From the Presidential Medal
of Freedom presentation

Warren E. Buffett : as a world-known investor and philanthropist, Warren E. Buffett business acumen is matched only by his dedication to improve the lives of others. He is the co/founder of the Giving Pledge, an
organization that encourages wealthy Americans to donate at least 50percent of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Warren Buffett’s example of Generosity and Compassion has shown us the power of one individual’s determination in inspiring countless women and men to help make our world a brighter place.

Last posts

Buffett Talk – Pizza for Capitalists

The first “Buffett Talk” meeting is on! Let’s meet in person and share our stories and passion for the “Oracle” of Omaha and his teachings over the last 70 years or so! Let’s talk about :

  1. How he changed our lives (self-introductions)
    2.How he shaped our minds about investing
    3.Is Value Investing “out of date”? (look at the discussion bullet about the Super Investor of Graham-and-Doddsville on            meetup.com)

I’m sure it will be an awesome evening and pizza is on me! (beverages not included, cherry coke neither!).

Come to share your knowledge and passion about the greatest investor ever. Bring your favourite quotes of his brilliant, funny and unpretentious mind and be ready to make new friends and learn from each other!

Save the date:

Wednesday March 23rd 2022 – 06.30 to 08.30 pm

“PIZZA LOVERS BISTROT” 1860 N Nob Hill Rd · Plantation, FL 33322

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

1860 N Nob Hill Rd · Plantation, FL 33322 USA

 

Letter to partners

“There are undoubtedly more mercurially-tempered people in the stock market now than for a many good years and the duration of their stay will be limited to how long they think profits can be made quickly and effortlessly(…)

I make no attempt to forecast the general market – my efforts are devoted to finding undervalued securities. However, I do believe that widespread public belief in the inevitability of profits from investment in stocks will lead to eventual trouble. Should this occur, prices, but not intrinsic values in my opinion, of even undervalued securities can be expected to be substantially affected.”

(Warren Buffett, Letter to his partners 1958 “The general Stock Market”)

 

Dear Partners,

albeit it’s useless to time the market, I feel the urge to update you very briefly about the most important thing for all of us: our future. Some of you, especially in European countries that face a slow and weak recovery from Covid, (and maybe debatable political choices of their governments), may need to put on notice again my essential recommendation: we are here all together for outstanding, not mediocre results, that are  achievable only over the long term.

Even if possible I don’t expect anyone of you to withdraw money from MT Capital after just 5 years. The magic of compounding will be totally missed for those who will do that. At risk of being redundant I will outline again why, very briefly.

  1. The gains you are obtaining so far are just the inception for our standards. They have importance to me in relation to the fact that they are obtained with virtually no investments made in the “fashionable” area of tech, crypto or something we are not competent about. I expect, just like Buffett in 1958, that history will “rhyme” again. Even if I don’t know when and in which proportion. It means that the price of our securities can go down but the values of the businesses I have been choosing over time will remain intact. And with them their capabilities of earning money and positive operating cash flows and profits in the future. In fact I hope that Mr. Market will be giving me the opportunity to buy more of what we already have and apply my full strategy of gaining for you much more over a longer time span.
  2. The real important signals of our future growth are contained in what is happening now and in the next few years, that is: A) we avoided many losses, NOT investing in many businesses. B) I’ve been respecting my established rules and so we have 11 stocks as of November 2021 with only one losing a bit of money (the smaller position) and the one with the major gain being the bigger one (38%of the entire portfolio). It means a key thing: we are on the right path and we are owners of businesses that are wonderful and we don’t want to sell just because the stock market will go down. C) They are and will be part of the American Tailwind. Dancing in and out of the market is not our game and will do no good to our basket of good businesses.
  3. We want to have , and now we have, other 4 stocks (totaling 15 positions) as of January 2022 that we want to be down and in red for the time being. Because we want to buy them at low prices maybe for a long time. That would take our overall temporary result to get down, hopefully like in march 2020, but then up substantially in the future.
  4. In order to pursue this “Buffett/Value” proposition we are also looking closely to some controlled businesses that we want to acquire as direct owners. We don’t even consider to invest in start-ups until they don’t show at least a good initial record and the capability of not losing money. But in the States the system is not like in Italy or Europe in general. A new business can die easily in its infancy, but if it doesn’t, the growth can be based on an economic structure that works efficiently.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

This was a simple remainder of our “Ground Rules”. We are newborns awakening. If someone thinks that the profit made so far are what we are looking for, that someone is not on our same page. Read again our IPS (Investment Plan Statement). I work everyday including Saturdays and Sundays for partners that want to stay (and add more) and do more than ok over the long term. I don’t work and plan results for those who plan to leave in the short term, collecting from our table the mediocre results they should deserve. Partners don’t pay a management fee for a reason. I’m all invested, me and my family, with you, and I’m cooking the same food we will be sharing, so to speak.

