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How to Stay Out of Debt: Warren Buffett - Financial Future of American Youth (1999)

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00:00   |   May 02, 2013

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How to Stay Out of Debt: Warren Buffett - Financial Future of American Youth (1999)
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  • one million
  • darker
  • are like a lot
  • talking about your financial future out those figures become applet all of your
  • sleep
  • caught at
  • uh... i'd like to start
  • uh... by posing a problem for you
  • and so i'm just gonna talk for a couple minutes until two q and a because pat
  • what we want to loose talk about what's on your wife but i'd like to think about
  • this for just a second
  • if as we walked out of here today
  • i said i would like to buy
  • ten percent of your financial future
  • i was going to write you a check today
  • from the state forest
  • you were going to give me ten percent of everything you her
  • uh... how much would you want your for that
  • modify one-tenth of you
  • and uh... i may take a little bit incidently so
  • careful what you are
  • all right now
  • well i think it has a lot about that logic
  • cop like that for a few let's see how you're going to check for me today
  • in doing a lot with the money but
  • from the state for if you have to give me
  • ten percent of what you were not
  • i think it would be very foolish
  • of you
  • any of you
  • if you ask for less than say fifty thousand dollars out of the few years
  • before you're out
  • earning money in so i've got a few years of that money there but then i would
  • start getting his royal yacht
  • visual along so
  • i really think that
  • if you thought about it
  • most of you would want
  • for a lot more that i think you'd be right
  • uh... fortunately i didn't make this deal with anybody when i started out so
  • i'm nobody's got a ten percent royally may but
  • uh... i think that
  • fifty thousand what sort of the absolute minimum
  • and if you think about that
  • that means the right today
  • you're worth five hundred thousand
  • because of ten percent is worth fifty thousand in cash today
  • your potential
  • is worth a minimum on a hundred percent faces
  • a five hundred thousand dollars that is the big financial asset you've got it's
  • way more important
  • what you do with that five hundred thousand dollar asset that you all today
  • whether you decide to buy stocks or bonds or whether you put your money in a
  • mutual fund or pick your own stocks or anything of that sort
  • the biggest financial asset
  • that you have going for you by miles
  • is the value of your own earning power over the years
  • so that's really what you should focus on you're focusing on your financial
  • full future
  • that means you should find focus on you
  • because whether your ten percent is worth fifty thousand or a hundred
  • thousand three hundred thousand
  • which would be a five hundred thousand millionaire three million for all of you
  • whether it turns out that be one of the other is really dependent
  • i had a very large part on what you do in the next few years
  • all of you in this room
  • have the brains to do extremely well in life
  • you've all got the energy to do extremely well in life
  • and the question is how do you apply it
  • if you've got a two hundred horsepower motor
  • you get two hundred or spa robert
  • you get your full
  • potential or do you get a hundred or spa our fifty horsepower
  • now there's two things that happen
  • hold you back
  • and getting
  • force power out of here
  • your engine whatever may be all of you have the contentions
  • at one of those the lack of education but that probably isn't going to happen
  • to very many people trump
  • if you don't have a lack of education didn't it if you didn't have a chance to
  • get a decent education life
  • it would make any difference what that potential was because
  • you've ever unblock
  • but the second most important thing
  • and equally as important
  • is in terms of the habits that you develop in terms of what you do with
  • yourself
  • one week
  • hire people
  • we look for three qualities
  • we look for integrity
  • we look for intelligence
  • and we look for energy
  • but they don't have the first one integrity the other two will kill you
  • because if you're hiring somebody without integrity he really want to be
  • done and lazy gotcha major
  • blasting the world you won't want to be smart energetic self
  • smart energetic only goals
  • with integrity
  • but i say well
  • you make your own decision on that you can change
  • your i_q_ or how far you control footballer how high you can jump
  • of the color of your hair very easily
  • but you can
  • elect
  • to have integrity that matches anybody else has and if you match that
  • with intelligence which you have
  • and energy which you have
  • uh... you'll get an extraordinary resulting you'd be very foolish to
  • somebody ten percent of yourself for fifty thousand on the other hand
  • if you don't match it without your potential
  • in a significant part going use
  • and i'll give you a little
  • simple test apply in terms of thinking about the kinda habit she wanted about
  • if you don't have any haven't you want to get you can be
  • it can be lazy who can be prompt you can be it can be
  • late you can be honest you can cut corners of the uh... police forces
  • and those resources for you to make
  • nobody else is going to make room for you
  • and i would suggest that you play this little game with me too
  • think about the person you would most like to be in life
  • submit is one of your contemporaries maybe somebody will orbit pick up the
  • person you admire the most person the you change places with if you could
  • and then write down what you martin
  • just put it on a piece of paper
  • figure out the person that you would
  • least like change places with who really turned you off
  • when you find repulsive
  • and lists the reasons why
  • that person turn you off so much
  • to put those on the other side of the paper
  • and then look at that list
  • and you'll find that everything on the left hand side with which in my and
  • other people
  • the qualities they bring to life
  • truthfulness
  • generosity all kinds of things
  • the finals of things you can do it yourself it's very simple
  • got apply yourself but the habit shoe formed and doing early on a military
  • through life
  • and on the other hand you'll find that
  • the things that make people repulsive
  • selfishness ob noxious use all these things egotism
  • are things
  • but no one has to have if you find those it yourself you can get rid of them as
  • well you get rid of them early so
  • all i suggest is that you're right
  • the right down the list of what
  • which admire
  • what you find uh...
  • contemptible
  • and decide that in other ones on the left
  • i meant
  • add and admired side everyone's you're going to acquire for yourself as you do
  • that when you're young and contrary to the rest of your life this doesn't work
  • if you do it when you're fifty or sixty
  • by then they have a trip to well-formed
  • uh... but if you do it early
  • behavior becomes becomes a habit so
  • if you do that
  • two or three years now to go to the same exercise
  • you'll find out the person you admire the most as yourself
  • i can be a little bags under some circumstances but it does
  • uh... but it's not it's not a bad thing and that you want to be somebody like
  • and you don't want to be somebody picture that you dislike and and uh...
  • formals habits early
  • uh... he basically can't mess i'll give you one other small piece of advice is
  • just a corollary on this
  • and then we'll get to your questions in
  • and that is
  • as a general matters are one piece of specific finance
  • uh... financial advice
  • i would say
  • in onboard credit cards just forget about me
  • uh... where in various businesses issue credit card the american public loves
  • credit cards but if you start revolving debt on credit card you're going to be
  • paying
  • uh... eighteen or twenty percent and
  • you can't make
  • progress and your financial life
  • who are on borrowing money eighteen or twenty percent
  • you can make a lot of money by lending out earlier eighteen or twenty percent
  • over time
  • you can find a way that's good that uh... will borrow from you but
  • you don't want to be on the side of the equation
  • that's always behind in life
  • uh...
