I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier.
After all, I have owned its shares for almost a decade.
But here I was in Omaha, at the centre of the Woodstock for Capitalists.
I am talking about the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B) Annual General Meeting (AGM), of course.
The year was 2013, almost eight years ago.
But the memories are as fresh as yesterday.
There is no AGM that comes remotely close to this Berkshire Hathaway’s annual event.
No, it’s not just a bunch of executives passing resolutions as fast as they can.
This event was attended by 40,000 people, all descending on the town of Omaha, Nebraska.
It’s a celebration of businesses, investing and most of all, the chance to learn from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.
Of course, we can’t travel to Omaha this year.
Nor are we able to dine at Buffett’s favourite steakhouse, Gorat’s, or gather in large groups.
We do, however, have the next best thing.
The event will be livestreamed exclusively over at Yahoo Finance on 2 May 2021 from 12:30am onwards. You can catch the live stream HERE.
Here’s five reason why you might want to stay up for this event:
1. A full day of investing lessons
Attending the Berkshire Hathaway AGM may be the single fastest way to learn about the ins and outs of multiple key US industries.
The big four, as he calls it, are Berkshire Hathaway’s property and casualty insurance business, Burlington Northern Santa-Fe’s railroads, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s assets and the company’s 5.4% ownership in shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).
Buffett’s conglomerate also plays host to a wide variety of other businesses, ranging from batteries (Duracell), home building (Clayton Homes), undergarments (Fruit of the Loom), manufacturing (Precision Castparts) and more.
Be sure to catch Buffett and Munger break down major industries into simple, understandable terms.
2. Investing advice delivered, gently
Warren Buffett credits Ben Graham as a major force in shaping the way he invests.
But it was not just about the lessons that Graham brought to the table.
In Buffett’s own words, he said that “Although [Graham’s] ideas were powerful, their delivery was unfailingly gentle.”
It’s fair to say that Buffett is paying it forward by keeping his explanations simple and easy to understand for shareholders and the general public.
There will not be any high-sounding language or complicated concepts.
Instead, you can expect investing nuggets of wisdom that you can adopt on your own.
3. Learning as a tribe of like-minded investors
When I was in Omaha eight years ago, the atmosphere was quite unlike anything that I had experienced as an investor.
Fellow shareholders often wore their Berkshire Hathaway AGM ticket even before the event, identifying themselves as a fellow traveller in the journey of investing.
Now, again, we are not able to gather in large groups this year.
But the fact remains: Learning about investing does not need to happen alone.
At the Smart Investor, we have a thriving community of like-minded investors.
All looking to improve themselves. All focused on buying the best businesses we can find.
Click HERE to learn more.
4. Mistakes were made; learn from them
Even the best investors in the world make mistakes.
Buffett, for one, does not shy away from them.
If there is a major error on his part, you can expect Buffett to be upfront about his failings, often addressing them right at the start of the AGM.
In 2011, David Sokol, a key executive within Berkshire Hathaway’s ranks ran afoul of the company’s code of ethics when he purchased shares of Lubrizol before Berkshire Hathaway bought out the company.
Tellingly, it was Sokol who brought the idea of acquiring Lubriozol to Buffett.
Initially, Buffett did not express any displeasure upon finding out about Sokol’s deed.
But at the 2011 AGM, the Oracle of Omaha admitted that he was wrong not to express outrage over Sokol’s move.
Sokol has since resigned.
5. An ode to life-long learning
Buffett will turn 91 years old in 2021.
But if you believe in the adage that an old dog cannot learn new tricks, you’ll be wrong.
The Oracle of Omaha has shown his willingness over the years to let go of old ideas and concepts and adapt to new trends and environments.
After publicly disparaging tech stocks at the height of the dotcom bubble in 2000, Buffett now has Apple shares making up close to 40% of Berkshire Hathaway’s stock portfolio.
As investors, we cannot afford to be set in our own ways.
As the world changes, we have to be willing to learn new things, keep our feet on the ground and commit to a lifelong process of learning.
I am sure that Buffett will approve, too.
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Disclosure: Chin Hui Leong has owned shares of Berkshire Hathaway for almost a decade and continues to do so. He also owns shares of Apple.