Charlie Munger warns there are ‘lots of troubles coming’ because of ‘too much wretched excess’


Charles Munger

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner, issued a dire warning about the future on Wednesday.

“I think there are lots of troubles coming,” he said at the Los Angeles-based Daily Journal annual shareholders meeting. “There’s too much wretched excess.”

Munger — who chairs the publisher — highlighted how much risk investors are taking when investing, particularly in China.

“In China, … they love to gamble in stocks. This is really stupid,” Munger said. “It’s hard to imagine anything dumber than the way the Chinese hold stocks.”

In the U.S. alone, investors face risks ranging from the coronavirus’ impact on the economy to political uncertainty from the upcoming presidential election. Also, the Treasury announced on Wednesday that the U.S. budget deficit increased by 25% in the first four months of the fiscal 2020 period to $1.06 trillion. However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both hit record highs on Wednesday.

‘Bulls— earnings’

To make his point about excess, Munger cited the proliferation of EBITDA as a fake profit metric. “I don’t like when investment bankers talk about EBITDA, which I call bulls— earnings,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous,” Munger said, noting EBITDA — which is short for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — does not accurately reflect how much money a company makes, unlike traditional earnings. “Think of the basic…


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