  • you know i was lucky i'd saved about ten thousand dollars by the time i got out
  • of school that ten thousand dollars was
  • really worth millions i might have run later on because after you get a family
  • member vaguely expenses role in but
  • but those are my tools to work with but it was only because i was ahead of the
  • game
  • if you're behind a game by ten thousand dollars at some point in paying eighteen
  • or twenty percent interest on it
  • you will never economically you'll never get out of it cell
  • their partner that says
  • i want to know is where i'm going to die so i'll never go there
  • events true international matters as well you wanna figure out where you
  • don't want to be
  • uh... at a time in a void that i get about a dozen letters a day
  • from people who are having terrible problems
  • and there are two reasons why they have terrible problems
  • one is
  • a number of them up had health problems of some sort them and they have really
  • been hit by some or somebody in their family has been hit by some kind of
  • catastrophic
  • uh... illness and that is that
  • you know it's a terrible thing to happen to any family
  • and they get in
  • there are bills they can't pay and and really only society consult that one
  • in terms of protecting people against that but that's just plain bad luck
  • the other one is from people run up credit card debt and uh...
  • they're facing bankruptcy evident from bankruptcy once before
  • and they'll of what your money and they can they can pay the interest on loan
  • pani principled
  • and a half of my letters come from people like that and that that
  • that problem is avoidable
  • catastrophic illnesses not but
  • credit card debt has something to bring on yourself and
  • it's way better
  • it's way easier
  • to stay out of trouble
  • than to get out of trouble financially and and uh...
  • i will guarantee if you're in a big record that you will be in trouble
  • probably the rest of your life in terms of
  • uh... your financial situation on the other hand if you get ahead of the game
  • uh...
  • even as on a very modest scale
  • money is coming in from investing
  • mandira that you're a
  • you b
  • people owe you money or equities oyu ownership
  • and you'll be way ahead of the game compared to paying it uh...
  • it's always been paying them
  • your creditors every month
  • my advice to you this sir
  • if you can't pay for don't buy it
  • it yourself in a position where you can pay for anything and uh...
  • then we'll be glad to see abortion into the rest of furniture market
  • now let's uh...
  • let's have some questions
  • we have a mic out there that
  • people can either go toward the travels around her
  • and i can't necessarily situ well-fed
  • i think that one might touch each size in just raise your hand waitress to come
  • to you
  • we have some electronic like mine
  • anything that's on your mind ask about them
  • gottlieb actual
  • how do you guys people who are innocent
  • and curriculum and to make a pen
  • my keeping families into my non-standard
  • furman that mean uh... performing arts center
  • music
  • how would you advise as to
  • keep
  • out financially weakness in the world
  • but stroop
  • that our market system
  • uh...
  • does not pay as well in some and spend some activities as
  • might seem appropriate
  • for the importance of those activities the society
  • just a teaching for example on the teaching does not pay well
  • what could be more important i mean you know you've got to be is
  • as interested in who you're too
  • the teachers of your children are schedule your account desert and on
  • uh... whatever
  • firms winning the heavyweight title of the world of that sort of thing but
  • it doesn't it doesn't pay well and and
  • it's a fundamental choice
  • uh... what you're going to go into something it for many people could be of
  • the definable choice where they're going to go into something you love or
  • something then
  • to try to make a lot of money i think that
  • generally it pays to go with what you love
  • uh... i think that
  • it's very hard to find people
  • when they get to be my age
  • say they're on
  • that they've love what they've done all their life and feel was very worthwhile
  • uh... but they're terribly sad they made that choice because they didn't make a
  • lot of money i idon't think anybody ever
  • ever said that to me that they wish they'd gone into something else for this
  • or uncomfortable doing under didn't enjoy it didn't feel very productive but
  • make a lot of money
  • so i don't i don't think you'll find
  • that's why would i would never go to work
  • i would go to work
  • and whatever terms your honor
  • it may turn out to will be more profitable than and you can thank but
  • almost everybody here will make
  • enough money
  • unless they get some terrible habits along the way
  • to do reasonably well and in doing reasonably well in this country
  • really is
  • is uh... is pretty darn good i mean activities
  • it's not necessary to have
  • uh... huge amounts of money in order and your ears of i enjoyed myself when i
  • wasn't
  • and my ten thousand dollars in
  • i live in the same house that i've lived in when i was making when i had about
  • that i bought a forty one years ago
  • i'd like the house and i like the house now
  • if you think about it
  • if you have a reasonable job
  • you'll be eating at mcdonalds and i'll be there top so we're word approach
  • uh... on on food i mean
  • help in fact i was very clear actually in baghdad
  • uh... i think on the dairy queen you'll see me and you can order reading on the
  • menu i can order will be we both can afford it
  • you know you old he'll wear the same clothes i wear i'll pay more for my
  • suits but isn't good for money look cheap on me so well will talk about the
  • same event
  • will both live in the same houses i live in that house from forty one years ago
  • it is it's it's warm in winter and a school in summer and it's comfortable
  • and you live in a house that's been somewhere in that
  • whatever's is a negative you have fifty more rooms orbital guesthouses relented
  • encourages brenda problems i mean you have to worry about that
  • about the uh... greens keeper something when you get through side
  • uh... i'd been in the house is the people
  • uh... where the house is a work uh...
  • all probably two hundred times
  • uh... what my house is worth and i would not be any heparin dose houses at all if
  • i could i'd be less happy i just have one more thing didn't to worry about and
  • you know there
  • dozens of people around the place and
  • people quitting in people stealing from him kinds of these
  • helicopter
  • we drive will drive the same kind of car thank you probably got a better car i'd
  • record about eight years old i don't know what it's worth now but
  • it took me around five and that i i'm pretty happy what will watch
  • what what's the same television you know
  • well will work on the same computer pretty much
  • the only difference will be
  • how we travel long distances
  • fly a plane that
  • more comfortable in
  • when flying southwest airlines or something at which etc
  • i got nothing against babbitt that's the one real big difference and
  • other than that i do what i like every day i hope you you'll know what you like
  • every day to do and uh...
  • i work with nice people i hope you work with nice people
  • and that's this twenty four hours in the day and those are where the hours ago or
  • so
  • great wealth
  • uh...
