Warren Buffett is the world’s most successful investor. In a letter he wrote to his wife, advising her how to invest after he dies, he offers some clear advice: put almost everything into “a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund”. Index funds passively track the market as a whole by buying a little of everything, rather than trying to beat the market with clever stock picks – the kind of clever stock picks that Warren Buffett himself has been making for more than half a century. Index funds now seem completely natural. But as recently as 1976 they didn’t exist. And, as Tim Harford explains, they have become very important indeed – and not only to Mrs Buffett.

Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon
Producer: Ben Crighton

(Image: Market graphs, Credit: Shutterstock)

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9 minutes

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Mon 5 Jun 2017 03:50 GMT
BBC World Service Online, UK DAB/Freeview only