Warren Buffett Turns 93: His Top Investment Advice and Succession Plan

The "Oracle of Omaha" has inspired generations of investors during his long reign of Wall Street.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett at this year’s Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 13, 2023 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Warren Buffett turns 93 today (Aug. 30). The longtime chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) is one of the most revered business figures of our time and has inspired generations of investors with his simple, pragmatic philosophies and remarkable track record.

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Over nearly six decades, Berkshire Hathaway has frequently achieved annualized returns of 20 percent or more, notably higher than the returns of popular benchmarks like the Dow Jones and S&P 500. There’s perhaps no better time to take a look back on the legendary investor’s wisdom on life and business through his famous quotes in interviews and annual shareholder letters—a must-read for money managers—and look forward to the future of his business empire.

Warren Buffett’s top 10 quotes that inspire investment goals

  • “The first rule of an investment is don’t lose (money). And the second rule of an investment is don’t forget the first rule. And that’s all the rules there are.” —1985 shareholder letter
  • “If principles become dated, they’re no longer principles.”—1988 shareholder letter
  • “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”—1989 shareholder letter
  • “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.”—1993 shareholder letter
  • “If we can’t find things within our circle of competence, we don’t expand the circle. We’ll wait.”—1995 shareholder letter
  • “What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.”—2004 shareholder letter
  • “The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money.”—2007 shareholder letter
  • “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”—2008 shareholder letter
  • “A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”—2008 interview with The New York Times
  • “It’s never paid to bet against America. We come through things, but it’s not always a smooth ride.” —2009 interview with NBC

Berkshire Hathaway’s succession plan

Buffett hasn’t publicly talked about his succession plan in recent years. But in 2021, his longtime business partner Charlie Munger let slip at a shareholder meeting that Greg Abel, head of Berkshire Hathaway’s energy business, would succeed Buffett as CEO if anything happened to the billionaire. Buffett later confirmed the plan to CNBC and said Abel would “take over tomorrow morning” if needed.

Buffett also said that, if for some reason Abel couldn’t do the job, Ajit Jain, who oversees Berkshire’s insurance business, would become CEO.

Abel, 59, and Jain, 70, were promoted to vice chairmen of Berkshire Hathaway’s board in 2018. “Ajit and Greg have rare talents, and Berkshire blood flows through their veins,” Buffett wrote in his 2018 letter to shareholders. 

In April this year, Abel joined Buffett on his business trip to Japan, where he made large investments in the country’s top trading houses. Abel “does all the work, and I take the bows—it’s exactly what I wanted,” Buffett told CNBC at the time.

Warren Buffett Turns 93: His Top Investment Advice and Succession Plan