  • the tiniest bit different
  • uh... in a real stp sense than having just a decent
  • a decent income and uh...
  • and trade
  • a decent income
  • and something you love doing in something where you feel worthwhile
  • doing it
  • huge well for you to trade off a lot of your principles
  • i would be a terrible mistake
  • reviewing that acknowledges success more on yourself helping teachings of others
  • well i had
  • i had the pipe
  • who was very lucky in life
  • uh... if you tell me who your heroes are are uh... i will
  • make a pretty good prediction about how
  • what you're going to do and i i i i have the right heroes i was very lucky in
  • life and uh...
  • my heroes never let me down and starting with my dad
  • and then i had others in business and
  • so i have had
  • great teachers
  • some formal teachers some that were just
  • informal teachers teachers by instinct for example
  • and uh...
  • if i hadn't had those
  • uh...
  • you know mike my life insurer would have been very different if i'd been born any
  • place else when i was i was born in nineteen thirty
  • uh... and
  • at the time
  • one out of fifty burst in the world one united states so i came and against
  • fifty to one odds against being born denied state
  • i would have probably been a disaster you know if i been born in afghanistan
  • or peru or some place and that i was
  • four-to-one i won the lottery today i was born you know by being born in this
  • country so all of you
  • uh... i mean you have you
  • the odds were probably fourteen to one against you being born in this country
  • and uh... the roots
  • five time are likely to been born in
  • insuring their six times as
  • four five times more likely been born in
  • and in india or some other place where would not have been is easy
  • to exploit them
  • for potentially account so we will won the lottery in that respect them
  • and that's just plain luck
  • i mean that uh...
  • and i was lucky to be born at this time and the capital allocation
  • is something
  • it pays off extremely well in the society now
  • but it doesn't pay off in other societies in that
  • didn't pay off you know many years ago my but friend bill gates says that if i
  • would have been born a few thousand years ago i have been some animals
  • launch
  • i can't run very fast i can't climb trees and you know i just happen
  • those are talented nobody asked me to climb trees now but uh...
  • there was a time when i'm out of an important can
  • incidently bill would have been some animals breakfast and he can not so fast
  • leader but
  • event uh...
  • what we are lucky
  • we just imagine being part of a hundred years ago exactly the same talents and
  • how far they were thinking of that
  • of the average person the bailiff so much better than that
  • the richest person would
  • uh... hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago cell
  • uh...
  • morgan at respective lucky to be
  • one of terrific parents
  • i was lucky to be raise them online again i think in a great public school
  • system i gotta start here
  • in the first eight grades
  • they gave me a foundation
  • that later when i went off the track a few times
  • uh... carried me through because i had a terrific great school education
  • in at writer analog roselle and one of the reasons
  • i havent incidently is kind of unfortunate but i had a great education
  • uh... in part
  • because
  • women were being
  • enormously discriminated against and sold at that time
  • could be a teacher she could be a secretary she could be a nurse
  • you know and i was about a actually and i have to tell what pull in the united
  • states
  • limited to just a few jobs so you had to abundance of talent
  • uh... in those
  • activities like nursing her toward her teaching because
  • uh... a talent
  • with males was spread across
  • every act every formal worked activity there was no with women it was
  • concentrated in a few areas and that
  • uh... benefit the it's kind of sad because they've been benefit those
  • teachers but
  • but i was very lucky
  • have really been that way
  • uh... all my life and
  • what i do
  • is what i do is important is that what it would be pure dusre governors does or
  • something of sorts
  • and i i think it's quite questionable
  • it pays off enormously well in a market economy like the united states and uh...
  • but that's an accident
  • demanding to any innate ability of mine
  • underlining his marine it's an anti ten omaha central high school a place for
  • you
  • one institution chemistry buffet technology has been agreed country and
  • stimulating the world economy what are your predictions for the future of out
  • of the technology industry and was white is a teacher role in world economy in
  • the united states on download said there's no question strumming world
  • upside down it's it's it's tons done somewhat
  • already but
  • it will than i was just beginning
  • but is moving very fast
  • i met gates on july fifteenth nineteen ninety-one dot there for a fourth of
  • july
  • uh...
  • celebration with a friend
  • and uh...
  • who subsequently died meg greenfield of the washington post and she took us down
  • to those of the gates family
  • he tried to educate me about
  • and he too had better luck with chimpanzees i mean i i was so there's
  • really a disaster but
  • but it's a good teacher
  • but one thing he did told me was that
  • at the time he said
  • you know you've got this model in your head of the world
  • and your model
  • time and distance
  • as very limiting factors and he said they are limiting factors anymore
  • receptivity
  • cost
  • talking to somebody around the world or getting your message in front of
  • somebody or publishing
  • is that it's going to be zero and parcel post a zero doesn't make any difference
  • in
  • you know that was revolutionary
  • it's happening already in a in a very very big way and
  • it's just uh... what eight years later
  • and and it's it's it's exploding so
  • high-tech
  • information technology where we want to call it
  • is changing the world
  • and it's going to change it and ah...
  • very very big way i would change and that's one of things i think about a
  • businesses we buy
  • uh... we announce the purchase of the yesterday
  • uh... by uh... furniture retailer and and and and boston in the boston area
  • you know i think to myself what effect does this new world of in terms of the
  • internet on furniture repairman we have to think about questions like that
  • that the changes will be huge i will be played bridge yesterday
  • uh... with people
  • uh... all over the country but i played it with people all of the world logistic
  • down on my computer and i've got some popcorn ironman khakis and a sweater and
  • i
  • i can have a bridge game in thirty seconds with people all over the world
  • in
  • uh... no cost to add basically
  • now that's a lot different than trying to arrange a game before people a mama
  • hawk anton hugged a one one guy wants to play golf mother wants to watch baseball
  • and its
  • it it just it changes things in huge way
  • we are very fortunate i mean it's
  • indeed agreed to which the united states leads to the world in this area mean we
  • have a lead
  • it's hard to think of who's in second place
  • and fifteen or so years ago
  • this country had an inferiority complex would be hard for you to remember to
  • shoot you weren't old enough to be around them but in the in the early
  • eighties
  • we were wondering whether the germans and japanese were going on everything
  • and if they were going to make all the steel when they were going to make all
  • the cars
  • and everything else and the television sets
  • and we were gonna flip hamburgers that was the standard line
  • and
  • just imagine a short period like fifteen years i've been changed around
  • in an important way that shane to because
  • information
  • a revolution uh... where we had
  • like i said i don't know who
  • i don't know who you would name is being in second place in the world but here's
  • the most important industry in the world
  • and the united states has this incredible position
  • and removing all the time of that position so
  • i think that
  • argues for a very
  • i think it argues for trivia future for the world over time and i think it
  • argues even more for a terrific future with this company our country
  • one of the best place for you to get started now in securing their financial
  • future
  • uh... for forgot to secure their financial future
  • freely youthful
  • well it's not
  • it's a very complicated uh...
