How Warren Buffett makes his money

Warren Buffett (Getty)
Warren Buffett (Getty)

Warren Buffett is an investing legend who describes Wall Street as the legal pickpocket of the average investor.

Currently ranked as the fourth richest man in the world, the US businessman made his fortune through long-term investing via his Omaha-based company Berkshire Hathaway.

Business website Forbes estimates his worth to be US$66.7 billion - the combined wealth on the New Zealand NBR Rich List falls short of that at US$43.8b (NZ$60b). 

So what are his strategies?

Robert P Miles is a Warren Buffett expert.

He has written a book, The Warren Buffett CEO, and been to the annual Berkshire Hathaway convention 22 times - where up to 40,000 devotees gather - earning it the title the Woodstock of Capitalism.

Mr Miles was in New Zealand to speak at an investment seminar and gave his thoughts on the 'Oracle of Omaha', as Mr Buffett is known.

"If you had invested US$6500 in 1965,  if you had been around then and knew about Buffett, you would be worth today - after all fees taxes and expenses - US$100 million dollars (NZ$136 million)."

"Well I think it's his character. He proves that it's possible to be very ethical and very successful. His character, his sense of humour and his management and his encouragement of everyone to do the right thing."

"Understand what you invest in. He speaks the truth in that Wall Street will sell you anything that you are willing to buy. Wall Street is the legal pickpocket of the average investor and he encourages investors to slow down their activity and realise that a share in a sharemarket is a part of a business."

"Absolutely not. Warren would say that smart people don't need to borrow money, and people who aren't so smart, it's really going to hurt them. And anyone who's leveraging (borrowing to fund) their investment - particularly an investment they don't truly understand - is going to be caught swimming naked when the tide goes out and interest rates rise."

"Be in it for the long-term. Know what you own, and invest long-term. Buffett says you can't make a baby by making nine women pregnant for one month; you got to be patient. That's easy to say but difficult to do because you have to control your emotions."

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