During the 2007 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Warren Buffett discussed how much time you should spend thinking about your portfolio. Here’s an excerpt from the meeting:
WARREN BUFFETT: Well, that sort of breaks down into two periods in my life. When I had more ideas than money, I was thinking about everyone all the time because I was thinking about buying the next one and which one I would have to sell in order to buy something even more attractive.
So my opportunity cost, as Charlie would put it, then, was the least attractive stock which I would give up to buy something more attractive.
So I — literally, if I had $100,000 and it was all invested and I wanted to put $10,000 or 20,000 into something I felt was more attractive, I would be thinking all the time of which one of these do I unload.
Now our situation is such that we have more money than ideas, and that means that we really aren’t re-examining something every minute, because the option is cash and not doing something that we really are excited about.
We still think about the businesses we’re in — whether they’re wholly owned or whether they’re partially owned through stocks — we think about them all the time.
I mean, we’ve got a lot of information filed away in our minds. And you keep getting little incremental bits about that company or the competition or other things going on.
So it’s — you know, it is a continuous process, but it’s not a continuous process with the idea that daily activity, or weekly activity, or monthly activity, is going to result.
It’s just we want to just keep adding to our thinking and knowledge, refining it further about every business that we’re in.
If we needed some money for a very big deal, for example — let’s say we needed 20 or 30 or $40 billion and we had to decide to sell 10 billion of equities, just to pick a figure, you know, we would use the information we’ve been collecting daily, which hasn’t really meant much as we’ve gone along, and we would come to a decision about where we raise that $10 billion.
CHARLIE MUNGER: Yeah. But even in Warren’s salad days when he had way more ideas than he had money, he did not spend a lot of time thinking about his number one choice. You know, he could put that aside and devote his efforts to other subjects.
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