  • it goes back to
  • getting full use out of your own talents first
  • i mean there is a twin whether you're going to be earning extra two excerpts
  • react see here
  • uh... twenty years from now
  • is going to be a function
  • awhile well how much talent you have but i'll how well you use the talent you
  • already have
  • and uh...
  • so that is
  • the your best financial future
  • is your own ability
  • and and
  • and here
  • uh... capacity to
  • to use those abilities to their potential
  • and
  • they can take that can be taken away from the kerry kerrigan taxes
  • i mean that
  • you know most things
  • if you are not as a hobby serena stated that they double the taxes than double
  • the taxes that changes
  • your ownership in the property because now
  • in effect the taxing authorities all the more about because they've
  • gotta greater command on the revenue stream
  • uh... sending about
  • uh... almost any assets you have uh...
  • big they and they don't tax what's in your head
  • and they don't act
  • here but what we did
  • start performing when u when you get to work in the morning and
  • finish in the evening uh... to to your potential one of things it amazes me
  • is how people who really do perform well just sort of jump out at you want a
  • running a business when i got out of school
  • you know everybody
  • would behave that way but they don't most people
  • go through life in the sleepwalking and
  • added if you don't
  • you will stand out so
  • the big the biggest thing for your financial futures yourself now
  • beyond that it is always being ahead of the game rather than getting behind the
  • game it's saving a little no matter how you do it i mean i delivered papers i
  • worked at pennies and sold well pulls out a pinball machine i did a lot of
  • things
  • that enabled me gmail in about ten thousand dollars by the time i got out
  • of school
  • uh...
  • ten thousand only goes for now the dead then but it
  • having anything
  • so that your head of the game and not getting behind the game
  • is enormously important i mean just
  • you know if you go to a hundred
  • and regard dash against a bunch of people in life
  • uh... if you couldn't figure it out so that when the gun goes off your ten or
  • fifteen yards ahead
  • instead of ten or fifteen yards behind is going to make an enormous difference
  • in how the race comes out so
  • having having some net
  • resources
  • the member service whether in stocks or bonds in my view let uh...
  • uh... and not having debt
  • when i've done goes off when you get out of school
  • uh... is a huge crossover being behind the game and uh...
  • it may come from dolores paper out in the morning of may come from part-time
  • work someplace but
  • put aside a few dollars for yourself that uh...
  • uh... so that
  • when the time comes in the other
  • yet of the work force uh...
  • your head of the game and not behind and then once you get there don't get behind
  • by buying a lot of things that
  • if you're going to pay for sunday you're paying twenty percent interest in
  • between
  • since bt please stay in maine and school let me ask you questions
  • that they're missing him on the market on this but i think
  • my name is patrick burland from
  • plymouth right
  • i was wondering with the increasing
  • hahahha
  • education today
  • welcome students due to deal with it that's one survivor college
  • well i think that's a tough line and and and i decide that office passes i could
  • and i would encourage you and others as possible and
  • and uh...
  • uh... before that time came out i would say this
  • uh...
  • in my experience
  • in business
  • there's very little difference
  • if any
  • between a very high price business education
  • and what's available a lot of for a lot less money so i i mean i a m
  • i went to the university abreast of lincoln
  • i last year in college i went to work for a couple years before that uh...
  • uh...
  • i learned as much as university breast as i did at wharton at uh...
  • uh... and
  • it's nothing against warner measures that we had a very good school he writes
  • and terrific professors that at lincoln
  • so i i would not assume
  • that if i was paying a few thousand dollars for an education
  • uh... here in the state for example
  • purses pain
  • huge amounts of swear
  • that it was going to make a lot of difference uh...
  • uh... most of the a lot of the education
  • uh... unit you need to be prodded to the right direction an awful lot of it is is
  • is itself
  • the self-taught
  • me andrew carnegie a wonderful thing in this country in terms of libraries and
  • are you spent a lot of time
  • lovers and have locked in at the university will not want what was then
  • the university of mom on the head
  • i couldn't get out for hours and uh... midnight i get so entranced with what i
  • was reading but
  • there's there's all kinds of information available now internet it's so much
  • you know issue that was then so
  • it's out there to be taken
  • it isn't necessary to pay
  • thirty or thirty five oh three dollars a year ago to some
  • uh... big-name school
  • to get the education at all
  • if you're not alone accounting it yet which is about the most important of
  • course you take in business
  • going to tell you not accounting absolutely as well
  • and my view going to you i was going to
  • garber i mean i i see uh...
  • i would i would abed on that and uh...
  • i wouldn't grow up
  • huge bills
  • interviewing a business education out you know if you got to get a medical
  • education
  • i mean there's certain professions worded
  • not be any way around
  • spending a fair amount of money and getting in debt to some degree has been
  • going to make that decision yourself but certainly try to minimize it
  • and uh...
  • uh... and i was sort of i would have figured out
  • how i would
  • campbell that debt
  • and say a five-year period after i got out of school where i would think twice
  • about incurring
  • there's a question up here if we can bring a microphone
  • uh... managed hong kong come here every single minute advisory council
  • uh... what advice would you have for a forming nonprofit organization
  • performing a non-profit organization
  • always tried to avoid form a non-profit organization
  • well i i would bet would depend entirely what a lot wanted accomplish i mean
  • uh... you know it could be one there was a hospital and another thing
  • uh... it over
  • visitors and are so many types of it so i
  • you know you've got to get people that are
  • better experienced in involved
  • uh...
  • internet idea like that and uh...
  • uh... but uh... the defense so much on that
  • on the objectivity
  • you're working at
  • down promises shown here
  • microphone for a long time
  • i mean carhartt right-hand nine west high school
  • and engineer very speedy involved an airplane hampering inclined he think
  • that is very individual and my headline
  • you know i wouldn't say that i am not and i i do certain subject and i think i
  • think
  • europe your model as a citizen for example and all of the walrus god and he
  • is
  • far more so that were involved
  • but i am and uh...
  • incident his predecessor peter came it was too but warmers carried it to new
  • heights so i
  • uh... i don't want to
  • uh... on any mammal for that myself i do some things uh...
