Opinion: Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, just turned 98 and has some choice words on inflation, EBITDA and marriage
Many Americans, even those who don’t pay much attention to investing and the markets, know the name Warren Buffett.
Buffett, of course, is the billionaire philanthropist who created one of the greatest investment fortunes in history. Far fewer, however, know the name of his longtime business partner, Charlie Munger.
And that’s too bad, because Munger is at least half the masterminds behind Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A BRK.B, the holding company he runs with Buffett that handles billions and billions of investor dollars.
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Notably, despite his trading prowess, Buffett is a big fan and long-time proponent of low-cost personal investing.
Munger turned 98 on January 1. To celebrate his wit and market wisdom, here’s a collection of quips from various interviews and Q&A sessions over the years.
Read MarketWatch’s interview with Charlie Munger
On business training
Those of you who are about to enter business school, or who are in it, I recommend that you learn to do it our way. But at least until you get out of school, you gotta pretend to do it their way.
On common sense
If people weren’t so often wrong, we wouldn’t be so rich.
On company profits
Yeah, I think you’d understand any presentation using the word EBITDA, if every time you saw that word, you just substituted the phrase “bullshit earnings**”.
On a changing economy
So no, I’m optimistic about life. If I can be optimistic when I’m almost dead, surely you people can handle a little inflation.
On public spending
Everyone wants tax virtue, but not quite yet. They’re like that guy who felt that way about sex. He was ready to give it up, but not quite yet.
On the inheritance
Well, you don’t want to be like the movie director in California. They said the funeral was so big because everyone wanted to make sure he was dead.
On share buybacks
I think some people just buy it to maintain stock. And that, of course, is crazy. And immoral. But other than that, it’s fine.
Warren: Charlie is determined to lower expectations.
Munger: Absolutely. That’s how I got married. My wife lowered her expectations.
On the purpose of money
Of course, there are many things in life that are far more important than wealth. That said… some people get confused. I play golf with a man. He said, “What good is health? You cannot buy silver with it.
About fund managers
The general money management system forces people to pretend they can do something they can’t and pretend to like it when they really don’t. I think it’s a terrible way to spend your life, but it pays very well.
On Systematic Investing
Well, I can’t give you a formula-based approach, because I don’t use one. If you want a formula, you should go back to graduate school. They will give you a lot of formulas that won’t work.
On human nature
As Samuel Johnson famously said, “I can give you an argument, but I can’t give you an understanding.”
On financial innovation
It is perfectly obvious, at least to me, to say that derivative accounting in America is a sewer. is an insult to the sewers.
On commercial competition
Competence is a relative concept. And what a lot of us needed to get ahead was to compete with idiots. And luckily there is a great offer.
I think people who are professional traders getting into cryptocurrency trading, it’s just disgusting. It’s like someone else swapping poop and you decide, “I can’t be left out.”
On investment bankers
I once asked a man who had just left a major investment bank, and I said, “How does your company make its money?” He said, “Up, down, both sides, and in the middle.
And finally, a goodbye
Munger: I think I’ve offended enough people.
Buffett: There are two or three on the balcony!
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