- Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger spoke during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting on Saturday.
- Billionaire investors pointed to widespread “gambling” in stocks and criticized Bitcoin as worthless.
- Buffett and Munger also discussed inflation, Robinhood, the pandemic, and the risks of speaking out.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger denounced feverish speculation in financial markets, dismissed bitcoin as worthless and underscored the dangers of inflation during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday.
The Berkshire CEO and his business partner also discussed the pandemic, the risks of getting into political debates, and the drop in value of Robinhood over the past year.
Here are 12 of his best quotes from their meeting, lightly edited for length and clarity:
1. “Sometimes the stock market is quite investment-oriented, and other times it’s almost entirely a casino, a betting room, and that has existed to an extraordinary degree in recent years, encouraged by Wall Street.” (Buffett added that Wall Street makes money “by catching the crumbs that fall from the table of capitalism.”)
2. “Inflation also rips off the bond investor, it rips off the person who keeps their cash under the mattress, it rips off just about everyone.” (He was asked if he still believes that inflation misleads equity investors).
3. “The best hedge against inflation remains your own personal earning power. The best investment, by far, is anything you develop yourself.” (The investor claimed that people will always be willing to pay to see a good doctor or listen to a great singer.)
4. “If you told me you had all the bitcoin in the world and offered it to me for $25, I wouldn’t take it because what would I do with it? I’d have to sell it to you once one way or another. It’s not going to do anything.” (Buffett likened cryptocurrency to farmland, apartments, and other productive assets.)
5. “We weren’t very, very far from having something that could have been a repeat of 2008 or even worse.” (Buffett was reflecting on the massive impact of the pandemic on the market
in the spring of 2020.)
6. “The best thing you can do is basically shut up and not have a bunch of people face consequences they didn’t ask for in the first place.” (The Berkshire boss said he would no longer opine on political issues to prevent his businesses from being boycotted and his shareholders and employees suffering as a result.)
7. “I don’t think we’re smart, I think we’re sane. That’s the main requirement in this business.”
8. “Take away the management fees and I’d bet on the monkeys.” (Buffett suggested that most financial advisers are no better at investing than a bunch of monkeys choosing stocks by throwing darts at a dartboard.)
9. “We have people who know nothing about stocks being advised by stockbrokers who know even less.”
10. “People charge for the skill and offer closet indexing.” (Munger said many fund managers are afraid of underperforming the market or their peers, so they invest in the equivalent of index funds.)
11. “In my life, I try to avoid things that are stupid, evil, and make me look bad compared to someone else. Bitcoin does all three.” (Munger said that the price of bitcoin would likely drop to zero, the crypto threatened the stability of the financial system and made the US government look foolish compared to the Chinese authorities who banned it.)
12. “It was disgusting. Now it’s falling apart. There has been some justice.” (Munger accused Robinhood of encouraging “short-term gambling” and criticized its business model of charging payment by order flow. Robinhood did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment.)