 

If you are there it’s because we also share the same principles and values in Life. So this brief letter was just a remainder of the “second rules” that are “don’t forget the first rules” that mean “don’t forget what you already know” before venturing out in uncharted territories. Don’t. We won’t, so stick with me.

 

I wish you all you desire and hold in your hearts for you and your loved ones. We are still not too many so that I happen to know everyone of you personally and I know you deserve as human beings to live all the ambitions you have for your lives. That’s why I’m here on this beautiful sunny Sunday working for you. Good people of America around me are doing the same (some in the snow today though). You put the money in the right land.

 

God bless

 

Faithfully,

 

Marco Turco

marco@blikebuffett.com

 

 

 

You are not an Investor

Rational Walk is the only newsletter that I read among the many I receive about investing. I found almost a waste of time all the rest. Too much noise. Many talk about money, finance and other interesting topics but they are not about investing.

Rational is exhaustive, accurate, drops some knowledge, and even if you are a full time Buffett student like me, you always find something new, interesting and well written. Topics and books mentioned that are not about investing are usually a good source of inspiration, for investors and not.

On the other hand, sometimes I find so called “experts” or Value investors misquoting and also misunderstanding some basic traits of investing.

Example: There’s no such thing as Value Versus Growth. But it seems that so many professionals liked the distinction that the illness affected also some “intelligent investors”. And so they talk about Value stocks VS Growth stocks and Value Investing VS Growth Investing.

Buffett made it so clear during the 2001 Shareholders meeting. “They are part of the same equation”. And if you read Graham very well it is clear that there can’t be such contrast or opposition.

Growth is part of the Value you want to asses. When you look for Value you are taking into consideration how much growth can be inside your investment that is so a Value decision.

A business can grow and have more revenues in a way that causes less profitability or losing money in the future. And that’s not investing. Sometimes there’s good value even without the business growing or expanding so much. Because it will constantly deliver in the future more capital than the one you are laying out today to buy it. And that is investing.

But at the end it is all part of a Value decision, if you are an investor. If you are a stock speculator you can talk about “growth opportunities”, “buying momentum” and you can trade “growth stocks” or whatever. Simply you are not investing. Like if you buy on margin: you are not an investor.

marco@blikebuffett.com

Yes, you can lose…

“The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves”

Edward Gibbon “The decline and fall of the Roman Empire”

Prize in others the good qualities you’d like to have but you are struggling to achieve. It is not only paramount to find the right mentors and models in life. It is also critical to spot immediately what doesn’t work for you. If you think independently chances are that most people will not agree with you. And some other times you will find a lot of people supporting you in something that can be clearly a mistake. To fail “conventionally” seems to be more acceptable than to fail “unconventionally”. And in the investment world to succeed unconventionally would be almost considered outrageous or at least an anomaly by many of those that didn’t succeed at all. That’s why most business schools considered Buffett and Munger (and probably they still consider them) a statistical anomaly. Outliers its what they say! Warren would say that human nature has such a perverse tendency sometimes to complicated things to the point that to apply too much of a simple thing like Rationality can be considered an exception. I would only add that Rationality has in many of us a big enemy: emotions. That’s why our journey starts from there in the investment world and investing in common stocks especially. It starts from Temperament. It starts from Patience. Observe yourself and the others. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Be ready to criticize yourself and learn from the others. One of the best advice I got from Buffett it’s to write down the qualities of your heroes and write down also all the traits of the persons you really don’t like. The ones that make your stomach to churn. Write down who you really don’t want to be. It ‘ s hard to change but it’s doable. Yes you can lose, but only if you don’t try.

marco@blikebuffett.com

“It is more human to laugh”

“It is more human to laugh at life than to lament it”

