By Investment Master Class The majority of the Investment Masters are value investors.  One of the common attributes of their investment style is to endeavour to  ‘buy dollar bills for 50 cents’ or less.  If a company’s intrinsic value is estimated at $1 and you can buy it at a substantial discount you lower the risk of losing money by establishing a so-called ‘Margin of Safety’. The lower the price you pay for the dollar bill, the more upside and the less downside – a good asymmetric bet.

“We define value investing as buying dollars for 50 cents.” Seth Klarman

“There will always be events micro or macro – that periodically lead to distressed prices for some stocks. It’ll be lumpy, but 50c dollars are not going away as long as humans vacillate between fear and greed” Mohnish Pabrai

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dollar bills 50 cents

“It is extraordinary to me that the idea of buying dollar bills for 40c takes immediately with people or it doesn’t take at all. It’s like an inoculation. If it doesn’t grab a person right away, I find you can talk to him for years, and show him records, and it just doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is…I’ve never seen anyone who became a gradual convert over a ten-year period to this approach. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of I.Q. or academic training. It is instant recognition or it is nothing.” Warren Buffett

"There are plenty of things I don’t know but they don’t factor into the purchase because I am using a huge margin of safety. Buying a dollar at 50 cents. So if things turn against you, you will be okay." Li Lu

“Nobody can predict the market. Take that premise to heart and look to invest in  dollar bills selling for 50¢.” Irving Kahn

“We want to buy dollar bills at 50 cents or less” Mohnish Pabrai

“If a business is worth a dollar and I can buy it for 40 cents, something good may happen” Water Schloss

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“I typically try to buy things for fifty cents or less and I start to think about selling them when they get to be worth ninety cents or more. When things are above ninety percent of intrinsic value, they become candidates to be sold.” Mohnish Pabrai

“All we try to do is buy a dollar for 40 cents” Peter Cundill

“I have previously written that I strive to discover the proverbial dollar bill selling for 50 cents, preferably with enough volatility such that I have the opportunity to buy at 40 cents or less” Michael Burry

“Our long-term wealth management record affirms the efficacy of the belief that if you can’t find a dollar for 50 cents you should pass” Frank Martin

"I'm always trying to buy a dollar's worth of assets for 50 cents, which helps limit the downside"  Kevin Daly

"Value investing is straight forward: it does not require a superhuman set of brain cells.  The average person can understand the logic of it all.  Buy a dollar for 60 cents from some unsuspecting seller and wait until the person wants it back for a dollar"  Chris Browne

Many of the Investment Masters look for opportunities where a catalyst may assist the stock price reaching the 'dollar bill' value.  While a catalyst is helpful, if the 'dollar bill' is cheap enough, that in itself can be it's own catalyst.

“Ultimately, a sufficiently low price becomes its own valuation catalyst”  Murray Stahl

“We’ve always felt that value is its own catalyst”  Mohnish Pabrai

 “Valuation is always the best catalyst.” Stan Majcher