29 Warren Buffett Quotes on Investing, Life & Success

Warren Buffett is obviously incredibly successful. He’s built his wealth long-term to over $89 billion (2018), making him one of the richest men in America. Warren lives by his certain set of values that he uses to invest and make other life decisions. He has some great advice that we can use to be successful.

Take a look at 29 intelligent and inspiring quotes on investing and success from Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most wealthy people.

Want to learn how to invest like Warren Buffett? Start by getting your finances in order with this 14-day Financial Fitness Challenge.

1) Buffett’s Only Two Rules For Investing…

“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No.1”

It is possible for the stock market to price things wrong! You can find wonderful businesses on sale often. Buffett has this to say about the stock market. “Remember that the stock market is a manic depressive.” For any consumer of daily financial news, this will ring true. Equity markets swing wildly from day to day on the smallest of news, rally, and crash on sentiment, and celebrate or vilify the most inane data points. It’s important not to get caught up in the madness but stick to your homework. Always stay rational.

2) The Market Can Price Things Wrong

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

In other words, don’t focus on short-term swings in price, focus on the underlying value of your investment. “Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.” From a man who has made a fortune on companies like Apple, American Express, General Motors, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, and Wal-Mart, this is sage advice.

3) High Returns With Low Risk is the Key

“Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.”

Buffett says, “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.” The advice here is obvious but often forgotten, particularly after investors have had some success. The temptation to believe that success in one area you know well allows you to easily analyze another is much greater once you’ve had some good returns, but should be resisted with vigor. Buffett himself has kept out of the technology sector for the most part, given his lack of knowledge of the sector.

4) Get Around the Right People

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

5) It’s Easier to Look Back Than to Look Into the Future

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

6) Buy Wonderful Companies

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

This quote is very interesting, as frequently, “value investors” will pass on anything that they cannot get for a deeply discounted price. Berkshire Hathaway has taken a different approach and instead focused on investing in the right companies. This was one of Buffett’s early lessons as a value investor, famously told as his turn away from “cigar-butt investing.

7) Your Public Image and Reputation

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

8) It’s OK to Dream Big

“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”

9) Invest for the Long Term

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

Here is a video about Warren Buffett’s investing strategy of long-term investing:

10) Buy It Thinking You Will Hold It Forever

“Our favorite holding period is forever.”

11) People Make Investing Seem More Difficult Than it Should

“The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.”

12) Doing Nothing is Often the Right Thing to Do

“You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.

13) On Finding Honesty in Others

“Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.”

Buffett once said that “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.” In other words, be careful who you trust. Most of the financial “advice” offered by equity analysts, by any range of advisers, and in the media should be taken with a grain of salt. Buffett and his partner have long worked with the same people with whom they have long histories of trust and experience. Any good investor should do the same.

14) Appreciate Where You Came From

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

15) Give Back to Society

“If you’re in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%.”

16) Don’t Make Investing Difficult

“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”

Buffett has made the point that you don’t have to be a genius to be a good investor, but there is a lot of hard work and due diligence involved. There are some basic investing rules that you need to learn, and if you follow those rules, you’ll be successful.

17) Make Your Own Forecasts

“Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.”

18) It’s Usually Best to Just Say “No”

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

19) Do What You Love

“In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.”

20) Actions vs. Results

“You know… you keep doing the same things and you keep getting the same result over and over again.”

21) Invest Only in Companies You Know and Trust

“An investor should act as though he had a lifetime decision card with just twenty punches on it.”

22) Manage Your Time Better

“You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”

23) Great Investors Don’t Diversify

“Diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.”

24) Seize Great Opportunities and Load Up the Truck

“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”

25) History Doesn’t Dictate the Future

“If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.”

26) Choose Your Heroes Wisely

“Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you who you’ll turn out to be.”

27) Make Long-Term Investments Over Short Term Ones

“If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

Investing is not trading and has a vastly different goal, as trading, when done well, is about taking measured risks for discrete periods of time at sufficient volume as to generate profits, and typically involves wild swings in profitability. Investing is about minimizing risk to generate wealth over the long term, not generating short-term profits. Another great Buffett quote in this vein: “The stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient.”

28) Don’t Be Greedy

“…not doing what we love in the name of greed is very poor management of our lives.”

29) Spend Time on Personal Development

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

Did I miss any of your favorite Warren Buffett quotes? Leave a comment in the comments section.

Remember this, Warren Buffett started with $100 and turned it into $30 billion. That means that it isn’t about the money you have, it’s about the knowledge you have. It means there are no real barriers to you getting rich if you’re willing to work hard and learn.

Were you searching for information on Warren Buffett because you want to learn how to invest like him? You can start down your path to financial freedom today by taking this 14-Day Financially Fit Challenge, to get your finances in order and get on track to start investing!


Featured Photo Credit: Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Note: This blog has been updated in 2018 to include new Warren Buffett quotes, current information, and statistics.


Phil Town is an investment advisor, hedge fund manager, 2x NY Times best-selling author, ex-Grand Canyon river guide and a former Lieutenant in the US Army Special Forces. He and his wife, Melissa, share a passion for horses, polo, and eventing. Phil’s goal is to help you learn how to invest and achieve financial independence. You can follow him on google+, facebook, and twitter.

29 Warren Buffett Quotes on Investing, Life & Success | Rule #1 Investing
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29 Warren Buffett Quotes on Investing, Life & Success | Rule #1 Investing
These Warren Buffett quotes will make you feel inspired to start your own financial empire. Get thoughts on investing, life, and business success from a man worth over $76 billion.
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  • Hans Grasman

    I believe another of Warren Buffett’s pieces of advice is: “If you can not afford a 50% down turn in the stock market you should not own stocks.” Something like that.

