If there’s one person investors should listen to during a market correction, it’s Warren Buffett. At age 89, Buffett has lived through quite a few downturns. And he’s made out pretty well: His net worth is in the ballpark of $85 billion.
Through the years, the Oracle of Omaha has given a lot of great advice in his annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. He has even written about a specific approach for how investors should handle a “super-contagious” disease.
It’s not what you think
Warren Buffett has been interviewed in recent days about his thoughts about what investors should do in response to the global coronavirus outbreak. His take was that it wasn’t a good idea to buy or sell stocks based on daily headlines. But that’s not the advice I’m referring to.
In early 1987, Buffett wrote to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders about what to do in the face of an epidemic. This was, of course, way before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that’s causing worldwide concerns today. It was even before the avian flu, Ebola, SARS, or MERS made the news.
But more than 30 years ago, Buffett addressed two “super-contagious diseases.” He told readers that there are “occasional outbreaks” of these diseases and that they will “forever occur.” Buffett admitted, though, that “the timing of these epidemics will be unpredictable,” cautioning to “never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either disease.”
What were these two diseases? Fear and greed among investors. Buffett stated that his goal to deal with these “epidemics” was “to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”
Time to be greedy
There’s no question that plenty of investors are fearful right now. The so-called fear index — the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) — has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks. When the VIX goes up a lot, it’s a clear sign that many investors are scared. If you think that Warren Buffett was right in 1987, though, that means it’s time to be greedy….CLICK for complete article