  • uh...
  • one of the problems i have that love what i do so much that uh...
  • that'd be a sort of takes over and i'm like a
  • uh... guy that likes to play a lot of offer some things that the liked i liked
  • the business i'm in
  • uh... i've got a family
  • district very actively uh...
  • uh... some my children were
  • worked on
  • almost anything that comes along in the civic area and
  • you know it's
  • you do
  • and and people do what they want to meet the criteria great and and uh...
  • uh...
  • i've never talked to anybody that
  • that enjoyed working in civic activities that india with was very worthwhile
  • after they've done to build something and
  • participating in building something always
  • offline and acting head of the time we have a golf tournament for example
  • september and
  • we raise some money for seventy beverage a good time to nobody's paying any price
  • by doing i'm having a good time to people come running a good time
  • and then we have to show almost two people
  • you should be enjoying things you go on and and you will want to work in civic
  • activities that
  • but interesting that you do the same in politics unconnected
  • you know if if you
  • if you get
  • if you find
  • political ideas drupal apart
  • or politicians who particularly
  • you down if i would really didn't get a lot of self satisfaction out of
  • i working continue doing something worthwhile so i
  • just just follow your instincts on that uh... they my recommendation
  • okay
  • prime minister regret from the ritz out by school
  • prided i guess the old beat youth of today and i question
  • what do you see is the problem the biggest economic problem facing
  • uh... visa today going into the future
  • now on
  • i don't think give that uh...
  • you're going to have enormous economic problems i think you will live in a
  • society
  • where the average person
  • uh... lives better
  • by a significant margin
  • than the average one of the generation earlier two generations earlier that's
  • been the history of this country it's a marvelous country that way
  • when you really have four and a half percent of the world's population
  • you know and and
  • what's been accomplished years incredible fifty three percent of them
  • of the value of corporations that are publicly traded in the world exists in
  • the united states with four and a half percent of population
  • this country always
  • has done well isn't uh...
  • and they say in stocks
  • that you've got should buy stock in the business is so good that even an idiot
  • can run it
  • because sooner or later one well and and
  • that's not terrible advice lessons have been sort of his used in this country
  • from time to time i mean we've
  • we'd have all these problems that have come along if you look back on the ice
  • hundred years and was all the problems this country is going to do
  • integrate a very long list in a lot of people who focused on those problems of
  • the time
  • have missed the bigger picture
  • and the bigger picture
  • is that every generation was better than the one before
  • and that's because of uh...
  • ice because of
  • savings because they didn't enable people
  • to create new tools to do better things as they go on as also
  • due to an environment
  • that lets people realize their potential to a greater degree than most other
  • environments in the world it's far from perfect i mean it's it's it's adult
  • partisan perfect
  • but it is better than anything else
  • around i mean in in this country
  • uh... you've got
  • you don't have some commissar something running haiti
  • you know the of a big business in this country you've got a guy like jack welch
  • and and a fellow like jack welch makes
  • a difference of might be
  • in terms of the productivity of that business over a period of decades and
  • productivity is whatever
  • is what causes the standard of living to rise so anything that
  • a system that throws up the jack welch is of the world to run businesses
  • is going to have an enormous advantage over society that doesn't by heredity
  • or the does it by government edict
  • and we've got
  • we're closer to that society
  • that i've described in than than anything than any other country and it's
  • its lead do to great things and i will continue to lead the great thing so i
  • think
  • i think you've got the best future
  • uh... you know you don't face you don't face a war
  • and you've got a view that you've got a
  • a break
  • uh... you've got a better
  • uh...
  • future in terms of
  • uh...
  • achieving neutral rewards
  • than any
  • generation in history so
  • which encourage places
  • when i get taken upon it by field no
  • don't
  • behind wilkins for millard west high school
  • i was wondering if you or if you could not speak for mister gates were afraid
  • of
  • the impact of white u_k_ on the economy were specifically the stock market bill
  • and and i'm glad you indigestion bring another day because i
  • i'm the last night in the world understand that white too chaotic
  • you know i don't know why this microphones working i don't know you
  • know why lights go on a
  • i flip on the switch of my television and pray i mean i say that's all
  • it's all be i'm a bit
  • i would say that's the smartest people i know in that area
  • uh... in large part
  • think it's gonna be a non-event
  • in this country i don't think against speak for the rest of the world but
  • uh...
  • uh... so i think uh...
  • i think you'll wake up on
  • january
  • first in fine the world doesn't change from december thirty first
  • now i would say that she might you might get a whole bunch of friends a right to
  • checks for a billion dollars on december thirty first and deposit them in
  • you know who knows what'll happen can't lose anything i mean like response and
  • it's a system that's fouled up you know you you might find a lot of money to
  • your account but i wouldn't count on it there
  • where we have that we had without a college activity etc
  • we have about fourteen or fifteen hundred
  • uh... customers on pieces of airplanes with us and we so we've got a hundred
  • we got a hundred and sixty their planes of some of our own flying around and be
  • very interesting to me to see
  • what p
  • advance
  • people on the cell at a time when their money use it would be a very insincere
  • many
  • sign up for
  • january first st
  • twelve oh one boat dealer
  • it wouldn't bother me to fly middle east
  • on january first or do anything else on january first
  • ideally i hope you getting to bird watcher posters plane
  • gamestop
  • and jeannie solace from clint bolick
  • house went and had a decidedly invested time and money and
  • yellow wine
  • businesses that have good economics now what what a good economics will good
  • economics or business that has
  • some kind of a mold around that
  • makes its product or service search location or something
  • a little more time
  • undesirable into the customer than any other sort of comparable product
  • uh...
  • you know the number one candy bar in the last thirty or forty years has been
  • snickers
  • people don't fool around with different candy bars
  • they fool around with different
  • length dresses therefore on the yellow kinds of things but they don't fool
  • around with candy bars
  • because they figured we're going to lay out fifty cents or whatever his input of
  • their mouth and
  • they're not going to run for fifty cents a putting in your mouth looking at
  • herself of competence of twelve forty five cents and put something else i'm
  • i'm also
  • you find that very stable
  • and we like businesses
  • that we think
  • we can figure out where they're going to be in ten or fifteen years
  • i don't know where the information technology businesses are going to be in
  • ten or fifteen years idler snickers bars are going to be in ten or fifteen years
  • are going to be selling just about the spin on the way they do now
  • i don't worry please gum is going to be in ten or fifteen years be is not to be
  • a lot of innovation
  • in in insuring
  • uh... the ended internet soccer cause people to put showing them a dominant
  • least
  • makes me think so but i don't accept but uh...
