If you could benefit from a little optimism right now, here’s some encouragement from Warren Buffett:
“If I could pick anytime to be born, I would want to be born now, and I would want to be born in America. It’s that simple,” Buffett told a group of small business owners over the phone a few weeks ago.
Buffett is co-chair of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses advisory council, and I’m an alumnus of its business program. We were treated to a virtual event to hear directly from Buffett along with some other business leaders.
Buffett reassured those on that call that while we are in a headwind like very few have experienced in this country, good times will follow. Buffett says there is an incredible American tailwind that will be at our back most of the time in the future.
Buffett went on to share an experience to demonstrate the good luck he feels to have been born in this country:
Buffett bought his first stock on March 12, 1942, roughly three months after the United States entered World War II. At the time, he says, the headlines were terrible. We were losing one battle after another. Ships were being sunk. Planes shot down.
The same day he bought that stock the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 100. Today it’s at about 30,000. That’d be 300 for one, or as Buffet explained, if he’d simply thrown a dart, he still would have earned $300 for every dollar he put up with dividends on top of it.
Today Buffett is an investing legend, but he credits this good luck to “the miracle of America and a market system that works very well over time.”
Buffett is calm and measured, and his patience has paid off. He talked about the time following that initial investment: “People were very pessimistic about the world post World War II and thought we’d have all kinds of recessionary or depression type problems.”
But as it turned out, they were about to enter a golden era.
Buffett reassured us that the clouds hanging over us right now will go away and, “the government should help them go away in a hurry!” He said he couldn’t help but be an enormous bull on America’s health. And now at age 90, he joked that his next 90 years should be very good.
Mike Bloomberg had also been on the call, and Buffett said he’s been following Bloomberg’s advice for a long time and it’s worked very well. So I thought I’d share with you what Bloomberg cited as his go-to mantra to help move forward in the face of adversity:
“It’s the old joke, you go into a room and there’s horse manure on the floor and some people say, ‘Oh, this is terrible!’ And an optimist says, “There’s a pony around here!”
That pretty much sums up 2020. Plenty of poop everywhere, yet, I have found a number of ponies, too. I’m looking forward to a tailwind and until then, wish your glass at least half full.