Seneca, On Tranquility of mind

What do you do with sadness? What is the advantage of being a victim and surrender? We all face obstacles that are outside our control. If we have applied our best efforts and at the best of our capabilities and nonetheless things went wrong, what will be our reaction? Great people have great spirits. Great investors are prepared to face hurdles and adversities that happened out of their reasoned choice. The best reaction is to laugh at things rather than complaining or blaming someone else and criticize. What was Mr Buffett’s reaction when interviewed after Kraft Heinz went down significantly writing off its good will, cutting the dividend and so on? I always saw Buffett laughing when mentioning his “many mistakes”. A long successful journey requires a big portion of mistakes. It’s a 18 holes golf course. If you want to get to the clubhouse you got to play them all. The good and the bad. If you don’t train yourself in keeping up your good spirit, anger or hard feelings will take control of your mind. Don’t let them. Never. Even when dealing with the outcome of a mistake or a poor decision don’t let anger dry up your reason. We all face bad decisions. Was it a good decision for Buffett to stay for twenty years in the textile business when he bought Berkshire in 1965? Tranquility of mind and a lot of good subsequent acquisitions fixed a bad financial decision that he now remembers with a smile. If you can’t laugh at things because it seems too hard try at least to smile and move forward.

Live well

“We should live well but not in luxury”

Seneca, “Moral letters” 

What does truly make you happy? Seneca and the stoics thought that happiness resides easily in small things. Incidentally Benjamin Franklin many centuries later pointed out that more than in the big strikes of luck, that also may happen, happiness can be found in the little satisfactions or pleasures that life offers every single day. They were all rich guys. Seneca was very rich just like Franklin was. Therefore they lived well, but not in luxury. They knew what they wanted from life. They were able to focus on what was important. The ability to make money and save and constantly learn and grow was a consequence of their exceptional personality and discipline. They had clear in their mind what to pursue in life to be happy and useful to society and how to use wisely the ultimate asset : time.

How can be important the search for luxury if you already live well and intelligently use your time and money? Yes, time and money to live well. I would add that you will definitely not only live well but you will be better off without luxury, especially if you can’t totally afford it. Many miserable life have been lived in the pursuit of luxury. I find crazy to trade the chance of a good life to obtain luxury and use it to impress people that don’t love you. Try first to be loved by the ones that already love you because of you and not because of your luxury toys.

Want to get in touch?

We’d love to hear from you

Last posts

Buffett Talk – Pizza for Capitalists

The first “Buffett Talk” meeting is on! Let’s meet in person and share our stories and passion for the “Oracle” of Omaha and his teachings over the last 70 years or so! Let’s talk about :

  1. How he changed our lives (self-introductions)
    2.How he shaped our minds about investing
    3.Is Value Investing “out of date”? (look at the discussion bullet about the Super Investor of Graham-and-Doddsville on            meetup.com)

I’m sure it will be an awesome evening and pizza is on me! (beverages not included, cherry coke neither!).

Come to share your knowledge and passion about the greatest investor ever. Bring your favourite quotes of his brilliant, funny and unpretentious mind and be ready to make new friends and learn from each other!

Save the date:

Wednesday March 23rd 2022 – 06.30 to 08.30 pm

“PIZZA LOVERS BISTROT” 1860 N Nob Hill Rd · Plantation, FL 33322

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

1860 N Nob Hill Rd · Plantation, FL 33322 USA

 

Letter to partners

“There are undoubtedly more mercurially-tempered people in the stock market now than for a many good years and the duration of their stay will be limited to how long they think profits can be made quickly and effortlessly(…)

I make no attempt to forecast the general market – my efforts are devoted to finding undervalued securities. However, I do believe that widespread public belief in the inevitability of profits from investment in stocks will lead to eventual trouble. Should this occur, prices, but not intrinsic values in my opinion, of even undervalued securities can be expected to be substantially affected.”

(Warren Buffett, Letter to his partners 1958 “The general Stock Market”)

 

Dear Partners,

albeit it’s useless to time the market, I feel the urge to update you very briefly about the most important thing for all of us: our future. Some of you, especially in European countries that face a slow and weak recovery from Covid, (and maybe debatable political choices of their governments), may need to put on notice again my essential recommendation: we are here all together for outstanding, not mediocre results, that are  achievable only over the long term.

