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How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway Stock

With Warren Buffet at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway, its stocks (BRKA and BRKB) are among the most well-known on today’s market. The company is a holding company that either owns other businesses or has a major stake in them. Some of the company’s largest holdings include Apple, Bank of America and Coca-Cola. It’s often said that investing in Berkshire Hathaway is like buying into an exchange-traded fund (ETF). Both offer diversification across industry sectors. But while ETFs are often passively invested, seeking to track a benchmark index, Berkshire Hathaway actively buys stocks and businesses. As you explore whether or not investing in Berkshire Hathaway is a good idea for you, it can help to get some hands-on help from a financial advisor.

How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway: Broker Account

Berkshire Hathaway stocks trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The company offers two types of shares: Class A and Class B. Berkshire’s Class A shares are significantly more expensive than Class B. This is because they have never split, despite the price being in the six figures now. Buffet actually created Class B shares so that his company would be within reach of small investors. Originally, they sold at 1/30 the price of Class A shares. But in 2010, they did a 50-to-1 split, so that Class B shares were selling at 1/1,500 the price of Class A shares.

Once you know which Berkshire shares you can afford, you’ll need to select a brokerage. Some firms have in-person and over-the-phone services, whereas others are entirely  online platforms or apps. When you’re comparing brokerages, keep an eye out for commissions charges for stock trades and any significant minimum investment requirements.

Brokerage Comparison
Brokerage Firm Trading Fees Minimum Best For
Merrill Edge
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$0 for online trades; $29.95 for rep-assisted trades $0 – Bank of America account holders
– Customer support users
TD Ameritrade
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$0 for online trades: $25 for broker-assisted trades $0 – Online traders
– Customers who value support
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$0 $0 – Mobile/online traders
– Self-sufficient investors

Once your account is funded, it’s time to grab your slice of Berkshire Hathaway. Many brokers will provide two distinct means of purchase: limit orders and market orders. If you think the current price of Berkshire’s stock is right, you can place a market order for the number of shares you want. A limit order, on the other hand, allows you to set a specific price that Berkshire shares must reach before your account triggers a purchase.

How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway: Financial Advisors

Although costlier than an online brokerage account, a financial advisor is a great investment alternative for newbie investors or individuals who don’t have time to manage an account personally. More than advising you on when or whether to buy Berkshire Hathaway stock, an advisor can help you build an investment portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance and goals. Investors often overlook this holistic approach, but the rewards for working with an experienced professional can be substantial.

Overview of Berkshire Hathaway

A holding company is a business that owns many other companies, and Berkshire Hathaway is the cream of the crop. Warren Buffett, aka the Oracle of Omaha, and his team are always looking for new stocks to bring into Berkshire’s group of holdings. If you invest in Berkshire Hathaway, you’re likely someone who trusts Buffett’s decision-making.

Overview of Companies That Berkshire Hathaway Owns Partly or Wholly
  • Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies
  • Geico Auto Insurance
  • Travelers Companies
  • United States Liability Insurance Group
Banks and Financial Services
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of New York Mellon
  • Goldman Sachs Group
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • Mastercard
  • Moody’s Corporation
  • M&T Bank
  • PNC Financial Services Group
  • Synchrony Financial
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • Visa
  • Wells Fargo & Co.
Food and Beverage Companies
  • Coca-Cola
  • Kraft-Heinz
  • Restaurant Brands International
Retail Services
  • Amazon
  • Costco
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

Berkshire Hathaway’s Financial Profile

It’s rare to call a company’s stock “blue-chip.” This signifies that it has attained a high level of long-term reliability. Berkshire Hathaway either fully or partially owns many such companies, making it a blue-chip conglomerate by association.

According to a report from Investopedia, a $1,000 investment in Class A Berkshire shares in 1964 would’ve netted you 52 shares at $19 each. The report then goes on to claim that, as of January 2016, those same shares would be worth $9,861,280. That rate of return clearly illustrates how strong of an investment Berkshire Hathaway has been under Buffet’s leadership. (He’ll be 90 years old in August 2020.)

How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway Stock

(Past performance does not indicate future results. Chart from November 2018)

The Bottom Line

A stock price as high as Berkshire Hathaway’s is beyond the reach of small investors. If you can’t afford roughly $340,000 for one share, you should consider the company’s Class B shares. Alternately, you could try fractional share investing.

All stocks, regardless of the company they come from, have a certain level of risk. You can see this when comparing equities to ETFs. These baskets of stocks and other investment types are diversified across the market. Often tracking an index, ETFs are considered safer than a stock, which rides on the performance of a single company. Berkshire is unique, though, as the company itself is a collection of businesses.

Tips for Picking a Financial Advisor

How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway Stock

  • To prepare for your initial meeting, take a look over our questions to ask a financial advisor. They will provide key information you need to make your final decision.
  • SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool helps you narrow the field. Take a few minutes to answer the questionnaire about your financial situation. Once you complete this, you will receive up to three matches based on your preferences and goals.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Nikada, Yahoo Finance, ©iStock.com/skynesher

Chris Thompson, CEPF® Chris Thompson is a retirement, savings, mortgage and credit card expert at SmartAsset. He has reviewed hundreds of credit cards and loves helping people find the one that best matches their financial needs. Chris is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He graduated from Montclair State University where he received the Journalism Achievement Award. Chris’ articles have been featured in places like Yahoo Finance, MSN and Bleacher Report. He lives in New Jersey and is a Mets, Jets and Nets fan.
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