For three days in early May, over 40,000 investors and spectators will flock to the city of Omaha Nebraska to attend what many call the “Woodstock for Capitalist.”
The annual Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK.A) Shareholder meeting attracts crowds and offers attendees a chance to learn in person from legendary investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. It’s an event like no other, and in this post, we’ll attempt to give you everything you need to know to make the most out of the trip.
Before You Arrive
Book Accommodations – It goes without saying, but you’ll want to line up your accommodations well in advance. Hotels close to the convention center offer the best proximity to interact with other investors and participate in all the events. However, if you are looking to save on expenses, check out hotels further out or listings on Airbnb.
Secure a Ticket – Yes, you need the proper credentials to gain access to the shareholder events. If you are not a shareholder of BRK.A or BRK.B, there are ways to secure a ticket. Check auction platforms like eBay or local listing pages like Craigslist.
Typically you can find shareholders who aren’t able to attend or have received more tickets than they can utilize. If you still are having trouble locating a ticket, ask around in various investor networking groups. You would be surprised how helpful others can be in locating a ticket.
Read the Shareholder Letter – Every year Buffett parts valuable wisdom and witty insight within the pages of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual letters. Reading through the current shareholder letter will give you a leg up on understanding what items might come up during the shareholder meeting.
Find Meet Ups and Other Outside Events – For three days you will be surrounded by other individuals who share similar interest. The environment is extremely friendly, and there are opportunities all over the city to meet great people.
If you are looking to interact with other value-oriented investors check out a gathering like the one organized by Stig and Preston of The Investors Podcast. Other options can be found with a simple Google search. Either way, there are plenty of opportunities to mingle and meet other individuals interested in investing.
Insider Tip: There are also other events that aren’t sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway, but that are available for Berkshire attendees. Creighton University’s Heider College of Business and Portfolio Practicum class host a value investing panel discussion at 3 pm on Friday. Admission is free and you can hear from and ask questions of leading value investors. – Dr. Robert Johnson, President & CEO of The American College of Financial Services, Author of Strategic Value Investing.
You’ve Arrived, What Now?
Now that you have arrived in Omaha, it’s time to make the most of your trip. For the most part, everywhere you go you will have the opportunity to bump into interesting people with similar interest that are in town for the meeting.
Hit the Scenic Locations – If you are really there for pilgrimage, don’t be afraid to act like a tourist and take in all the notorious locations that have played as setting for Buffett’s career. Snap a picture in front of Kewitt Plaza, where Buffett has steered the ship for over 50 years. Tour Boy’s Town, where Buffett so proudly helped his investment The Sun Newspaper earn a Pulitzer in 1973. Visit the Nebraska Furniture Mart, where legendary operator Mrs. B worked in the company until her passing at age 103. Shop at Borsheims, the local jewelry retailer Buffett added to Berkshire in 1989.
Visit The Exhibit Hall – The exhibit hall located in CenturyLink convention center showcases nearly all of Berkshire Hathaway brands. It’s an impressive setup with great deals exclusively available for shareholders (and those with the display credentials to enter). Even if you are not interested in the shopping aspect, be sure to stroll through for the overall enjoyment from an investor perspective.
Seeing all the brands in one location gives you a real appreciation of what Buffett and Munger have accomplished in building one of the greatest conglomerates in history. As you stop by various exhibits you will also have a unique opportunity to interact with Berkshire Hathaway CEOs. Many of the brand’s operators are on the exhibit floor and more than willing to chat with investors and those interested in learning about their businesses.
Attend Other Events – Hopefully, you did some planning and found a few non-Berkshire Hathaway events to attend. There is no shortage of investing oriented events that offer great opportunities to hear panel discussions and learn from top individuals in the industry. Another great way to find activities of this nature is to strike up conversations with other individuals. You would be surprised how friendly and inclusive the atmosphere is. Typically Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, and Service Providers have gone out of their way to organize events that are informative and open to all. Take advantage of the setting.
Insider Tip: Make reservation’s at Gorats ahead of time. It’s Warren’s favorite steakhouse and he always eats there Friday night with some BRK CEOs. – Kathryn Leste, Event Manager of The Value Investor Conference
Night Life – After a full day it’s tempting to turn in early. If you make it out you’ve got great opportunities to meet other great people and enjoy more staple opportunities that Omaha has to offer. For dinner, you’re in no better place to enjoy a fantastic steak.