Even if possible I don’t expect anyone of you to withdraw money from MT Capital after just 5 years. The magic of compounding will be totally missed for those who will do that. At risk of being redundant I will outline again why, very briefly.

  1. The gains you are obtaining so far are just the inception for our standards. They have importance to me in relation to the fact that they are obtained with virtually no investments made in the “fashionable” area of tech, crypto or something we are not competent about. I expect, just like Buffett in 1958, that history will “rhyme” again. Even if I don’t know when and in which proportion. It means that the price of our securities can go down but the values of the businesses I have been choosing over time will remain intact. And with them their capabilities of earning money and positive operating cash flows and profits in the future. In fact I hope that Mr. Market will be giving me the opportunity to buy more of what we already have and apply my full strategy of gaining for you much more over a longer time span.
  2. The real important signals of our future growth are contained in what is happening now and in the next few years, that is: A) we avoided many losses, NOT investing in many businesses. B) I’ve been respecting my established rules and so we have 11 stocks as of November 2021 with only one losing a bit of money (the smaller position) and the one with the major gain being the bigger one (38%of the entire portfolio). It means a key thing: we are on the right path and we are owners of businesses that are wonderful and we don’t want to sell just because the stock market will go down. C) They are and will be part of the American Tailwind. Dancing in and out of the market is not our game and will do no good to our basket of good businesses.
  3. We want to have , and now we have, other 4 stocks (totaling 15 positions) as of January 2022 that we want to be down and in red for the time being. Because we want to buy them at low prices maybe for a long time. That would take our overall temporary result to get down, hopefully like in march 2020, but then up substantially in the future.
  4. In order to pursue this “Buffett/Value” proposition we are also looking closely to some controlled businesses that we want to acquire as direct owners. We don’t even consider to invest in start-ups until they don’t show at least a good initial record and the capability of not losing money. But in the States the system is not like in Italy or Europe in general. A new business can die easily in its infancy, but if it doesn’t, the growth can be based on an economic structure that works efficiently.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

This was a simple remainder of our “Ground Rules”. We are newborns awakening. If someone thinks that the profit made so far are what we are looking for, that someone is not on our same page. Read again our IPS (Investment Plan Statement). I work everyday including Saturdays and Sundays for partners that want to stay (and add more) and do more than ok over the long term. I don’t work and plan results for those who plan to leave in the short term, collecting from our table the mediocre results they should deserve. Partners don’t pay a management fee for a reason. I’m all invested, me and my family, with you, and I’m cooking the same food we will be sharing, so to speak.

 

If you are there it’s because we also share the same principles and values in Life. So this brief letter was just a remainder of the “second rules” that are “don’t forget the first rules” that mean “don’t forget what you already know” before venturing out in uncharted territories. Don’t. We won’t, so stick with me.

 

I wish you all you desire and hold in your hearts for you and your loved ones. We are still not too many so that I happen to know everyone of you personally and I know you deserve as human beings to live all the ambitions you have for your lives. That’s why I’m here on this beautiful sunny Sunday working for you. Good people of America around me are doing the same (some in the snow today though). You put the money in the right land.

 

God bless

 

Faithfully,

 

Marco Turco

marco@blikebuffett.com

 

 

 

You are not an Investor

Rational Walk is the only newsletter that I read among the many I receive about investing. I found almost a waste of time all the rest. Too much noise. Many talk about money, finance and other interesting topics but they are not about investing.

Rational is exhaustive, accurate, drops some knowledge, and even if you are a full time Buffett student like me, you always find something new, interesting and well written. Topics and books mentioned that are not about investing are usually a good source of inspiration, for investors and not.

On the other hand, sometimes I find so called “experts” or Value investors misquoting and also misunderstanding some basic traits of investing.

Example: There’s no such thing as Value Versus Growth. But it seems that so many professionals liked the distinction that the illness affected also some “intelligent investors”. And so they talk about Value stocks VS Growth stocks and Value Investing VS Growth Investing.

Buffett made it so clear during the 2001 Shareholders meeting. “They are part of the same equation”. And if you read Graham very well it is clear that there can’t be such contrast or opposition.

Growth is part of the Value you want to asses. When you look for Value you are taking into consideration how much growth can be inside your investment that is so a Value decision.

