Saturday, July 20, 2013

Warren Buffett on rising Coca-Cola dividends

Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors in history. Berkshire Hathaway's chairman has a reputation of eloquence in his annual shareholder letters. I was reading the 2010 annual letter to shareholders this morning. One of my favorite passages came from page 18, he was talking about how time is the friend of the wonderful business.

I couldn't agree more. I try to spot great businesses, acquire them for a reasonable price, let time do the heavy lifting and compounding work its magic. A great business at some point generates more money in the form of dividends than you put into, you can use that money to fund your lifestyle, retire early or buy more pieces of great businesses.

Buffett on Coke's rising dividends:

Other companies we hold are likely to increase their dividends as well.  Coca-Cola paid us $88 million in 1995, the year after we finished purchasing the stock.  Every year since, Coke has increased its dividend.  In 2011, we will almost certainly receive $376 million from Coke, up $24 million from last year.  Within ten years, I would expect that $376 million to double.  By the end of that period, I wouldn’t be surprised to see our share of Coke’s annual earnings exceed 100% of what we paid for the investment.  Time is the friend of the wonderful business.

When you start out collecting these stocks that pay rising dividends it might be frustrating because the cash generators only produce a trickle in the beginning. But a trickle becomes a drip, a drip becomes a stream, a stream becomes a torrent and a torrent becomes a deluge. That's how compounding works. It starts small and starts growing, faster and faster. Nobody started his first year dividend investing and getting thousands of dollars in passive income immediately. It starts small, that shouldn't stop you from beginning.  You have to start somewhere!

For more shareholder letters from Warren Buffett,

Thanks for reading.

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