Why You Need To Hear Buffett’s Words About America Right Now…
Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time talking about how fortunate we are to be not only Americans, but investors in America.
I did this for good reason. As I sad then, we’ve become addicted to outrage. The media doesn’t do us any favors in this department, of course. But we’re part of the problem, too. Too many people take America — and the freedoms we enjoy — for granted.
If you’re an investor, you probably know that Warren Buffett doesn’t make this mistake.
Buffett’s Advice About America
I’ve read my fair share of Warren Buffett’s shareholder letters over the years. Anyone interested in the markets knows that Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder letters are mandatory reading. They’re always chock-full of wisdom, humor, humility, and golden nuggets of investment advice.
But the 2020 shareholder letter is one of my all-time favorites. That year, it really struck a chord with me. Maybe it’s because of all the things that were going on during that time. It seems that the Oracle of Omaha knows exactly what needs to be said and when.
But unfortunately, my favorite part of the letter wasn’t touched on by any of the mainstream media. They just don’t seem to really care about covering this stuff — even though he dedicated two and a half pages to it in his letter.
As I said in my previous article, it’s become unfashionable to talk about the things that make America great. But longtime Buffett fans know that he has a strong belief in America and America’s ingenuity. And when we needed to hear it the most, he reminded us all just how great of a country we live in.
So today, I want to continue with that theme by touching on some of the things in the letter that stood out to me.
From Rags To Riches…
In the letter, Buffett recounted several success stories that should make us all proud. Since our country’s birth, he wrote: “individuals with an idea, ambition and often just a pittance of capital have succeeded beyond their dreams by creating something new or by improving the customer’s experience with something old.”
Then he launched into the story about Mary See who set out to deliver an age-old product that she had reinvented with special recipes. After 100 years, her candy company, See’s Candy — owned by Berkshire Hathaway — continues to grow and remain a dominant force in the candy space.
Then there’s “Big Jim” Haslam who started what became Pilot Travel Centers in 1958 by purchasing a service station for $6,000. He now owns the NFL’s Cleveland Browns football team.
Then there’s my personal favorite…
Rose Blumkin arrived in Seattle in 1915 as a Russian emigrant, unable to read or speak English. She eventually settled in Omaha, Nebraska. And after squirreling away $2,500, she decided to start a furniture store.
It was by no means an overnight success. Roughly 10 years into her endeavor the company’s net worth had grown to a meager $72,000. The cash she had both in the till and on deposit, was just $50. But she persevered, along with her son who had just come back from World War II. And by 1983, they’d built it into a $60 million company. That very same year, Berkshire purchased 80% of the company — Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Today, Nebraska Furniture owns the three largest home-furnishings stores in the United States, and set a sales record practically every year.
My favorite part of the story… when Mrs. Blumkin’s large family gathered around for holiday meals, she would ask that they sing a song before eating. Her selection never varied: Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”
There’s a lot more I could say about what I think about things. But I think Buffett is far wiser than I am. So I’ll let him do the talking for me.
“Today, many people forge similar miracles throughout the world, creating a spread of prosperity that benefits all of humanity. In its brief 232 years of existence, however, there has been no incubator for unleashing human potential like America. Despite some severe interruptions, our country’s economic progress has been breathtaking.” — Warren Buffett
I’ll leave you with this…
Buffett finished up this section of his letter with this statement: “Our unwavering conclusion: Never bet against America.“
Have a wonderful Independence Day!