A business can grow and have more revenues in a way that causes less profitability or losing money in the future. And that’s not investing. Sometimes there’s good value even without the business growing or expanding so much. Because it will constantly deliver in the future more capital than the one you are laying out today to buy it. And that is investing.

But at the end it is all part of a Value decision, if you are an investor. If you are a stock speculator you can talk about “growth opportunities”, “buying momentum” and you can trade “growth stocks” or whatever. Simply you are not investing. Like if you buy on margin: you are not an investor.

marco@blikebuffett.com

Yes, you can lose…

“The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves”

Edward Gibbon “The decline and fall of the Roman Empire”

Prize in others the good qualities you’d like to have but you are struggling to achieve. It is not only paramount to find the right mentors and models in life. It is also critical to spot immediately what doesn’t work for you. If you think independently chances are that most people will not agree with you. And some other times you will find a lot of people supporting you in something that can be clearly a mistake. To fail “conventionally” seems to be more acceptable than to fail “unconventionally”. And in the investment world to succeed unconventionally would be almost considered outrageous or at least an anomaly by many of those that didn’t succeed at all. That’s why most business schools considered Buffett and Munger (and probably they still consider them) a statistical anomaly. Outliers its what they say! Warren would say that human nature has such a perverse tendency sometimes to complicated things to the point that to apply too much of a simple thing like Rationality can be considered an exception. I would only add that Rationality has in many of us a big enemy: emotions. That’s why our journey starts from there in the investment world and investing in common stocks especially. It starts from Temperament. It starts from Patience. Observe yourself and the others. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Be ready to criticize yourself and learn from the others. One of the best advice I got from Buffett it’s to write down the qualities of your heroes and write down also all the traits of the persons you really don’t like. The ones that make your stomach to churn. Write down who you really don’t want to be. It ‘ s hard to change but it’s doable. Yes you can lose, but only if you don’t try.

marco@blikebuffett.com

“It is more human to laugh”

“It is more human to laugh at life than to lament it”

Seneca, On Tranquility of mind

What do you do with sadness? What is the advantage of being a victim and surrender? We all face obstacles that are outside our control. If we have applied our best efforts and at the best of our capabilities and nonetheless things went wrong, what will be our reaction? Great people have great spirits. Great investors are prepared to face hurdles and adversities that happened out of their reasoned choice. The best reaction is to laugh at things rather than complaining or blaming someone else and criticize. What was Mr Buffett’s reaction when interviewed after Kraft Heinz went down significantly writing off its good will, cutting the dividend and so on? I always saw Buffett laughing when mentioning his “many mistakes”. A long successful journey requires a big portion of mistakes. It’s a 18 holes golf course. If you want to get to the clubhouse you got to play them all. The good and the bad. If you don’t train yourself in keeping up your good spirit, anger or hard feelings will take control of your mind. Don’t let them. Never. Even when dealing with the outcome of a mistake or a poor decision don’t let anger dry up your reason. We all face bad decisions. Was it a good decision for Buffett to stay for twenty years in the textile business when he bought Berkshire in 1965? Tranquility of mind and a lot of good subsequent acquisitions fixed a bad financial decision that he now remembers with a smile. If you can’t laugh at things because it seems too hard try at least to smile and move forward.

Live well

“We should live well but not in luxury”

Seneca, “Moral letters” 

What does truly make you happy? Seneca and the stoics thought that happiness resides easily in small things. Incidentally Benjamin Franklin many centuries later pointed out that more than in the big strikes of luck, that also may happen, happiness can be found in the little satisfactions or pleasures that life offers every single day. They were all rich guys. Seneca was very rich just like Franklin was. Therefore they lived well, but not in luxury. They knew what they wanted from life. They were able to focus on what was important. The ability to make money and save and constantly learn and grow was a consequence of their exceptional personality and discipline. They had clear in their mind what to pursue in life to be happy and useful to society and how to use wisely the ultimate asset : time.

How can be important the search for luxury if you already live well and intelligently use your time and money? Yes, time and money to live well. I would add that you will definitely not only live well but you will be better off without luxury, especially if you can’t totally afford it. Many miserable life have been lived in the pursuit of luxury. I find crazy to trade the chance of a good life to obtain luxury and use it to impress people that don’t love you. Try first to be loved by the ones that already love you because of you and not because of your luxury toys.