Each year for the last five (which is about when they began streaming the meetings), I am always enthusiastic about listening to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, which prior to social distancing was more like a sporting event than a shareholder meeting.
Oh, for those that may be wondering, Berkshire Hathaway is headed by Warren Buffett age 90 (not Jimmy – being silly here) and Charlie Munger age 98. The name stems from a bankrupt textile company turned massive conglomerate filled with Insurance Companies (Geico) Railroads, and home builders (largest manufactured home builder in US) just to name a few.
Back to the meeting… Buffett honestly says (and it is true) the actual meeting is BOORING and Buffett even discourages folks to listen to the formal section, BUT there is an opening ceremony of such where Buffett has a 5-15 minute planned discussion followed by 3-3.5 hours of Q and A, most of which is known, but a few are sent in live and carefully reviewed and presented by Becky Quick of CNBC.
Finally A Way To Get Through The Meeting
So the last five years were a terrible failure as the attention span drifted before the entire meeting could be consumed…. Hey these guys are 90 and 98 and move at their own pace, but a wealth of VERY interesting opinions as well as knowledge.
This year a freak accidental trial was successful and made for a very enjoyable meeting review.
After finding a replay of the meeting on YouTube then cranking the speed up from 1x to 1.25 to 1.5 and finally landing on 1.75x normal speed, ta dah … the meeting was happily consumed with full 100% attention AND SOME NOTES!
These are in no sort of order, but basically organized as well as possible given the jumping of topics due to open questions – So here we go, hope you enjoy!
(These a not my opinions or thoughts, only a replay of Charlie and Warren’s high points)
Very Pro USA and Complimentary to Capital Creation in the USA
Brings a list of top largest 20 companies in the world, with total domination of USA
Currently have $145 Billion and only need $70 Billion – Current Asset Prices are Not Inviting to Warren and Charlie – Market is too fully priced (Sound Familiar?)
Sold Airlines to allow them to get Federal Funding
Munger Comment – His extra age seems to have loosened his muffler!
Higher State Taxes Chase some smart people away – Silly
SPACS are being created for Wall Street Not Investors and useless use of other peoples money – According to Charlie
Been and actor so long I do not know what I believe – Dogging on politicians and bad CEO’s
Buffett – More Politically PC
Low Interest Rates are causing very high asset prices
Inflationary prices are coming through the home building and other sectors, economy is red hot! Steel and scarcity of product
Furniture store red hot
More inflation going on than meets the eye- Yep
Both Admire Larry Summers convictions to Inflation concerns!
Great Closing Q & A Question:
What was greatest thing learned last year?
Munger: If you are not somewhat confused by what has happened you are not paying attention-
Buffett: Very interested in how this all works out!
Ok, so there you have it. 3.5 Hours condensed into one blog post with some high points that just by chance coincide with some of our thoughts….
Have a Great “Finally Made it Through a Berkshire Meeting” Day!
John A. Kvale CFA, CFP
Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth