Twain and BuffettSubmitted by Monument Group Wealth on April 9th, 2017
Dear Clients and Friends,
Many conversations in the first quarter rotated between the bleak New England weather, the current state of politics, and the abundance of news, fake or otherwise.
Mark Twain on Weather, Politics and News
Reflecting on the aforementioned conversations, a few Mark Twain quotes come to mind. Twain is given credit for saying, “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.” He also is given credit for saying, "If you don't read the newspaper, you're un-informed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed." We will leave it to you to search for Twain’s quote about politics.
Warren Buffett Annual Shareholder Letter
As in previous years, we have read through Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders in search of helpful soundbites to share in our letter. Perhaps our favorite quote from his recent letter is:
Following forecasts: “If 1,000 managers make a market prediction at the beginning of a year, it’s very likely that the calls of at least one will be correct for nine consecutive years. Of course, 1,000 monkeys would be just as likely to produce a seemingly all-wise prophet. But there would remain a difference: The lucky monkey would not find people standing in line to invest with him.”
Our Take on Twain and Buffett
Mark Twain and Warren Buffett have given us numerous quotes that are worthy of repeating. Their candor, style and wit coupled with their relevant, timeless material can be shared across generations and themes. In terms of our wealth management world, Buffett is a legendary value investor while Twain was known to make the initial reference to “putting all of your eggs in one basket.” Both value investing and diversification are key investment principles at Monument.
Twain and Buffett bring a healthy skepticism to widely held beliefs. In an investment world riddled with pitch people and the investment idea du jour, we share their healthy skepticism and find that grounding ourselves in what’s become to be known as “evidence-based investing” is essential. As we have said in the past, we believe that profitable long-term investing is built on consistent exposure to the market, disciplined rebalancing, careful attention to investment expenses and taxes, and is based on the unique circumstances of each of our clients.
As always, we welcome your suggestions and feedback and we value your trust and confidence.
Byron E. Woodman, Jr. Lee C. McGowan, CFA, CFP(R)
President Managing Director