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Stocks B / Berkshire Hathaway


Subject:  Re: Buffett/Jayhawk Q&A Date:  7/14/2005  3:10 PM
Author:  howardroark Number:  106405 of 254416

I've wondered this myself. The 50% figure gets thrown around, but Buffett himself didn't achieve anywhere near that rate. His returns were great but in the 20-30% range even in his salad days. Maybe before his partnership he was doing that, but I doubt he was constrained by the size of his capital when he started with $105,100.

I think the $105K starting capital is a bit misleading in terms of his capital constraints. He started 1957 with a very small amount of capital in a down market year but was up to around $7 million by 1961, which is $40-$45 million in today's terms. By the end of the partnership he was at almost $600m in today's dollars. There is an enormous difference between running $1 million and running, say, $50 million in today's dollars. If you asked me whether I would consider it more difficult to generate Buffett's 29.5% CAGR given the increase in his capital over the BPL years or 50% CAGR managing only $1m every year for 13 years, I would pick the former.

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