Warren Buffett is 87 today—here's what he learned from buying his first stock at age 11

Warren Buffett bought his first stock at 11
Warren Buffett bought his first stock at 11

Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett is 87 today.

The legendary investor, who has amassed a fortune of more than $75 billion over his career, got into the investing game early on. He bought his first stock, shares of Cities Service for $38 apiece, at age 11.

What he's learned since that purchase in 1942 is to buy, hold and not watch the markets too closely.

"No matter what the headlines say … American business is going to do fine over time," Buffett tells Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour. "Occasionally we go off the tracks with bubbles … but it will never permanently derail us."

Warren Buffett's secret to investing lays in the game of baseball
Warren Buffett's secret to investing lays in the game of baseball

In fact, when he bought his first stock in 1942, the headlines didn't look good, he notes: "We were losing the war in the Pacific."

Markets go up and down every day, but that doesn't necessarily mean there's significance to every move. As an investor, it helps to be patient, and to accept a certain level of uncertainty.

Since buying his first stock, 76 years have gone by, and in all those years, "I've never known what the market is going to do the next day," Buffett says. "That's not my game. My game is to decide whether I'm in the right economy, which America has definitely been ever since that time."

Rather than trying to time your investments, buy and hold for the long term, Buffett tells CNBC. It's what he's been doing since the 1940s and what he still does today, regardless of the headlines.

"I've owned stocks consistently since 1942," Buffett tells PBS. "I was buying stocks the day before the [2016] election. I was buying stocks the same day after the election. Had Hillary been elected, it would've been the same thing."

This is an updated version of a story that was previously published in June 2017.

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