  • Thank you for sharing Phil. I don’t think you’ve missed any of Warren Buffett’s best quotes. My favourites are the ones about diversification and long term investing. If you would not own a stock for 10 years, you should not own it for 10 Minutes.

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    It’s simple but not it’s easy.
    I like that quote a lot.

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  • BighornNV

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  • I admire his frugality. We are fortunate to learn from Warren Buffett’s ex daughter in law, Mary Buffett.


    • C Money

      Yes, the ex daughter in law is always a fantastic reference.

  • Taylor R.

    Warren Buffett is the man. I’ve been following his advice for years. Here’s some more:

    Rule #1: Pay yourself FIRST.

    Rule #2: Don’t let greedy salesmen/brokers/agents take any of your money in fees, commissions, loads, etc. Do the paperwork yourself with a discount broker – Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade, etc., then invest in no-load mutual funds with no front loads, no back loads, and certainly NO 12b1 FEES whatsoever. It will make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you retire!

    Rule #3: Don’t waste money on stupid stuff you don’t need. Don’t get $100/month smart phone. I pay $20/month with tMobile. Don’t get $100/month auto insurance. I pay $24/month with InsurancePanda. Don’t spend $50/month on your gym. I spend $15/month at Planet Fitness. All these expenses add up and end up cutting into your savings.

    Rule #4 Save at least 10% of your gross income. Join your 401k at work, set up IRAs on your own.

    Rule #5: Again – Pay attention to your savings. As they grow you will feel empowered

  • Doug

    Question on the “Stochastic” tool settings in Yahoo! Finance: Phil’s books describe two numbers: “the first number covers the number of periods, and I use 14 trading days. The second number creates a moving average to provide a trigger point. I like the 5-day moving average. So the two numbers we’ll use are 14-5.”

    Yet in Yahoo! Finance there are 3 numbers that must be input: Length, %K Period and %D Period. For anyone using Yahoo! Finance for the tools, what numbers do you input? Or do you use another web-site for Phil’s settings for the Three Tools?

    Thanks for any light anyone can shed on this.

    • Rich


      It’s 14-5-0 for the Stochastics settings. Best of luck.


      • Doug

        Hi Rich–I hate to be a pain, but in Yahoo! Finance it seems to require a third number. It won’t take a 0. Does it work to put is a 0 for you? Thanks very much –

        • Jon

          I like StockCharts.com. The free charts tab.

          • Doug

            Rich and Jon-thank you. Got it to work fine at Stockcharts.com. I appreciate your help.

  • AngelaW

    Interview With Value Investor Mohnish Pabrai

    * Mr. Buffett is forced today to mostly be a buy and hold forever investor today due to size and corporate structure. Buying at 50 cents and selling at a dollar is likely to generate better returns than buy and hold forever.
    * All I’m trying to do is buy a business for 1/2 (or less) than its intrinsic value 2-3 years out. If you’re buying and holding forever, you need very durable moats. At Pabrai Funds, I’ve focused on 50+% discounts to intrinsic value. The key in these cases is large discounts to intrinsic value and not to think of them as buy and hold forever investments.
    * Munger says all intelligent investing is value investing. There is just one way to invest – buy assets for less than they are worth and sell them at full price. Beyond that, one should stick to one’s circle competence, read a lot and be very patient.

    • Josh

      I stood inline waiting to get into the Berkshire Meeting for 2.5 hours next to Mohnish and Guy. They are very interesting individuals. They are very passionate about what they do. These guys are the real deal. Mohnish is going to be the next buffett. I had a good education in investing just talking to them and their friends.

      • Ryan C

        Wow that’s amazing Josh. You must have been there really early. I read that those guys go very early and sit in the front row! How close did you get to the front?
        Thanks for sharing. I find those two investors very interesting.


        • Josh

          I go every year. We were in line by 5am. We had good seats.

      • AngelaW

        That’s truly amazing! I followed the online blogs the whole day Sat. How was it standing by the two guys? What did you guys talk about? I have watched lots of Pabrai’s talk on youtube. He is not only a brilliant investor but a wonderful being. And that’s huge.
        Wow, did you buy the ketcheup with Buffett/Munger’s pics on it?
        I don’t find Buffett said anything different this round. I wish he could explain better about his investment on the sugarish business, Coke, Heniz etc. while people are moving towards healthier food.
        Waiting for B share to get down to 120% BV…..happened Q1 last yr. Pabrai bought some.
        5 am? You hard core. Hope to see you at the Woodstock of the Capitalism next year!

  • Ryan

    Zinc took a nice drop today on missed earning and a decrease from the previous quarters production rate. I’m currently reading through the transcript but these events appear to be very short term. The market is so short sighted it’s amazing for us.
    Anyone else liking this drop?

  • Garrett


    Don’t listen to the FED when it comes to GDP Forecasts – here’s why:
    They are consistently wrong. I think they try to spread optimism to keep the entire economy from crashing…it’s like the wizard of oz…pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


    To Your Wealth!

  • Angelaw
  • Garrett

    SK, Rich and Fellow Rulers,

    I concur with Rich on his suggestions to your question. I also follow Pabrai, Einhorn, Buffett, Lampert, Watsa and others on their investments because I share a subscription to GuruFocus with my Rule #1 Buddies.

