Warren’s Annual Recital

As you probably know, I have a deep respect for Warren Buffett.  Not just because he’s one of the wealthiest men alive or that he gave all his wealth to society, but because he’s such a great example and teacher.

When asked, “Why do you teach people the principals of your investing strategy when it basically educates your competition?” Warren responds, “I was freely taught by Benjamin Graham and believe I should do the same.”

I feel in many ways that is the spirit of this blog – to teach and to educate.  Saint Matthew said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”

In light of that, this year I make the pilgrimage to Omaha for myself my readers so I can bring back valuable nuggets from the meeting.  It’s a three day ordeal that starts Friday (May 30, 2010) with a cocktail reception at Borsheims; continues Saturday with the annual meeting at Qwest Center Omaha and picnic at the Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM); and ends Sunday with Borsheims Shopping Day and dinner at Gorat’s Steakhouse (Warren’s favorite).

This is known to be the Woodstock of Capitalism where 30,000+ attended in 2009.  My favorite part by far at the annual meeting is the extended 4-5 hour Q&A session with Warren and Charlie Munger (Vice-Chairman). Charlie and Warren answer questions off the fly with no preparation.  With everything going on in the economy, I am sure there will be questions about real estate and the housing market which I will take notes and make available on The Intelligent Investor.  (Note: No recording is allowed at the meeting as Warren wants to incentivize people to come visit him.)

The great thing about listening to Warren discuss economics (and life) is how he takes the big picture view.  He doesn’t waste time discussing the small movements month-to-month or even year-to-year.  He looks at the long-term outlook which tends to be more “predictable” and useful.  Last year, Warren predicted that the markets will correct themselves in due time and according to Charlie, it’s a great time to buy (read more).

My second favorite thing to do, being the bookworm that I am, is to go the Bookworm Omaha.  As a shareholder, you get a discount on Warren’s favorite booklist as well as access to books that are not available on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble – all this to make me feel even more special. 🙂

This is a big year.  Since purchasing Berlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Berkshire has issued stock and cash for the acquisition and added 65,000 shareholders to its current shareholder base of 500,000.  Class B shares also split 50 for 1 this year.  The first split was 30 for 1 which brings the total “gross” split since inception to 1500 for 1.  The price for Class B is $77.81 compared to Class A’s price of $116,735 (as of 4/29/2010).  Both Class A and B get to attend the annual meeting.  At a more accessible price, I assume the future annual meetings will be even more crowded.

So this may be my last year at the annual meeting (although I doubt it), I’ll make sure to take notes and come back to share the love.