The Cycle

Buffet’s words of wisdom for Canada

On the second day of the new year, Business Wire announced the opening of a full-service office in Toronto, and one week later, announced a new partnership with CanWest. With all that activity north of the border, the chief executive of Business Wire’s parent company Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, paid a visit to Toronto to share some of his opinions and insight about everything from news wires to philanthropy and the economy. Highlights:

-Rather than calling it a credit crunch, Buffet said the US economy is showing an “unavailability of dumb money.”
“For a long time, it seemed housing would never go down. Only when the tide goes out do you know who’s swimming naked.”

-Buffet admitted that the only currency he’s involved with is the Brazilian Real, which has doubled versus the American dollar in the last five years.

-He feels he is “totally in sync” with Bill and Melinda Gates in terms of how money should be used, referring specifically to their philanthropic partnership. Since he doesn’t believe in dynastic wealth, he feels it’s appropriate to give away his “surplus money.”

-”You shouldn’t try to compete with the pros,” said Buffet, who began answering a question about advice for investors by saying that many won’t spend the time that pros do evaluating businesses. “You can become [a pro] or you can buy an index fund,” he continued. Further, he says investors should ask three questions: What did I pay? What is the investment worth? Will it be worth more ten years from now? “If you can’t get yourself in that frame of mind, you shouldn’t manage money.”

-Finally, Buffet says he invests in businesses he understands, which is part of the reason Berkshire Hathaway got involved with Business Wire. “They provide a service that’s worth more than what the customer paid, which is the only way to keep people for the long-term.”

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