Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Bucket List is Shorter!

Last night we slept on a goosedown comforter on the floor of Dan's very nice condo in Omaha. It's our second couchsurfing event of our trip. Art and I were both surprised not to be sore today.

We drove to Qwest Center in downtown Omaha. We arrived at 7:30, an hour before the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting was scheduled to start, but already the parking lot was full and people were streaming from other lots. We found a parking lot half a mile from the stadium and were glad for it!

The event was just as I'd hoped. After an introductory film, Warren Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger were seated at a table in front of the stadium. From the third-tier seats we watched them on large screens and didn't feel like we missed anything. Three reporters were seated near them: one from Fortune, one from the New York Times, and one from CNBC. Each reporter had been receiving emails from shareholders over the prior three weeks, with questions from the shareholder, which were asked of Buffett and Munger during the five-hour question and answer session. Additionally, 13 microphones had been set up throughout the arena, and lottery-winning shareholders asked their questions. The two men answered 60 questions ranging from those about the recent firing of David Sokol for "insider trading", business plans for Berkshire Hathaway, and other aspects of the current economic situation.

Art and I stayed for the entire session, including the 45-minute shareholder meeting afterwards. Art says it was much more interesting than he had anticipated. Warren Buffett is a good teacher and a lively, humorous speaker. Charlie Munger is an extremely knowlegeable, though terse, responder. Art and I both learned a lot.

Five years ago my mother gave me some money as a gift. I bought two shares of Berkshire Hathaway B stock; I'd admired Buffett for years and wanted to participate in his company. At that time, a share of A stock was $97,000 and a share of B stock was $3,000. Last year the B stock split 50 to 1, so we now have 100 shares. I think we've gotten about a 35 percent gain since we bought our shares. Berkshire doesn't distribute dividends, but reinvests profits. If a shareholder wants cash from their investment, they can sell shares.

We're very glad we decided to attend this meeting in Omaha, and to be able to cross an item off my bucket list, "To hear Warren Buffett speak."


10 comments:

Beth from Maine said...

I'm pleased it was not a disappointment. Sometimes these things are. You lead a very interesting life.

DJan said...

It's lovely that you have a companion who is as interested in all this as you are yourself. It sure makes my life a lot more fun to share all this with my guy. Glad to hear it was so interesting.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, a 50-1 split is something I have never heard of. Way to go. You are evidently following the right fellow.

Out on the prairie said...

Sounds really fun, I would enjoy listening to their wisdom.The comforter sounds a bit rough. I always have a cot in back when I go just in case I need it.

Lynilu said...

I'm glad it was a good experience. After the trip you made to see it it would have been very sad if not!

I have to tell you that I doubt I could sleep on the floor, even with a down comforter! I'm just too old for floor sleeping these days!

Retired English Teacher said...

I'm impressed with your investment knowledge and happy to read that you are still learning. I will have to tell my husband about this. Interesting.

Sightings said...

After reading this, I can sum up my reaction in two words. I'm jealous. Or maybe it's: I'm envious. Either way, great trip; great report.

#1Nana said...

Okay, compared to you I am leading a totally unexciting life in retirement. I think I need to start one of those lists and begin with:
1. Do something more exciting than take the granddaughters to Rio, the cartoon not the city!

marciamayo said...

how cool! I'm a Warren Buffett fan myself.

Deb Shucka said...

What a great experience for you. It's always so satisfying to accomplish something from our bucket lists, especially a thing that might have been easy to skip.