  • ob
  • it's predictability
  • regarding the sustainability of a competitive advantage some something
  • special about proc
  • so we look for those kind of products
  • and then we look for people
  • but running the business that are honest
  • aane
  • clubs
  • it's easier to find people hospitable because the fine
  • businesses that are
  • going just a wonderful for a long period of time
  • there are a business and look like a rock star wonderful work
  • really about breyer over time
  • but that's what we're looking for m
  • nice thing about it or not to find very many
  • we find one a year
  • that's terrific
  • you don't need a hundred thousand great investment ideas do well
  • you need a couple
  • and uh...
  • the discipline
  • is the most important thing witty brainpower
  • with winnie discipline
  • you don't need a hundred and fifty i_q_ to do what i do
  • you know where you don't need a hundred and forty you know they are in thirty
  • five you may need a hundred and fifteen or something like that and
  • and but she did he disciplined
  • you have to wait
  • until you see the fat pitch to swing up
  • because investing is a noble called strike game you know up if i were
  • baseball player
  • and i only like pitches
  • two inches above my navel
  • and all some guy could run out and he could pitch may you know three or four
  • inches below that i get called on strikes because i've never find
  • officially
  • you can get colorado strikes in baseball
  • you have to
  • you have to swing it pitches that you you don't even necessarily like
  • degree after the county of san two strikes
  • in business
  • units who had anything you can sit there and
  • the paper says general motors of sixty years as john electrical a hundred and
  • fifty years as general dynamics of sixty three
  • and if you'd like this prices you have to swing you can wait there
  • day after day after day after day and there are no called strikes
  • now when you swing when you decide to buy something
  • than enough you swing in this is just right but he
  • it's a marvelous came to the end because there are no called strikes and you can
  • simply wait
  • for that one behind
  • for six months for a year
  • two or three years
  • when you really know what you're doing where you like the price
  • we'd like the people running the business
  • and then you swing in the only need a few swings in your lifetime
  • uh... so that's the way we got a pic businesses we try to stay with with
  • things we understand
  • and that there can be all kinds of wonderful investment opportunities out
  • there
  • but i don't understand i don't know what cocoa beach are going to do next year
  • you know maybe you know but i don't know either
  • i don't know what i don't know what uh... crude oil stocks sell for
  • i don't have to know
  • it's just have to know all of the things
  • at the know what i know
  • pastor noel where the limits of maya understanding hard
  • what i call
  • what my circle conferences
  • and finally able to evaluate five percent of the businesses in the world
  • no problem i just a within a five percent and try and find something
  • and that's most people get in trouble because
  • in investments because they
  • what we did a cheap and i look at the support of salsa
  • they hear about other people making money nothing upsets people so much of
  • their about their friends making money cabinet
  • that's very destructive to discipline because i think i got smart guy next
  • door neighbor's just bought that new car with the money made trading stocks on
  • the internet so i can die
  • well the answers you cannot work dot you will lose money for trade stocks
  • actively
  • and uh...
  • uh... it's it's hard to exercise at this point
  • but anytime you buy something
  • you should be able to take out a
  • one patient a paper
  • i say i'm buying travel more assists sixty-five i'm buying gallagher hundred
  • fifty
  • because
  • and you should write down the reasons
  • to cancel out the sheet
  • it's because somebody told me about a cocktail party last night that's not
  • good enough
  • because because my broker told me about it that's not good enough
  • it's a you've got to have a reason
  • for thinking that it makes an intelligent investor you do the same
  • thing if you're buying a farm apartment house provide apartments are by this
  • parma
  • thousand dollars an acre because i think i can earn sixty dollars an acre on it
  • if quan sells such-and-such destroyed himself such-and-such should be able to
  • such-and-such
  • and you've figured out
  • it's the same reason you're buying
  • businesses and when you buy stocks you're buying a little piece of the
  • business
  • and as part of the most important thing to remember and an interesting is that
  • when you're buying a stock your vital piece of the vote was sent
  • if you're buying it had an attractive price for the business for the whole
  • business
  • you donate money
  • and if you aren't
  • over time you walk money
  • promote michael
  • home reverend jackson jesse jackson charges were there
  • you seem to believe that the moral standards astute today's society will
  • eventually affect this business
  • how you feel this will affect us as youth growing up in nine states he said
  • the most important to stop
  • poetry institute
  • opec disagrees
  • it's byo
  • you reunite
  • well i think
  • very difficult
  • quantify
  • moral standards overtime i mean at that
  • you know you could give you pick out huge weaknesses at any given time in
  • terms of how
  • before the country's behaving and and and and and you'd strike so i think it's
  • normally difficult to quantify
  • uh... i think
  • by and large we have made
  • progress in what i would call institutionalized moral standards
  • in this country
  • i mean the the the uh...
  • uh... bell in terms of slavery in terms of the uh... in terms of them in the
  • women women couldn't vote you know a century ago at uh...
  • uh...
  • half the country were second-class citizens in that respect in a very and
  • they had
  • much lesser rights in terms of inheritance and all kinds of things
  • uh...
  • the income tax
  • uh...
  • did exist
  • a hundred years ago so the idea of taxing people according that
  • to how much the
  • they've benefitted from society in their income
  • uh... didn't exist so
  • i think in terms of institutionalized moral standards
  • the country has made
  • really quite significant progress uh...
  • and uh... in the last hundred years i think you know
  • there's a nor must distance to go i think we're going on the right direction
  • maybe by fits and starts
  • but i think we're going to write correction and i think
  • uh...
  • you know that there is that there will be a
  • it will be a significant costs everybody in this role as they live in a more
  • moral society forty years from now than callosum although i think the odds are
  • that they will
  • i think the country moves in that direction very difficult to do it
  • all kinds of interested
  • work against that but
  • uh...
  • anne and i think the american people want to
  • and then is sought civil rights manitoba
  • television to dramatize what was going on in
  • people don't want europe prefer not to think about it
  • it got through to the conscience of uh... the american people
  • and uh...
  • uh... allot of progress has been made there and there's a lot left to be made
  • but they're it's better that i was
  • and the pace may seem very slow to those people involved and i can understand
  • that
  • uh...
  • the pace
  • you know for woman's suffrage
  • for decades and decades and decades
  • woman could be on a jury
  • that i was reading the trial part sterile
  • which took place in california of nineteen oh ten or eleven
  • uh... there were no women on the jury that one was in a lot of the behavior
  • we're citizens in that sense
  • so it's
  • the moral
  • behavior of the country has my view
  • improved but it uh...
