17 Charlie Munger quotes that teach us invaluable lessons about investing and life – tap into the amazing insight of Warren Buffett’s right-hand man

As vice-chair of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger is famous for his illustrious business partnership with Warren Buffett.

Although less well known than Buffett, Munger is a unique source of investing acumen who brings an original perspective to the challenges we face when plotting our financial futures and making our way in the world.

As Buffett says: “Charlie marches to the beat of his own music, and it’s music like virtually no one else is listening to.”

So let’s tune in and find out what we can learn about investing and life from one of the greats.


Munger on investing psychology

First and foremost, Charlie counsels that successful investing means mastering our emotions:
1: “A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments. And that is why we say that having a certain kind of temperament is more important than brains. You need to keep raw irrational emotion under control. You need patience and discipline and an ability to take losses and adversity without going crazy. You need an ability to not be driven crazy by extreme success.”

Neither must we succumb to overconfidence.
2: “It’s remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”
That means neither Munger nor Buffett are afraid to admit their own limitations in the face of hype and the ‘next big thing’:
3: “We have three baskets for investing: yes, no, and too tough to understand.”
Often investors are tempted to make unwise bets due to FOMO (= fear of missing out) but Munger preaches against the politics of envy:
4: “Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?”
What’s more, he doesn’t think we should be in too much of a hurry:
5: “The desire to get rich fast is pretty dangerous.”
Given his incredible success, Munger’s humility is instructive.
6: “Someone will always be getting richer faster than you. This is not a tragedy.”
Ultimately, Berkshire’s other living legend favours a get rich slowly approach:
7: “Live within your income and save so that you can invest.“

Munger on long-term thinking

Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who will be 100-years-old in 2024, Charlie believes that patience is a secret weapon.
8: “It’s waiting that helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.”
Indeed, along with Buffett, Munger advocates a buy-and-hold strategy:
9: “We’re partial to putting out large amounts of money where we won’t have to make another decision.”
Charlie sees proper investing as a long game that takes time to payoff:
10: “The big money is not in the buying or the selling, but in the waiting.”
One major advantage of taking the long view is you can afford to ignore the short-term volatility of the stock market:
11: “Like the weather, I just ignore the weather. I just try to invest whatever capital I have as best I can and take the results as they fall. I just seize whatever opportunities I can and I hope I get my share.”

Munger on success

Many of Charlie’s greatest insights apply as equally well to life as they do to investing …
12: “Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day.”
Despite his own inestimable knowledge, Munger has always remained admirably humble:
13: “Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.”
And he recognises that we all fall short at times:
14: “There’s no way that you can live an adequate life without many mistakes. In fact, one trick in life is to get so you can handle mistakes. Failure to handle psychological denial is a common way for people to go broke.”
The silver lining is that we grow by learning from our mistakes:
15: “The most important thing is knowing where you are competent and where you aren’t. The human mind tries to make you believe you are smarter than you are. Rub your nose in your mistakes.”
But perhaps one of Munger’s greatest pieces of advice is to invest in your own character and standing within your profession and community:
16: “To get what you want, deserve what you want. Trust, success, and admiration are earned. It’s such a simple idea. It’s the golden rule so to speak: You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end.”
17: “Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets — and can be lost in a heartbeat.”
That’s wonderful advice from one of the most successful investing and business minds that the world has ever known.


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