29. What is Return On Equity – Warren Buffett’s Favorite Number

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In this lesson, we learned the importance of buying a company that has a strong return on equity. Since the market price of the stocks you buy is dependent on the dividends and the growth of the book value, we can quickly learn that a company that grows it’s book value at a faster pace is more valuable.

When we assessed two different companies in the video, we created a situation where both companies had the exact same earnings. The difference between the companies was the size of their equity (or book value). When a company with a large amount of book value is compared to a company with less book value, the percent change in their growth will be much more difficult if earnings are similar.

When a company consistently has a strong Return on Equity, we know as investors that the management of the company is properly reinvesting the earnings of the business into assets that will continue to grow the capital earned. This is very important since most of the earnings produced by a company are retained and not paid as a dividend. When a disciplined investor purchases companies with a sustained high ROE, their investments compound at a much higher rate than other assets. The great thing with purchasing companies with high ROEs is that it helps alleviate capital gains tax if the security is held for a long period of time.

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