  • uh... them up
  • and it'll continue to improve and i hope you all in this room do your part to
  • help approach
  • matures from central high
  • and uh...
  • wondering how us into stock market so high right now
  • would be smart for us to give
  • to get involved now are to wait till
  • trickles down a little
  • yeah i can tell you whether or not to buy stocks dot generally
  • i think it's important that you save money
  • at on what they want to put the stock market out there dept
  • i don't think is
  • terribly important i think if your interested stocks
  • issued by a and you've got a couple you should buy if you i mean i i don't get
  • any way of running about them
  • better than x printing it when im papers with the same
  • i can guarantee you if you lose money on paper lose real money it's a different
  • experience and uh...
  • i am so i i i think they're think you'll learn more about yourself
  • uh...
  • if you do it that way i bought my first arc
  • when i was eleven i was actually a liberal some of the time and by about
  • three shares of city service preferred
  • thirty-eight panna
  • went down to twenty seven which something i still remember even has a
  • lot of time
  • uh... and then a lot of four and i sold at i'm a five bucks
  • on my free shares after commissions and then i went to two hundred and something
  • so
  • you know i i i probably remember that a little better if i'd been doing it on
  • paper it
  • i thought we were on doing a lot of things between about age eleven and
  • nineteen in the stock market i did shortsighted all kinds of
  • technical analysis i've read every book i could get on the subject
  • i didn't do that well i can do terrible but but i patted agree just while rob
  • but bite
  • that meant by the age of nineteen when i read ben graham spoke of the universe
  • depressed him like that
  • i went and bought this book called intelligent buster just come out
  • and i had an enormous impact on me
  • now if i had done
  • in the previous eight years i've got all over the lot
  • i'm not so sure that that book where the sender background and i was by that time
  • i was prepared
  • to read and read was book which changed my life and actually
  • the incredible life
  • uh...
  • uh... i wouldn't be a part of the if i had written a book
  • part of life is getting
  • when something does happen that's significant
  • you can call us
  • the significance of it and know what to do with it
  • i would say that first eight years before her out
  • it without produced nothing financially to speak of
  • uh...
  • produced a lot in terms of getting my mind preparer
  • but what i really didn't read something that makes sense so i was ready to
  • accept that
  • and i actually went back in
  • when to call me the study under the under graham
  • because of
  • of reading that book of all kinds of things flowed out of itself
  • i would encourage you if you're interested in the field
  • uh...
  • to do a few things but so far but it was intelligence possible
  • i would try to stick with things
  • businesses i thought i understood
  • but still get out that sheet of paper
  • and i'd read i'm doing this because
  • and just trust my reasoning that i go back and review the year later on
  • and see whether what you thought would be true turned out to be true
  • so i would always checked myself
  • i believe in grading myself on everything of doctors have post-mortems
  • and they they do it because they were on from post-mortems
  • uh... and business people don't like to do postmarked when im all i'm i can be
  • on the board of the company
  • building plants are buying companies
  • and everyone two years later
  • tour i check out how the decision turned out does it
  • they can be unpleasant
  • but you learn from post-mortems
  • and uh...
  • you don't wanna learn we burn from other people's mistakes in your own this
  • pattern from a few of your own to and uh...
  • the time to do it is when you're young
  • you can do maybe one more
  • direct assault wonderware
  • maybe maybe two more p
  • well my name is pete wilson from craig improv
  • my question is
  • toward extent do you feel that the government
  • with uh... the current policies of welfare and social security is it
  • financially competent and physically prepared
  • for the future
  • i think i think that
  • the country as a whole is quite
  • quite well prepared for the future of that doesn't mean that
  • with about every policy they have but
  • uh...
  • i think
  • eight we have an enormously rich society
  • and want to reverse a site and they'll get richer
  • uh... everyone isn't going to participate in that somewhat will
  • participate because of
  • physical disabilities either because a mental disabilities other because of
  • shortcomings in the education they receive winner dr all kinds of reasons
  • we have a prosperous in our society
  • to be able to take care of
  • of those people
  • and we should take care of them
  • and how we do what so that they feel most useful in life and how we do it so
  • that we continue to encourage people to be more productive themselves all that i
  • mean those are
  • that easy questions but
  • but that shouldn't take our i'd off the wall of feeling we should do something
  • about it that uh...
  • uh... opt-in i'd put my pose this problem sometimes the people i say let's
  • assume that it's twenty four hours before you're born
  • all of you can take the steps twenty four hours before it went
  • and then she comes to you
  • and the genie says
  • overdrew their again out there
  • will call you go
  • and the jenny says job
  • as you look pretty promising to make
  • i think you've got kind of a sense of fair play in
  • at a good mind
  • and so i'm gonna let you have an extraordinary opportunity
  • i'm going to let you designed the world into what you're going to be born in
  • twenty four hours
  • it's yours
  • you pick out the political rules
  • you pick up the economic rules
  • you pick up the social rules you designed the world
  • and we're more than twenty four hours you're going to be one that i world
  • and that's the world standing just for your lifetime
  • for your children's lifetime fairground shorts lifetime
  • and you having or some of the genie jokes in the past would say
  • what's the catch
  • and jenny said well it's a very slight catch
  • soon went when you're born in twenty four hours you're going to emerge in
  • this world you designed
  • but what you don't know
  • is whether you're going to be born
  • black or white
  • male or female
  • rich or poor
  • brighter retarded
  • able-bodied or infirm
  • in the united states or afghanistan
  • all you know
  • is that you're going to reach into this
  • barrel which now has six billion bowles was withheld representing one person
  • every person in the world
  • and you're going to participate in what i call the ovarian lottery
  • you can take one bought a rubber never get another book that u
  • area one ball not even a merchant
  • now what kind of rules
  • do you wanna have for that society
  • not knowing which ball you're gonna get
  • now that night
  • but deal with the way
  • i think people should think about
  • social policy and if you're born if you're lucky enough to be born this
  • country you've won the lottery already
  • we should have a system in my view
  • that encourages the jack welch is in the bill gates is an all out to work
  • far beyond the time when it has any economic significance to m we want
  • people commanding those resources
  • extremely able the commanding the mets house pets have a how the standard of
  • living moves forward
  • so we should want
  • you know we should one tom osborne
  • go to nebraska we should want we should want bill gates designing software and
  • we don't want a mix up those two hundred well i wouldn't want to go coaching in
  • the press kit uh... sold
  • you what do you want people fill out a system that
  • directs
  • gets people other potential m
  • and puts them
  • in the position where they can do the most good for society
  • which also wanna system for the people get the wrong lol
  • timing somebody's going to get the ball
  • you know that says eighty i'd kill some is gonna get the ball
  • that says this is easier that disease early in life to cripple zone
  • and we've got a rich in our society
  • that we can help we can take care of those people and i think that
  • if your question i think that this society will move more and more in that
  • direction it has the capability of moving more and more in that direction
  • as our resources
  • uh... and our output increases and i think the
  • it has the will to do that in a general way although i can't say they've always
  • been taught to fits and starts so their is no shortage
  • in the united states of resources
  • there's no shortage of output
  • you have to have a system
  • that encourages people
  • to behaved to the limit of their
  • abilities and puts them in the right place
  • but then you have to make sure that everybody gets taken care of two
  • now we can do one more and then we will break
  • put this all over the microphone woman here
  • make the decision
  • hyman's bengal were going on solid
  • and i wanna know how you can to media of extra-large in other places
  • months
  • small question uh...
