Warren Buffett released his annual letter on the weekend and I had a chance to read it. As usual, it's a light, thoughtful letter full of simple wisdom on investing.
The main themes are the same as always: Be patient and bet on America.
He also delivers a series of one liners in the latest letter, including some good ones from Charlie Munger:
- Don’t bail away in a sinking boat if you can swim to one that is seaworthy
- You have to keep learning if you want to become a great investor. When the world changes, you must change.
- There is no such thing as a 100% sure thing when investing. Thus, the use of leverage is dangerous. A string of wonderful numbers times zero will always equal zero. Don’t count on getting rich twice
Buffett loves to say that he doesn't make forecasts but forecasting the future of companies is as tough as navigating the macro landscape.
One line that read like a bit of a dud but resonated with me was this one:
If you don’t see the world the way it is, it’s like judging something through a distorted lens.
The more I talk to people, the more I realize that's one of the great problems in investing. People invest in the world as it should be or as they want it to be, not as it is.
The question an investor asks himself regarding the Russia-Ukraine war isn't who is right, it's 'how will this end?'. Should the world get off oil and gas? It would be nice. Will it? Not a chance.
I writhe when I hear people on financial networks ranting about politics and how things should be.
Life isn't fair, politics aren't fair and markets will eat you alive if you think they should be.
I've spent some time recently talking with people about AI and what's coming. I would wager that 80% of them take some kind of moralitic stance, like that artists should be compensated.
An investing mind isn't concerned with what should happen, it's about what will happen. The things coming out of AI are far too powerful and useful to be stopped. Even if the law tried to stop them, we'd change the laws because they will unleash so much productivity.
So the question is always: What will happen? What is going to happen?
If you find yourself wondering about what's right and wrong, you're looking through that distorted lens. Few even notice the difference.