    When the market isn’t giving you good investing opportunities, you trade – using low risk option strategies.

    For example, today in my dad’s account, I did some Bull Put Spreads in GLD and SLV. Very low risk stuff and worse case is we’ll take a small position in the GLD and SLV exchange traded funds at or greater than 5 year lows…and maybe even make more money if it drops further. If it goes up, we’ll make money, if it goes to our option price then we’ll take some shares at great 5 year lows and if it goes below our strike price, we will make money on the way down because we bought a PUT. Not risky stuff at all. And it’s all based on “The Story”…what’s the main story? It’s China has announce that it’s going to follow the example of the United States and print like crazy and export inflation. Our FED hasn’t been successful in getting the inflation they want, but trust me, what the FED wants, the FED gets. Inflation will come. Not sure when. In the meantime, China, India, Russia are buyers of gold. And JP Morgan has been buying Silver for 2 years very aggressively. We just want an edge in case a storm is brewing. And a little trade on the side just keeps us in the game.

    Since China announced the other day that they will be joining the massive global printing money campaign, we can anticipate their version of the “DOW” to go up too. Based on sales, the largest and third largest companies in the world are Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong stock market. (Wal-Mart is second largest in world based on sales). See http://www.forbes.com/global2000/list/. I expect the odds are in our favor that their “DOW” will go up too. And China passed new rules to let foreigners invest in their market. It trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FXI. The average market value of stocks in the FXI is $86 Billion. These are big companies. China Mobile has 800 Million subscribers – put that in perspective to the US Population of about 319 Million.

    According to some material I’ve been reading, in March 9th, 2009 the US Market had a Price to Book Value of about 1.51. Today that ratio is about 2.91…so we’ve seen well over 100% return. How’s that compare to China? China’s Price to Book Value in March 2009 was about 1.37. Today it is even lower at about 1.29 Price-to-Book Value. Chinese government wants growth…they are going to print. If Chinese markets catch up to US Markets, then we are looking at over 100% more in Price-to-Book Value that could get unleashed.

    This is all speculative – it’s trading with and edge – or at least putting the odds in your favor. It’s not investing. It’s being a speculator. But a few things you can’t beat – and one is THE TREND.

    If I were to speculate on the FIX, then I’d trade out of it once it hit a floor. I wouldn’t want to tie up a ton a money in a speculative trade.

    Get into Jeff Town’s class for 6 months and you can make money at will using these types of low risk option strategies like I did in my dad’s account. Just as a quick example – one option strategy I did in my dad’s account in January was on Cameco (CCJ). I’ll spare you the details, but the result was simple…if CCJ went above $15.00 by Jan 2016, he’d get a 20% return on his money. If it didn’t, worse case was he’d have a basis (a starting point to own the stock) at $11.87 (not including divs)…so that seemed like a good entry if it did drop because it was less than the book value of about $12 per share.

    To Your Wealth!

    • Ryan

      How do we get information about Jeff Town’s class? Thanks!

  • Garrett

    Here’s some “propaganda” from the Raymond James firm. Don’t read too much into it. But I did read the quarterly earnings transcript and the long-term story is still intact and improving.
    Cameco’s Cigar Lake has turned the corner, Raymond James says in upgrade • 5:20 PM
    Carl Surran, SA News Editor
    Cameco (NYSE:CCJ) is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with a $28 price target, raised from $22, at Raymond James, which says CCJ’s Cigar Lake uranium project appears to have turned the corner.
    Along with the mostly priced-in nature of CCJ’s tax dispute and an improving macro uranium environment, the firm believes the market is poised for a market re-rating over the next 6-12 months, as Cigar Lake – once a major risk factor – is ramping up well and makes CCJ’s growth guidance more realistic.
    Increased exposure to spot prices through CCJ’s recent supply agreement with India “further adds leverage to this potential upswing,” the firm says.

    To Your Wealth!

    • DrBillRx2

      Not sure why you’re reading a page with Warren Buffett quotes and are using the term “Price Target.” Don’t know you know that price targets are nonsense and make Buffett cringe?

  • SK

    Hi Rulers I have a question.
    When I start looking for undervalued stocks, why shouldn’t I first filter stock that the P/B is low and then from there look for companies I know and understand (I know I don’t understand in oil drilling, biotechnology and technology as a whole)? From there I have a head start in knowing what may be a possible investment. If I do it opposite and first look for what I like and then check the basics I will have to go through much more stocks for no real reason.
    What do you say and maybe share some tips on where you start when looking undervalued company.

    • Rich

      SK – Your question had me pull out my notes from Phil’s workshop back in 2013. He stated there are two main requirements of Rule #1 investing:
      1) Buy a Wonderful Company
      2) Buy It On Sale
      I think the order is there for a reason. Finding your areas of interest and then looking into companies involved in those industries makes us much more engaged in the research required. I don’t have a problem listening to earnings calls, reading financial statements or reading articles about the few companies on my long term investing/stockpiling list. Once you have established a certain skill level and understanding of reading annual or quarterly reports and the rest, that skill transfers over to other companies and their reports and financial statements.

      If you are comfortable with that, I think screening for low P/B is a place to fish for prospects. In Mohnish Pabrai’s, “The Dhando Investor” he lists a number of suggestions of places to look for ideas. Once you come upon a solid prospect he recommends you really “drill down” or as Phil says “an inch wide and a mile deep”. Then if it’s a keeper, it goes on your watch list until it hits your price.

