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Warren Buffett: How To Turn $10,000 Into Millions (Simple Investment Strategy)

you can't really fail at it unless you buy the wrong stock or just get excited at the wrong time and i would like to just spend just a couple of minutes uh giving you a little perspective uh on how you might think about about uh investments as opposed to the uh tendency to focus on what's happening today or even this minute as you go through and to help me in doing that i'd like to go back through a little personal history and uh and we will start i have here up here in new york times of march 12 1942 and i'm a little behind on my reading and if you go back to that time it it was about what just about three months um since we got involved in a war which uh we were losing at that point uh the newspaper headlines were filled with bad news from the pacific and i've taken just a couple of the headlines from the days preceding march 11th which i'll explain it's kind of a momentous day for me and so you can see these headlines we've got slide 2 up there i believe and uh we were in trouble big trouble in the pacific uh it was only going to be a couple months later that the philippines fell but here we were getting bad news we might go to slide three for march 9th uh uh i hope you can read the headlines anyway the price of the paper is three cents incidentally um the uh and uh uh let's see we've got march 10th up there a slide i'm i want to get to where there's advanced technology of slides i want to make sure i'm showing you the same thing that i'm seeing in front of me so anyway on march 10th uh when again the news was bad full clearing path to australia and it was like it the stock market had been reflecting this and i'd been watching a stock called city service preferred stock which had sold at 84 dollars the previous year it had sold at 55 the year before early in the in january two months earlier and now it was down to forty dollars on march 10th so that night despite these headlines i said to my dad i said i think i'd like to pull the trigger and i'd like you to uh buy me three three shares of city certified the next day and that was all i had i mean that was my capital accumulated uh uh over the previous five years or thereabouts and so my dad the next morning um bought three shares well let's take a look at what happened the next day let's go to the next slide please and it was not a good day the stock market the dow jones industrials broke 100 on the downside now they were down 2.28 as you see but that was the equivalent of about a 500 point drop now so i'm in school wondering what is going on of course uh incidentally you'll see on the left side of the chart the new york times put the dow jones industrial average below all the averages they calculated they had their own averages which have since disappeared but the dow jones has continued so the next day uh we can go to the next slide and you will see what happened the stock that was in 39 my dad bought my stock right away in the morning because i'd asked him to my three shares and uh so i paid the high for the day that 38 and a quarter uh was my tick which is the high for day and by the end of the day it was down to 37 uh which was really kind of characteristic of my timing in stocks that was going to appear in future years uh um but uh uh it was on the what was then called the new york curb exchange then became the american stock exchange but things even though the war until the battle of midway looked very bad and if you'll turn to the next slide please you'll see that the stock did rather well you can see where i bought at 38 and a quarter and then the stock went on actually to eventually be called by the city service company for over 200 dollars a share but this is not a happy story because if you go to the next page you will see that i well as they always say it seemed like a good idea at the time you know uh so i sold those i made five dollars on it it was it was again typical of behavior but when you watch you go down to 27 uh you know it looked pretty good to get that profit well what's the point of all this well we can leave behind the city service story and i would like you to again imagine yourself back on march 11th of 1942 and as i say things were looking bad in the european theater as well as what was going on in in the pacific but everybody in this country knew uh america was going to win the war i mean it it was you know we'd gotten blindsided but but we were we were going to win the war and and we knew that the american system had been working well since 1776.

So if you'll turn to the next slide i'd like you to imagine that at that time uh you had invested ten thousand dollars and you put that money in an index fund we didn't have index funds then but but you in effect bought the s p 500 now i would like you to think a while and don't do not change the slide here for a minute i'd like you to think about how much that 10 000 would now be worth if you just had one basic premise just like in buying a farm you buy it to hold throughout your lifetime an independent and you look to the output of the farm to determine whether you made a wise investment you look to the output of the apartment house to decide whether you made a wise investment if you buy an apartment small apartment house to hold for your life and let's say instead you decided to put the ten thousand dollars in and hold a piece of american business uh and never look at another stock quote never listen to another person give you advice or anything of the sort i want you to think how much money you might have now and now that you've got a number in your head let's go to the next slide and we'll get the answer you'd have 51 million dollars and you wouldn't have had to do anything you wouldn't have to understand accounting you wouldn't have to look at your quotations every day like i did that first day i'd already lost 3.75 by the time i came home from school uh all you had to do was figure that america was going to do well over time that we would overcome the current difficulties and that if america did well american business would do well you didn't have to pick out winning stocks you didn't have to pick out a winning time or anything of the sort you basically just had to make one investment decision in your life and that wasn't the only time to do it i mean i could go back and pick other times that uh would work out even greater gains but as you listen to the questions and answers we give today just remember that the over the overriding question is how is american business going to do over your investing lifetime uh i would like to make one other comment because it's it's a little bit interesting let's let's say you're taking that ten thousand dollars and you listen to the profits of doom and gloom around you and and you'll get that constantly throughout your life and instead you use the ten thousand dollars to buy gold now for your ten thousand dollars you would have been able to buy about 300 ounces of gold and while the businesses were reinvesting uh in more plants and new inventions came along you would go down every year into your look in your safe deposit box and you'd have your three ounce 100 ounces of gold and you could look at it and you could fondle it and you could i mean whatever you wanted to do with it but it didn't produce anything it was never going to produce anything and what would you have today you would have 300 ounces of gold just like you had in march of 1942 and it would be worth approximately four hundred thousand dollars so if you decided to go with a non-productive asset goal instead of a productive asset which actually was earning more money and reinvesting and paying dividends and maybe purchasing stock whatever it might be you would now have over 100 times uh the value of what you would have had with a non-productive asset in other words for every dollar you have made in american business you'd have less than a penny by of gain by buying in the store value which people tell you to run to every time you get scared by the headlines or something disorder it's it's just remarkable uh to me that we have operated in this country with the greatest tailwind at our back that you can imagine it's an investor's i mean you can't really fail at it unless you buy the wrong stock or just get excited at the wrong time but if you if you owned a cross-section of america and you put your money in consistently over the years there's just there's no comparison against owning something that's going to produce nothing and there frankly there's no comparison with trying to jump in and out of stocks and and pay investment advisors if you'd followed my advice incidentally or this retrospective advice which is always so easy to give uh if you'd follow that of course you're there's one problem buddy your your friendly stock broker would have starved to death i mean you know and you could have gone to the funeral to atone for their fate but the truth is you would have been better off doing this than than a very very very high percentage of investment professionals have done or people have done that are active that it's it's very hard to move around successfully and beat really what can be done uh with a very relaxed philosophy and you do not have to be you do not have to be you do not have to know as much about accounting or stock market terminology or whatever else it may be or what the fed is going to do next time and whether it's going to raise rates three times or four times or two times none of that counts at all really in a lifetime of investing what what counts is is having a a philosophy that you've that you stick with that you understand why you're in it and then you forget about doing things that you don't know how to do

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