Here's how rich you'd be if you had bet $1,000 on Warren Buffett back in the day

This Saturday is the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, and Warren Buffett and his right-hand man Charlie Munger are set to answer investors’ questions. Over the last half-century, Buffett has taken a failing textile company and turned it into a legendary conglomerate.

Using historical price data for Berkshire Hathaway class A shares from a retrospective analysis of Buffett’s outsized returns and from Yahoo! Finance, we calculated how much $US1,000 of Berkshire stock would be worth today if you invested that money at the end of each year of Buffett’s tenure.

That $US1,000 invested in 1964, when Buffett took over the company and shares cost just $US19, would be worth about $US13 million dollars today, based on the $US249,010 price of the stock on May 3. $US1,000 invested in 1990 would be worth $US37,305 today.

Here’s a chart showing the current value of Berkshire Hathaway stock bought at different times in the last fifty years:

Investing in the first couple decades of Buffett’s stewardship would have lead $US1,000 to grow to several million dollars by today. After about 1980 or so, those gains were much more modest, although still extremely impressive.

To get a better handle on the last thirty or so years of Berkshire Hathaway, which become hard to see on the above chart owing to the extremely large returns from earlier years, here’s the same chart using a logarithmic scale, in which the vertical axis is incremented in powers of ten, making it easier to compare the large range of price returns we’re looking at:

We’ll have full coverage of the annual meeting on Saturday.

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