’t mean you don’t protect against other things. Right? And that there’s a 1% chance, even the way. I can’t quantify it, but it was, there was a 1% chance of something poisoning the world10 years from now, 50 years now, 100 years from now, that’ll be working on that too.
[01:01:43] Charlie: Are we doing enough?
[01:01:44] Buffett: We’re doing a lot. The problem is, as Carl said, it’s required, it requires the whole world to do a lot.
[01:01:54] Charlie: There are a lot of problems like that, including the pandemic, including the environment that transcends national boundaries and needs cooperation.
[01:02:06] Buffett: The virus, the virus doesn’t need to clear with immigration.
[01:02:12] Charlie: The virus does not have to clear with immigration.
[01:02:13] Buffett: It’s that simple, there’s a lot of other things that aren’t physical viruses.
On Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Charlie Munger
[01:02:22] Charlie: When you look at Tim Cook
[01:02:25] Buffett: I think he is terrific. It’s that simple. I’ve written up the annual report and he is, Tim is a great manager. He’s a great man. He’s a great human being too, but he’s a great manager. He’s an incredibly great manager, but he’s, he’s a great human being.
[01:02:43] Charlie: What do we look for in a great manager?
[01:02:50] Buffett: You look for somebody that has the ability, trust and character.
[01:02:56] Charlie: Ability, trust character.
Charlie: What do we look for in a great manager?
Buffett: You look for somebody that has ability, trust and character.
[01:02:59] Buffett: Yeah. Somebody you can trust, the same thing you want in a spouse. Charlie always says you want to marry somebody better than you are. He says it’s in my case that means the whole world but it’s the truth. I mean, you’ll always want to be around people who were better than you are. They pull you in the right direction.
You’ll always want to be around people who were better than you are. They pull you in the right direction.Warren Buffett
[01:03:22] Charlie: What’s the chemistry. What’s the, what’s the nature of the relationship between you and Charlie? It’s a really long, long relationship.
[01:03:28] Buffett: We met in May of 1959. His father had died. He had worked in the same grocery store as I had in 1940. I worked there in 41 and we never met, I didn’t know his name and his dad was, you know, a well-known all along, but I just didn’t know. I was a kid. We moved to Washington and so it was a name. I never heard his name until I was 19 until 1959 or no, I heard the name, but I met the Davis, maybe 57 or 58. He came to Omaha in 1959. We met. And it’s been, you know, the best relationship except for others I’ve met, you know, and family and so on. But he’s been the person along with Tom Murphy and following Joe Rosenfield, subsequent to my dad that I least that I didn’t want to disappoint. Good to have somebody, you know, that you don’t want to disappoint, It’s enormously important. I think you’re a better person.
[01:04:49] Charlie: Do you disagree on a lot of things?
[01:04:50] Buffett: Well, we’ve never argued. We’ve never had an argument. People say, well, that’s impossible. I’m telling you, we’ve never had an argument. And,
[01:05:00] Charlie: but you could say, I believe this. And he says, I believe this, you just don’t argue about it.
[01:05:03] Buffett: Yeah. But we don’t even say it hardly. We may know where we do that. I would say those are that way. Why bring it up?
I support everything Charlie says, but I don’t agree with it. I don’t mean on that. I mean, that was me. I agree with him on everything and he doesn’t agree with me on everything and we’ve never had a problem with that.Warren Buffett
[01:05:14] Charlie: You know, he, I think has expressed some concern, about index funds.
[01:05:19] Buffett: I support everything Charlie says, but I don’t agree with it. I don’t mean on that. I mean, that was me. I agree with him on everything and he doesn’t agree with me on everything and we’ve never had a problem with that. And since 59.
[01:05:36] Charlie: Jeff Bezos.
[01:05:37] Buffett: Yeah.
[01:05:39] Charlie: What about him?
[01:05:40] Buffett: Jeff is a friend of mine, but I probably see him once a year. I can’t recall ever talking to him on the telephone at the, I have, I’ve never sent him an email. I don’t know how to send emails.
[01:06:00] Charlie: to get the songs.
[01:06:05] Buffett: Yeah, no, I’ve got a system, I literally didn’t know how to send an email.
[01:06:10] Charlie: You seem to have done okay. Without knowing so far, but you once said to me, you know, that the man he’s one of the smartest businessmen and the proof is in the pudding.
[01:06:20] Buffett: I read through that and reports. I see them once a year. I mean, I’ve usually seen them once a year in un valley. And I enjoy that. And actually at Sun Valley at the Allen and company conference, we’ve had a dinner … And so I’ve probably had at least a pair of three or four of those.
[01:06:54] Charlie: It’s remarkable to see a company that was founded on selling books now as a technological giant.
[01:07:03] Buffett: It couldn’t happen but it did when Jeff and McKenzie, …I don’t know whether they drove cross country to New York to Seattle, but if they’d stopped at Omaha, I didn’t know him then, but what do you think of this idea? “Good luck Jeff”.
[01:07:25] Charlie: Yes. But you have told me that he at times would come up to you and have questions. If you were making a presentation at a conference.
