The single most important takeaway from Warren Buffett’s 2021 letter

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (REUTERS)
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (REUTERS)


  • In Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders the Oracle of Omaha shared how he chooses stocks for his portfolio

Warren Buffett’s 2021 letter to shareholders is out and you may have already zeroed in on your favorite part from the letter. 

My favorite is this one line: Charlie and I are not stock-pickers, we are business-pickers. 

There’s an interesting story around Ben Graham and how he let go of a potential 100-bagger because he stuck to his core principle. 

Graham’s junior colleague recommended that they buy a stock known as Haloid. The company had the rights to a promising new process called Xerography. It’d been paying dividends for many years now. The colleague felt that they should buy the stock because its future looks very promising. 

Graham refused. He said that the stock is not cheap enough at US$ 21 per share. Well, the company was none other than Xerox, whose share price went to as high as US$ 2,000 in the following years. 

Why did Graham refuse Xerox? Simply because he considered himself a stock-picker and not a business-picker. He did not understand the business of technology and stayed away from it.

Graham did not invest for the very long term. He was happy taking his 50%-100% profits and moving on to the next business. 

Warren Buffett on the other hand stays invested as long as the fundamentals of the business is intact. Coke is a great example. He did not sell Coke even when it reached exorbitant valuations in the early 21st century. He was focused on the quality of the business and since that was intact, he stayed put. 

I think this distinction is very important.

Are you more of a stock-picker or a business-picker? If it is the former, then your holding periods should be 2-3 years or max 5 years.

But if you are a business-picker then you should have a much longer horizon and you should stay invested as long as the fundamentals of the business remain intact. 

You should not sell no matter how high the valuations go.

So this was one of my favourite takeaways from the Oracle of Omaha’s recent letter to shareholders. 

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He shared this thought provoking post on the Telegram channel three days back.

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Happy Investing! 

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