      When you mentioned having to go through a number of stocks “for no real reason” it may seem that way at first but the knowledge is cumulative. After a while it doesn ‘t take long to eliminate many of the companies you come across. I will eliminate 25-28/30 of the “Magic Formula” stocks from Joel Greenblatt’s site in a few minutes.

      What to do as you wait during a fairly valued/over valued market? In a phone conversation with Jeff Town over a year ago he told me, “that’s when you trade”. If you understand Rule #1 cash flow trades there are quite possibly opportunities there. Jeff said you make your big money when your wonderful company is available at a great price and you load up, but in the meantime you can use a small percentage of your portfolio to trade with. At the time of our conversation I conceptually got it and now recently I have been able to more concretely apply the idea.

      So for me it has become… patience…learn…patience…trade…..patience…read…patience… (and at some point) …pounce!

      Hope that was useful. It is kind of where I am at. Of course YMMV.

      • TzuZen

        Rich, you mention the cash flow trades. I attended the 3 day seminar a couple of weeks ago. I’ve completed my back testing (and my homework). The hard part of the testing though was the “when to get out” part. These were clearly laid out, yet didn’t have visual examples with actual data from the back test.

        Where can I find some actual examples to better understand that part? The examples we did in class of the phantom green / phantom red arrows were helpful. Something like that for the cash flow trades would be especially useful.


        • Rich


          Sorry for the delayed reply, I just caught your question…

          By cash flow trades, I was referring to primarily selling premium (Puts) at prices at which I would want to own shares of a particular stock as well as Covered Calls at prices where I was happy to sell.

          At the workshop I attended in 2013, Phil Town had Joey Miller instructing with him. Joey introduced Iron Condor trades on the Russell 2000 for short term cash flow. I believe Phil still teaches a trade on the RUT, but in the form of a vertical spread for a credit vs. an IC. I did the backtesting on TOS for the RUT Iron Condor going back about 6 years and saw the results worked out as promised. I then did the recommended trade myself for 6-7 different months. There was more uncertainty in the trades with money on the line than I cared for and I never felt very confident in my ability to manage these trades effectively. I have not used this particular trade in the last 2 years. The experience did make me more comfortable with making trades however.

          I had taken a 6 month cash flow course through Rule #1 that was then taught by Paul Price (don’t know if that is in place any more?). As part of that program I had a 30 minute phone call with Jeff Town along with weekly classes taught by Jeff. All this helped advance my knowledge of investing in general and cash flow trades and options in particular. Since then I have continued to learn from multiple sources and used Phil’s podcasts to keep looking at things from a Rule #1 viewpoint.

          This long winded response doesn’t help answer your question I’m afraid…. I just don’t have a concrete answer for you. As you continue to read, study and learn some of the answers will come to you, kind of like “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.

          If Bradlewski happens to come upon this, perhaps he will comment. He is often helpful.

          All the best.

  • Garrett

    Rulers (and KS)
    I love this question from “KS” on April 26th:
    KS says:
    April 26, 2015 at 7:14 am
    “Say I find a Wonderful company… what happens if it NEVER gets to a MOS price?
    I’m OK with the idea of sitting in cash, but what if I never had the opportunity to get in and buy the companies I research at a Rule 1 price?”
    Well, KS….it means exactly what you said…you never had the opportunity to buy them – but trust me on this….someday you will. Maybe sooner than you think. I call it FOMO! Fear Of Missing Out!

    Mr. Market will have another crisis. If I had to bet when, I’d say sometime between Sept and Oct this year…and I’d lean more towards September. I’ll just post that as public and we’ll see if I get famous for calling it right…and if I’m wrong, nobody will care!

    What you want to do is just stay up on perhaps 4 companies that you’d really like to own. The easiest way to do that is to join for FREE SeekingAlpha.com and get articles forwarded to you inbox whenever someone mentions or writes them.

    For example, I’ve been doing that with CCJ – Cameco Mining for about 4 years, I finally posted on the blog that I was hinting at buying it. On Jan 23rd it was trading around $14.00 and I bought it for my Dad’s account. Now he’s up a nice little bit

    Yes, we ALL struggle with this the need to do SOMETHING! But there’s just so much more to investing than just stocks. There’s real estate property, gold, silver, land….there are opportunities everywhere. It just takes time to find them.

    Here’s how I deal with the Fear Of Missing Out: I find another wonderful investment. That may mean it’s an investment in a real estate property, trading the RUT, investing in Gold/Silver, sitting in cash, reading investment newsletters, writing to my Rule #1 Buddies, and/or just writing to you guys. I keep my head in the game at all times. I stay focused on the goal and remind myself that it’s a marathon not a sprint.

    I’m immersed in information. Really, it’s too much info….I have to filter it out. There’s no way I can read it all. That’s because over the years I’ve created a group of like minded Rulers who have a passion for investing and learning. We email each other DAILY and we’re always collaborating and sharing info from different investment subscriptions, newsletters, headlines, etc. One person can’t do it all and it helps to have friends who keep you in the game. We share info from GuruFocus, Valueline, Real Money Pro, etc.. We’ll often take turns at signing up for “trial subscriptions” to some newsletter and then share the username/password so we can all dig it at on our own time.

    For example, I just emailed a PDF File to my Rule #1 Wealth Buddies on some opportunities in China and how we can profit if the International Monetary Fund gives world reserve currency status to the Yuan this October.

    There’s just SO much out there to learn – you just have to be in the game for awhile and take baby steps. You can’t do it all.

    And by no means do I have it all together about this investing stuff. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say, “I’VE LOST A TON OF MONEY INVESTING!” But I’m getting better at not losing so much! How’s that for progress?!?

    As your experience and wealth grows, you’ll see other investment opportunities. Learning how to trade and create cash flow using Rule #1 Options Strategies is another way to keep your mind occupied. Just learning that can keep you busy for an entire year – easily!!!

    So KS, you’re doing fine! Post some of your “wonderful companies” and maybe we can take a peek at what price we’d love to buy them today if we had the chance. There are TONS of Newbie Rulers here that could use a little help on VALUATIONS.

    To Your Wealth!

    • ks


      thanks so much for your response. i’m starting to see how it all works together.

      thanks again-

  • Benjamin Gibbs

    Hello everyone,,, Its been a while. (Benjamin Tulsa)

    Ive covered DAR for a long time and i think its a risky play since the company has so much debt now with the acquisitions (would take about 20 years to pay off debt with cash flow). Secondly, their entire cash flow is based on commodity prices. Thirdly, its such an odd industry. The Fat collection business is so fragmented and the biodiesel is really new. I would suggest waiting until the price is just extremely low compared to the value..

    • Mike Mac

      Thanks Ben. Sounds like good advice. I’m staying away for now.

  • Garrett

    In most of my investments, I try to follow the smart money – I like to see a famously successful investor have a stake in what I’m considering as an investment.

    I’ve been considering some hard asset investments lately and talking / researching the best I can. The following info was interesting to me – looked like a “smart money” thing to follow and consider after I read the article.

    1) JP Morgan has been buying HUGE amounts of Silver – and JP Morgan has close ties with the Fed Gov’t – I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the low price of silver could possibly be manipulated.
    See this (short) article – quite interesting:

    2) A friend emailed me some additional info:
    Some examples would include:
    1) central banks around the world have created $37 Trillion dollars out of thin air in the last 7 years.
    2) In doing so they have driven down the bond yields to levels never seen in the last 400 years.
    3) There is over $3 trillion in Bonds around the world that right now have negative yields. Negative yields!
    4) Japan (the most bankrupt country on earth) has doubled their money supply in the last 2 years and have monetized 100% of the govt. debt. all of which has got them nowhere.
    5) Europe is a basket case printing over a trillion dollars in the next year in an effort to drive bond yields even lower. Not learning anything from Japan.
    6) Greece is only 3% of Europe’s economy yet there seems to be an underlying fear of them leaving (or getting kicked out of the EU). Perhaps it’s the derivative time bomb exploding (Warren Buffet’s “weapons of mass financial destruction”) that has everyone on edge.
    7) Those derivatives, including some for Greece, created by the banks total $1.4 quadrillion (that my friends is $1,400 trillion!). The U.S. economy is $17 Trillion/year. Think about that. JP Morgan alone has some $71 Trillion of derivatives on their books right now.
    8) The U.S. is $18 trillion in public debt plus another $100-200 trillion in unfunded liabilities (SS, medicare, etc).

    I could go on and on. The point is the world’s central banks are trying to fix a massive debt problem by creating even more debt. Correct me if I’m wrong but I seen to remember a history lesson about Wiemar Germany who had a debt problem too and tried to print their way out of it. That did not work out well for them. I do not see how this current situation can work out well for the western world either. Why would China, Russia, India all be scrambling for gold? They have to see it too. ”

    Be careful out there. Nothing wrong with using a trailing stop or a stop loss to “get out” as a point of insurance. And remember -“Pay Attention to the Tension” – if you’re looking and thinking about your investments all day, you may have too much invested. Life’s to short to be stressed if your stock is going up or down. Take smaller positions if necessary and do more homework on other companies. There’s always something out there to invest but you may have to increase your understanding, hence MEANING!

    To Your Wealth!

  • Garrett

    Howdy Rulers!
    We spent the weekend watching people be good Rule #1 Investors – We had a big moving sale and sold stuff for pennies on the dollar!

    Our garage is still full of stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be making several trips to donate everything to the local Westminster Rescue Mission. I’m sure our stuff will help make someone’s life more comfortable.

    It’s great to read that some of the blog readers are coming from Phil’s seminars and I hope to be able to provide more valuable and helpful content when life slows down.

    Sometimes Rulers get a little confused on Return on Equity and I thought the following was a good explanation:

    Here’s an example to help us understand ROE.
    Prestige Brands Holdings (NYSE: PBH).

    “The company is holding onto $563 million in “shareholders equity.” This is how much the company would have left over if it sold all its assets and paid all its debt. It’s also known as “book value.”

    It could pay that out to shareholders if it wanted. Or it could reinvest it in its own business.

    Consider this: Prestige Brands earns $72 million a year in income off its “equity stake” of $563 million. That means it’s earning a 12.7% return on equity. (Technically, its return on equity is 13.8%, because you should use the average book value over the course of the year, which was $520 million.)

    If you were an owner with full control of the company, would you prefer to collect the earnings as dividends? Or would you prefer to leave them in Prestige Brands and let them grow at 12.7% a year?

    Clearly, 12.7% is a good return. You can’t count on getting that easily elsewhere. By leaving those earnings to help the business grow at 12.7% a year, the book value of Prestige Brands will double to $1 billion in 10 years.

    If the stock’s valuation, based on book value, stays consistent, you should expect the value of shares to double, too.

    This is why the stock of legendary investor Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has been such a stellar investment over the long term. Berkshire doesn’t pay dividends, but shareholders don’t mind.

