Warren Buffett is an intelligent man. He’s also the third richest in the world – probably a gent who you want to take advice from then.
Whilst he’s hardly dolling out the insider ten-figure investment tips at will – we’d imagine he keeps them to himself and closely guarded at that – he has got one piece of sage advice about what us mortals and non-billionaires should be putting our money into. Ourselves, as it turns out.
Yes, in a previous interview he’s spoken about the most important investment any man can ever make, saying:
“Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.”
Looking back through this prolific quote-vendor’s back catalogue throws up some pretty good places on where to target this investment and it’s not all monetary.
“You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck 40 years later.”
He’s not exactly the epitome of #thinspiration and whoever his nutritionist is certainly wouldn’t get a job elsewhere. Buffett is noted for his excessively high sugar consumption, something that would have any other man piling on the pounds – and not in the Warren Buffet manner.
In this scenario, it’s a case of do as he says and not as he does, as I’m sure a parent, teacher or sibling has told you in the past.
“Warren Buffett has become one hell of a lot better of an investor since the day I met him, and so have I. If we had been frozen at any given stage, with the knowledge we had, the record would have been much worse than it is. So the game is to keep learning.”
This comes from Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett takes time to learn and think, as he says, “I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business”.
Whether reading a book that isn’t fiction on the daily commute, these are the 10 the world’s most successful recommend, or listening to a few Ted Talks whilst cooking dinner, finding time to better your mind is tricky but the payoff is worth it.
“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
That’s not to say give your closest friends the boot as soon as you’ve closed this article, but maybe start attending more events and talking to different co-workers. Do though, ditch the negative influencers – there’s nothing wrong with being a bit selfish every now and again.
“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
That leap up the food chain may still be out of reach but don’t settle for a career path that doesn’t fulfil you. If you’re stagnating professionally, you’ll never reach your potential. It may even be time to strike out on your own, although it might be worth reading this retrospective account on what an entrepreneurs life is often like.
Finally, if you feel like a Buffett in the making, the man himself has some great words about how to do it successfully, although putting them into action may prove harder than you think.
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
Many traders profited from the aftermath of the financial crash, making smart investments others were to frightened to make. More City boys on the other hand lost out, being reckless when the good times were rolling and doing very little once they stopped.
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
This goes back to knowledge and being clued up, take the time to read and think as the great man says.
“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1.”
Like Fight Club, there are rules to this investing lark – don’t forget them or you could find yourself on your ass.