  • well but obviously does
  • simply because it's
  • is move so far technologically
  • is it's brought it together yahoo and i was over china two years ago when i was
  • right after the time of the women's conference in
  • and uh... in beijing
  • and i was reading
  • the chinese
  • coverage
  • of that conference a and of course it
  • it had nothing to do and what was taking place but the internet was coming and
  • and and
  • you know you couldn't
  • you can access
  • the washington post to the new york times and i i get the washington post at
  • nine thirty year night
  • in effect
  • i never could get that
  • next day on untrue through physical delivery but i'd buy electronic delivery
  • i can read it
  • uh... denver bali earlier the most people in washington to repeat itself
  • ability to communicate
  • and the degree to which the world that have awareness of what's going on every
  • place in the world is just
  • you know it's been applied only
  • and that will help that they wrote them a lot of things that come out of that
  • there plus overtime but that they have been a b
  • the ability of information to be available to everyone
  • worldwide almost instantly instantaneously its
  • it's it's it's to be huge advances and things like medicine for example justice
  • uh...
  • it's it's it's a net plus it has a
  • it has a big affected
  • the definition of media has now been expanded
  • anonymously i mean there were three television networks and
  • in the nineteen and you know in the early nineteen sixties and that was that
  • there were three highways information traveled electronically
  • if the three piece of information were i love lucy and i want something else and
  • something else those with the three choices of information or entertainment
  • that you had
  • first tens and tens of millions of people selling their looking at it too
  • now it's unlimited and that's only for three or so decades so
  • it's just exploded and it'll continue to explore them
  • net i think it's a plus
  • and i think i it's one o'clock i want to thank you all up
  • i wish you well you're going to do a terrific now

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Buffett became a billionaire on paper when Berkshire Hathaway began selling class A shares on May 29, 1990, when the market closed at $7,175 a share. More on Warren Buffett: https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&tag=tra0c7-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=9113f36df9f914d370807ba1208bf50b&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=books&keywords=Warren%20Buffett

In 1998, in an unusual move, he acquired General Re (Gen Re) for stock. In 2002, Buffett became involved with Maurice R. Greenberg at AIG, with General Re providing reinsurance. On March 15, 2005, AIG's board forced Greenberg to resign from his post as Chairman and CEO under the shadow of criticism from Eliot Spitzer, former attorney general of the state of New York. On February 9, 2006, AIG and the New York State Attorney General's office agreed to a settlement in which AIG would pay a fine of $1.6 billion. In 2010, the federal government settled with Berkshire Hathaway for $92 million in return for the firm avoiding prosecution in an AIG fraud scheme, and undergoing 'corporate governance concessions'.

In 2002, Buffett entered in $11 billion worth of forward contracts to deliver U.S. dollars against other currencies. By April 2006, his total gain on these contracts was over $2 billion. In 2006, Buffett announced in June that he gradually would give away 85% of his Berkshire holdings to five foundations in annual gifts of stock, starting in July 2006. The largest contribution would go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2007, in a letter to shareholders, Buffett announced that he was looking for a younger successor, or perhaps successors, to run his investment business. Buffett had previously selected Lou Simpson, who runs investments at Geico, to fill that role. However, Simpson is only six years younger than Buffett.

Buffett ran into criticism during the subprime crisis of 2007--2008, part of the late 2000s recession, that he had allocated capital too early resulting in suboptimal deals. "Buy American. I am." he wrote for an opinion piece published in the New York Times in 2008. Buffett has called the 2007--present downturn in the financial sector "poetic justice". Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway suffered a 77% drop in earnings during Q3 2008 and several of his recent deals appear to be running into large mark-to-market losses.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired 10% perpetual preferred stock of Goldman Sachs. Some of Buffett's Index put options (European exercise at expiry only) that he wrote (sold) are currently running around $6.73 billion mark-to-market losses. The scale of the potential loss prompted the SEC to demand that Berkshire produce, "a more robust disclosure" of factors used to value the contracts. Buffett also helped Dow Chemical pay for its $18.8 billion takeover of Rohm & Haas. He thus became the single largest shareholder in the enlarged group with his Berkshire Hathaway, which provided $3 billion, underlining his instrumental role during the current crisis in debt and equity markets.

In 2008, Buffett became the richest man in the world, with a total net worth estimated at $62 billion by Forbes and at $58 billion by Yahoo, dethroning Bill Gates, who had been number one on the Forbes list for 13 consecutive years. In 2009, Gates regained the position of number one on the Forbes list, with Buffett second. Their values have dropped to $40 billion and $37 billion, respectively, Buffett having lost $25 billion in 12 months during 2008/2009, according to Forbes.

In October 2008, the media reported that Warren Buffett had agreed to buy General Electric (GE) preferred stock. The operation included extra special incentives: he received an option to buy 3 billion GE at $22.25 in the next five years, and also received a 10% dividend (callable within three years). In February 2009, Buffett sold some of the Procter & Gamble Co, and Johnson & Johnson shares from his portfolio.

In addition to suggestions of mistiming, questions have been raised as to the wisdom in keeping some of Berkshire's major holdings, including The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) which in 1998 peaked at $86. Buffett discussed the difficulties of knowing when to sell in the company's 2004 annual report: That may seem easy to do when one looks through an always-clean, rear-view mirror. Unfortunately, however, it's the windshield through which investors must peer, and that glass is invariably fogged.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett