Charles Munger: One Mistake That Cost Me $200 Million

Johnny HopkinsCharles MungerLeave a Comment

During the 2001 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Charles Munger discussed one mistake of omission that cost him $200 Million. Here’s an excerpt from the meeting:

CHARLIE MUNGER: I don’t like mentioning the specific companies, because the — you know, we may, in due course, want to buy them again and have an opportunity to do so at our price.

But practically everywhere in life, and in corporate life, too, what really costs, in comparison with what easily might have been, are the blown opportunities. I mean, it just — it’s an awesome amount of money.

When I was somewhat younger, I was offered 300 shares of Belridge Oil. Any idiot could’ve told there was no possibility of losing money, and a large possibility of making money. I bought it.

The guy called me back three days later, and offered me 1,500 more shares. But this time, I had to sell something to buy the damn Belridge Oil. That mistake, if you traced it through, has cost me $200 million.

And I — it was all because I had to go to a slight inconvenience and sell something. Berkshire does that kind of thing, too. We never get over it. (Laughter)

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