[01:07:30] Buffett: Yeah, he’s a very, smart guy. And, you know, I mean, a good bit of his fortune is going to help society in various ways. He’s got his own plans on, on that, but Mackenzie Mackenzie’s joined it. People wrote beautiful letters. If you haven’t read it, go to the McKenzie’s.
[01:07:59] Mackenzie is his former wife?
[01:08:12] Yeah. And go to the giving pledge where we’ve got all the letters and you will not read anything more beautiful than what McKenzie has written
[01:08:16] Charlie: and she’s doing it. She’s doing it. She really made all contributions to teach exactly the black colleges and lots of other things.
[01:08:31] Buffett: Charlie, She is doing exactly, What her inner self is and which is expressed through the letter. She’s written some other things too, but in the letter, she wrote to the giving pledge. She’s expressed a philosophy of life that I think is as good a model as anybody can find, and it’s in that. I’ve only met her twice, maybe.
[01:09:02] Charlie: And Melinda Gates is also, and Bill continues to make a huge impact on philanthropy. And especially during the pandemic.
[01:09:22] Buffett: But do they do it all the time.
[01:09:23] Charlie: They’re on the scene. Then
[01:09:24] Buffett: They do it with time. I mean, they give up time. Time is the most precious thing you’ve got, you know, pretty much. And they do all the time that they are giving something or giving something I’m not willing to give the time that much time to that. I’d rather give my time to a brochure because that’s what I enjoy doing.
[01:09:37] Charlie: And that’s what you do well?
[01:09:43] Buffett: yeah, that’s what I do well, and it produces money and that does well for other people, but it doesn’t it’ll do better if it’s given by other people. And
[01:09:45] Charlie: That was a choice you made when you gave them the choice.
[01:09:49] Buffett: The choice I made a long time ago in terms of Susie and so on. But, but yeah, you know, if somebody’s going to do something with the money. And you found those unclaimed checks on the output of others, the productivity of the world. You can redistribute it to places where it’s needed more. I am all for that. I just don’t want to do it myself. I’d rather do what I’m doing.
[01:10:15] Charlie: Speaking of time. I have a few more minutes of your time. So let me ask these final questions. Have you achieved pretty much everything that you wanted out of life?
[01:10:24] Buffett: Well, the truth is yes, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow too,
[01:10:32] Charlie: Any regrets?
[01:10:34] Buffett: Well, if you look back, you can always say I should’ve done that, but I’d be nuts. If I look back on my life and said, you haven’t been the luckiest guy imaginable, and I will say this aside from sickness and death, everything I thought was bad at the time has turned out well.
I will say this, aside from sickness and death, everything I thought was bad at the time has turned out well.Warren Bufett
[01:11:00] Charlie: And when you say you’ve been the luckiest guy, I assume that means a community and family, but it also means in your case, as you have said often, the country that you live in.
[01:11:13] Buffett: Oh, totally. Charlie. If I had been born in any place, but in the United States, my life would have been totally different, and then suddenly, you know, it helped to have the parent I do, but yeah, what I’d say is essential. It’s given me everything.
[01:11:40] Charlie: And your dad was a man you most admired? Why was that?
[01:11:49] Buffett: Well, I never saw him do anything in his life, that he didn’t believe in. Turned out. didn’t agree with it later on. I mean, I accepted this. Sure. Yeah. I mean, when we sat around the dinner table and the 1930s, I mean, my dad was the most, and I imagine you almost had to say something bad about Rosewell to get dessert or something. But I mean, my sisters and I grew up with that, but that’s okay. He didn’t do anything I did. He’s supported me as long as it was, I was behaving. Okay. And even when I didn’t be able, okay. He never gave up,
[01:12:28] Charlie: What came out this week that you are one of the five richest people in the world on that list was ahead of you was bill gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the man from France or not, what does that mean to you?
[01:12:46] Buffett: Means I can direct the way a whole lot of money goes just back to society. But what really means something to me is the record of Berkshire. That’s what I’ve done. The money flows out of it, but I paint the painting. The world can bid on auctions, but that is fun. And it’s been fun. It’s been way more fun doing it with Charlie than my partner would, it would have been alone. I mean, it’s just incomparable.
What really means something to me is the record of Berkshire. That’s what I’ve done. The money flows out of it, but I paint the painting. The world can bid on auctions, but that is fun. And it’s been fun. It’s been way more fun doing it with Charlie than my partner would, it would have been alone. I mean, it’s just incomparable.Warren Buffett
[01:13:18] Charlie: So the legacy is Berkshire Hathaway.
[01:13:21] Buffett: Oh, sure. And it’s my friends.
[01:13:24] Charlie: That is a perfect segue to my last question. If you were giving one last lecture, what would you want to say?
[01:13:31] Buffett: Oh, I would probably talk about what’s been important to me in life and how they should decide what’s important to them in life.
[01:13:40] Charlie: And so what’s been important to you in life?
[01:13:44] Buffett: It’s all been, whatever it is, I’ve done it, but I’ve got a family. I feel terrific about it, I got a business and I’ve got millions of people who have trusted me.
[01:13:56] Charlie: Thank you.
[01:13:58]Buffett: It’s always fun.