    Since 1987, he has grown the company’s book value from $2.8 billion in 1987 to $243 billion today. That’s 17.9% a year.

    That all sounds good… But if you’re going to hold companies like Prestige Brands that don’t pay dividends, you need to look carefully at two key variables. First, will it continue to make 12.7% a year? And how will shares trade in relation to book value?

    No stock generates a consistent return on equity forever. As a company like Prestige Brands earns more money, it will start to run out of opportunities to invest as profitably.

    This is when a company’s choices help or hurt shareholders most. When companies have gobs of cash and income, they tend to get sloppy.

    If the company can’t invest new dollars to earn a better return than we can get elsewhere, it should start sending cash back to shareholders. But companies don’t often do this. And that destroys shareholder value.

    Once a company has established itself as profitable, it needs to return profits back to shareholders.

    Most investors forget this aspect.

    A company can return earnings to shareholders in a variety of ways. It can send back money as dividends. It can pay down debt levels. It can buy back shares from the open market and retire them. All of these moves can boost the price of shares. This is what we mean when we say a company is “shareholder-friendly.”

    So once you decide to be a partial owner to enjoy the growth of your company or its dividends… the next thing you must consider is the “valuation” game.

    It’s hard – if not impossible – to predict where valuations are going. That’s why buying at good valuations is so important. If you can get in at a low valuation and the company continues to grow, you’re virtually guaranteed profits. If the company grows and the valuation rises, you earn even more.”

    To Your Wealth!

    • Rich

      Good to see you back Garrett! I happily read your mini essays each time.

      One minor point for those getting comfortable with all the numbers above..
      If the equity of Prestige Brands is 563M, a 12.7% growth rate would actually increase to a billion in just under five years. (Rule of 72 would have 12% double in around six years of course.) The power of compound interest is such a powerful thing when it’s on your side and just brutal when it’s working against you.

      • Garrett

        Thanks Rich!
        I’m trying…been keeping up reading the blog but haven’t had time to post content.
        We close on the Florida home next week and we close on selling our Maryland home mid-June. Half our rooms are now empty and the part that isn’t empty has boxes and piles of stuff that need to be divided between the Montana home and the Florida home. Cheryl and I talk incessantly about how excited we are to get out to Montana and spend the Summer/Fall in the mountains. We’re like little kids on Christmas.

        I still miss my golden retriever – last night a pillow fell off the bed. When I got up in the middle of the night, my foot touched it and I had that brief thought that “Oh, it’s Coda…” and then of course I realized she was gone. Best dog I ever had. She was always on the floor on my side of my bed…and Cheryl’s side when I was out flying trips.

        Hope you’re investments are doing well and you’re finding opportunities!

        To Your Wealth!

  • KS

    Question I’m struggling with about Wonderful Companies.

    Say I find a Wonderful company… what happens if it NEVER gets to a MOS price?

    I’m OK with the idea of sitting in cash, but what if I never had the opportunity to get in and buy the companies I research at a Rule 1 price?

    • angela

      I find myself constantly getting impatient for the “opportunity”. I said exactly what you said in 2005, 2006, 2007. Then, when Phil said loading up the truck in 2009 I though he was crazy.
      So wanna share a quote from Charlie Munger.
      “Basically I think the desire to get rich fast is pretty dangerous. My own system was to get rich slow. It protracts a rather pleasant process so I recommend my system to everybody. After all, if you get rich fast all you can do is be robbed by your own employees and your yacht and so forth. Whereas if you get rich slow, you amuse yourself over a lifetime.”

  • Rich

    Phil and Rulers,

    Ran across this interview of Joel Greenblatt by Howard Marks. I don’t think it has been posted here yet and it is outstanding! https://youtu.be/N-azmBU0yII

  • Mike Mac

    Darling international (Dar) has come down a lot. Anyone still following it?

  • Kevin

    Is it possible to set up an alert for a target price of a stock?

    I use all the sites Phil recommended at the workshop last weekend but have not seen where I can set up a price alert

    • Garrett


      Yes, if you’re using Phil’s toolbox, then you can go to the home page and on the right side, you’ll see “stock watch”…click that and you’ll open up another window where you can create alerts and other key metrics/reminders.

      Are you wishing you loaded up on Cameco at $14.00? 🙂

      To Your Wealth!

      • Ryan C

        I know I am. I didn’t have enough research/reading done in time. Nice work on that one Garrett! I’ll catch the next one

      • Kevin


        Nope I just started following the blog comments after the seminar a couple of weeks ago. I look forward to catching some tips in the future.


  • Garrett


    I miss this blog! We’re packing up and getting ready for the big move(s)…we’re closing on a home in Florida in two weeks (we picked up a small home in Florida next to my Mom and Dad to be near them as they’re getting older) and then in June we’re heading out to the mountains for the Summer / Fall.

    My brain is so full of stuff to comment and share but I’m just not sitting still much these past few months.

    There are some significant things happening on the MACRO side of investing that I wanted to share on the blog. I only wish I had an hour to explain some of the possible ramifications….Here’s an article headline from the Wall Street Journal:

    “Momentum Builds to Label Chinese Yuan a Reserve Currency”

    You can read the article here:

    In past blogs, I mentioned Cameco (CCJ) – I’m pleased that since that time, it appears we’ve had some positive developments to “the story” and we seems we bought at a nice bottom.

    Gotta get up early…

    To Your Wealth!

