“If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”
One of the most successful, famous business magnates and investor is Warren Buffett. He is also known as the “Oracle of Omaha”. He is Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway which owns more than 60 companies, including Geico, Duracell, Phillips66, US Bancorp and restaurant chain Dairy Queen. He has shares of more than 10% in American Express, Kraft, Heinz and Moody’s Corp. Wikipedia estimates his wealth at $82billion in 2019, making him the third wealthiest person in the world.
Buffett is a notable philanthropist having pledged to give away 99% of his fortune. In 2019 he donated $3.6 billion, much of it to the foundation of friends Bill and Melinda Gates. In 2010, he and Gates launched the Giving Pledge, asking billionaires to commit to donating half their wealth to charitable causes.
So, how can we learn from Buffett’s accomplishments and his approach to investing and life?
Buffett is certainly not your typical billionaire. He lives a normal life and he still hasn’t retired at the age of 89 years old. He lives in the same house he bought in 1958 which today is reported to be worth around $652,000.
Here are FIFTEEN examples of some of his wise words relating to both his investment philosophy and his philanthropy:
- “If you are not willing to own stocks for 10 years, don’t even think of owning it for 10 minutes”
- “In the short run, the market is a voting machine – but in the long run it is a weighing machine”
- “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”
- “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”
- “If you are in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%”
- “The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging”
- “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing”
- “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that successful people say no to almost everything”
- “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning”
- “Never invest because you think a Company is a bargain”
- “Complex financial instruments are dangerous liabilities”
- “What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end”
- “Investment bankers, being paid as they are for action, constantly urge acquirers to pay 20% to 50% premiums over market price for publicly held businesses”
- “Rule No 1: Never lose money. Rule No 2: Never forget rule No 1”
- “If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster”
Perhaps his last quote is his most powerful as he gets across the concept that true wealth comes with being able to spread that wealth to make the world a better place. This links back to the concept that entrepreneurs who have high net worth may be best equipped to have a real impact on our planet.