In a recent article for The Wall Street Journal, columnist Jason Zweig recounts a recent interview with Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger, who advised that now is the time for investors to exercise “caution rather than action.”
Warren Buffett’s longtime partner is known for saying that while sometimes it’s best to do nothing, aggressive buying is the better course when bargains abound. But the Buffett-Munger team, which spent tens of billions investing in companies during the financial crisis, is now adopting a wait-and-see approach.
“We’re like the captain of a ship when the worst typhoon that’s ever happened comes. We just want to get through the typhoon, and we’d rather come out of it with a whole lot of liquidity.” He added, “Warren wants to keep Berkshire safe for people who have 90% of their net worth invested in it. We’re always going to be on the safe side.”
As to whether companies are calling on Berkshire to access capital, Munger said the phone isn’t ringing. “Everybody’s just frozen.” According to Zweig, Munger wouldn’t even attempt to predict how the long the downturn might last. “I think we do know that this will pass,” he said, “but how much damage, and how much recession, and how long it will last, nobody knows.”