  • Scott

    Hi Alon,
    I haven’t been looking at GM too much as unions put me off. I have been looking at Micron (MU) though as several Gurus have large stakes in that company (Einhorn, Klarman etc). It’s PE is low right now and it is in an industry with 3 players only (Samsung, Hynix, Micron). Very difficult for anyone else to enter the memory chip market and compete. Just been reading the Seeking Alpha articles by William Tidwell who has some very in depth analysis on Micron. Only thing that I can see right now that could hurt Micron badly is if the other two players decide to overproduce and erode margins but hopefully sanity will prevail……

  • Alon

    Has anyone looked on GM lately?
    According to Gurufocus there are many gurus who are buying General Motors during the last few months. Among the gurus who buy (or hold) GM one can find Buffett, Mohnish Pabrai, George Soros and many more. Lately also David Einhorn has taken a fresh stake in GM after he sold his holding one year ago.

    • Mickey

      The dividend is 3.8% with a low pe. That is all the information I have on GM and cannot contribute much more. Have you considered the 4M’s? I think that would be helpful. The big red flag is that I have a hard time investing in any company with union labor. Phil did an article on this subject with Boeing a couple of years ago. Try searching for it and see if you agree. I have a special HATRED for GM as an ethical investment because my mother had her life savings in the INPERS retirement system. They owned GM because it pays a dividend without any consideration of the underling fundamental and management. Then when the unions bankrupted the company investors lost everything because the dividends did not cover the losses. That is not all, the main reason I have a vile hatred for GM is when the racist in chief president overruled a bankruptcy judge (a separation of power between executive and judicial that was ripped to shreds BTW) for payback to the unions instead of creditor protection in court from those big fat cat wall street type you know like Indiana State teachers, police, and firefighters.


      You have to know the MOAT because the unions are the barbarians trying to tear down that moat. Just like before when GM went from the high $70’s to 0000.

  • Robin Cutenese

    Hi Rulers. Hoping not to open up any moral, ethical, or political dialogue on Phil’s blog re medical marijana use, but rather to only dialogue about possible “investment opportunities”……..
    From what I currently continue to hear and see from journalist reporting and some respectable medical community, is that we as a society are on the cutting edge of a clearly advancing industry…..Medical Cannabis. It is being researched and reported as an effective alternative treatment/relief for brain disorders (ie autism), as well as PTSD which debilitates our Vets. With this said, here are two pharmaceutical companies I found on NASDAQ that are actively pursuing this new frontier. As Rulers we typically scutinize company’s track record, etc. But this is clearly cutting edge (being compared to 1920’s Prohibition), and hence I suspect may have tremendous monetary value to investors. Two NASDAQ pharmacutical companies in my view are GWPH and INSY. Input welcome…..

    • Jack Boling

      The Cannabis Market has been a shell game of stocks that shoot up then go poof.
      be careful.


  • Mike Mac

    I really want to buy some puts on $SHAK. It is soooo overpriced.

    • Jon

      Hi rulers,
      What do you guys think of polaris? I have the mos at 142. It is at 140 and I have done well with it before.

      • AngelaW


        If I use EPS $6.65, Growth 15%, PE 30, I get MOS $100.
        Something happened in 2010 when their numbers of shares doubled and all numbers had significant increase. If I just look at the numbers, instead of numbers per share, growth in NI 14%, OCP 15%, BV+Div 10% and Sales 10%. So I would settle on 10% max. On the other hand, they have had explosive growth in the last 5 yrs. What happened?
        Anyhow, when I look at their stock price chart, I don’t see a 50% tank. So I assume that the market has been pricing the stock as is for a long time with no event. If we think the stock shall worth twice, can you share why?
        Their ROE >50% is most amazing. I don’t know how to piece the puzzle together.

        • Jon

          Angela, Thank you for the response. How did you see the info about the shares? I’m not sure how to look that up. I had used growth rate of 27%(Phil has shown us that bvs is most accurate growth metric) because of the last 5 years but a more conservative average pe of about 20. Maybe using the more recent growth is too aggressive but I do not think their growth is slowing much. The motorcycle business is accelerating rapidly as well as defense vehicle line. The other areas are growing at a good pace as well. They are also expanding into other countries and adding larger factories in the U.S. to keep up with demand. I am relatively new to ruling and still learning so I appreciate your more conservative valuation. I have bought and sold three times already since 126 with about 21% gain since last February but was trying to decide if I should buy again. Thank you, Jon

          • AngelaW

            Hi there. I am a newbie too and have benefited a lot by reading the blogs here and bouncing ideas off each other.
            I use Phil’s Toolbox. You can find most of the data on gurufocus.com under 10_Y Financials. Anyhow, analysts forecast growth to be 17.5% so if you believe the growth shall be 27%, why? I do see they have over 28% growth in the last 5 yrs in BVPS. Do you believe they can keep growing at that rate for the next 10 yrs? What’s the driver behind the phenominal 28% growth? and why market is not pricing it at that growth rate?

          • Rich

            If Polaris were to grow at roughly 25-28% per year for 10 years that would be more than 3 doubles in that time. With a current market cap of 9.42B, one double would be 18.84B, two doubles 37.68 and three is 75.36B. The current market cap of Honda Motors (automobiles, motorcycles, financial, etc.) is 63.3B. Can Polaris become 20% larger in ten years than Honda is now? (I have no idea.) But that comparison may be useful…

          • Jon

            Hi rulers. Thank you for the input on pii. I’m not sure if they can maintain the 28% growth rate, but they are a well managed company and continually beat the estimates (under promise and over deliver)
            So I do believe they can surpass the 17.5% growth estimates which may mean I should let what I have ride and not purchase more till a larger drop in price. M I appreciate the help with the valuation. In retrospect mine was very optimistic.
            Thank you.

  • AngelaW

    After reading Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, I listened to his “Manifesto of Check List” on CD. Another great book. He cites a good number of airline companies’ practice of and results from check list and Mohnish Pabrai’s use of check list in his investment. Mohnish comments that he studied all Buffett’s investments and realized even the Oracle sometimes missed things/signs that later on turned into something serious. Pabrai says the check list does not improve his investment skills per se, but does indeed help him to sort out the investment options more efficiently and is particularly helpful when he thinks he finds a great deal and his brain gets ‘cocained’ in trying to justify in everyway the investment.

    • TzuZen

      Thanks, AngelaW for sharing this. Is it like determining a workflow for each time you start looking at a company, for example?


  • AngelaW

    Some Thoughts on DE.

    1) March 2, 2015 CNBC interview with Buffett.

    He states that 10 years from now, the stock will worth more than it is now although the company will have a few tough years ahead. He said “that stock was bought by one of my managers and me.”
    • BRK bought 3.9M shares Q3 2012 around $78 and another 13.1M Q4 2014 for around $80.

    2) Some interesting comments on Seeking Alpha. One is to compare the severity of current income decline vs. history (They have been there before…but it is still serious this round), the other one on how Buffett might look at a company.
    a. Deere & Company is forecasting a much better performance in 2015 versus prior downturns in the agricultural market. From 1990 to 1992, Deere & Company’s net income fell about 90%. In the downturn of 1998 to 1999, net income tumbled roughly 77%. But as for this latest round of retrenchment — from 2013 through 2015 — Deere & Company expects net income to fall less than 50%.

    b. Buffet evaluates according to his estimated Owner’s Earnings rather than FCF, the difference being he breaks out capital expenditures used for growth of the business from those used for maintenance of the business. If he thinks maintenance capex is low, and so a high capex rate reflects growth investments, and that the growth prospects are likely to be achieved with a likely satisfactory return, he will invest even if FCF metrics look bad. He’s even stated Berkshire is at a stage where it is so big and generates so much cash, he likes to purchase businesses with high capital requirements like railroads and utilities, as long as they have guaranteed satisfactory rates of return on those investments. His “satisfactory rate of return” these days seems to be 10%-12%. The other thing he looks for clearly are places he can put large amounts of capital to work (and remove it if needed), so he seems willing to accept more moderate rates of return in very large companies in exchange for being able to use large amounts of capital with fair liquidity. He’s stated many times he thinks he could get 50%/year returns if he was managing a small amount of money, and his chief problem is the size of Berkshire’s cash account. I think this is one of the things Buffett copy cats miss. Berkshire isn’t necessarily investing in companies that will deliver the best returns. It is investing in companies that deliver the best combination of returns, safety and liquidity for very large amounts of cash.

    3) A WSJ 4/7 article talks about 5 new trends in farming. What’s applicable to DE is Precision Agriculture and Farm Robots. Farms are starting to use lots of new techs and media, like Ipad, weather models etc. to help them optimize decision making via multiple channels/techs. DE is on it. They have hired people from Microsoft to help develop communications platform. DE is also said to be experimenting robot controlled tractors.

  • AngelaW

    Buffett’s March 2, 2015 Comments Re: IBM
    * No surprise at IBM, except lower share price, which he likes
    * Admits he does not understand everything about IBM and its technology but enough key points to make an investment decision
    * Likes IBM’s buyback
    * thinks IBM will improve, as it has done before. Current CEO is doing a good job but it takes time

  • Garrett

    Nice headline Phil!

    I miss the blog and investing, sharing, thinking…etc…
    We’ve been so busy with life changes.

    Over Easter we “unexpectedly” bought a home in Florida in my Mom and Dad’s retirement community. We were going to do that in late fall or early winter…but…

    Anyway, if you can swing it…maybe you can do what we did…GET out of your high TAX STATE!

    When we go to close on the home, we are giving ourselves at least a minimum of a 9% pay raise (Maryland takes 6% and the county takes over 3%). The tax savings moving to Florida is a “Free Home” for us.

    We wanted to do this years ago, but for the sake of traumatizing our daughter, we stayed in Maryland until her high school graduation.

    I’ll be the first to admit, living house-to-house in a retirement community is not my thing. We’re mountain folks at heart but as I emailed to Phil…for the love of my parents, it’s the right thing to do as they’re getting older – but still healthy.

    Just talked to Dad about his portfolio and he’s glad we did that Exxon Covered Call when it was at $90 per share. He’s not losing any money and he’s still collecting that dividend. Pretty cool.

    If you’re not sure how to do a covered call, it’s the easiest and least risky strategy you can do. I do them all the time in my retirement account.

    Gotta go…but wanted to check in on the blog!

    To Your Wealth!

    • Mike Mac

      I own $MAN. It’s had a big run up to 52 week high. I’m debating on taking profits or selling some covered calls. Not sure yet what I’ll do.

    • Angelaw

      You probabl will get some savings from property tax as well.
      Talking about aging…Atul Gawande’s latest book ‘Being Mortal’ is a good read. When we are at a point when medicines cannot help us further, what do we do? Pabrai recommended this book. I suspect he has also read Atul’s The Checklist Manifesto and started to utilize a checklist in his decision making.