Who do you think of when I mention one of the most successful investors of all time? You probably think of Warren Buffett, the legendary chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is #3 on the Forbes 400 list, with a net worth of $86.2 BILLION today. So depending on the stock market valuations, he is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Warren Buffett is very well known for his long-term investing strategies and he has a lot to teach about money. That’s not a surprise, knowing that he began investing at age 11 (!!!). He wasn’t born into money and he did it the old-fashioned way, still living in the house he bought in 1958, nothing fancy.
The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has an amazing feel of common sense, that’s why so many people are reading his letters to shareholders and listening to his every word. Because I want you to be successful, we will go over some of the lessons you can take away from his career & strategies.
How to be Like Warren Buffett
1. Level Up Your Communication Skills
Public speaking was Buffett’s nightmare, just like other people he is struggling with this. Then he enrolled in a public speaking course, given by Dale Carnegie (the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People). This changed his life since he was more able to connect with people. Both one-on-one as while giving group speeches.
One of the most important things to take away from this is to share anecdotes while you’re having a conversation or giving a speech. Think about trips, books, or movies that changed the way you think or lessons you’ve learned in life. In this way, you will not only give them a list of things, but you’re also illustrating them in which way it influenced your life. Stories and anecdotes tend to stick around longer, making people remember what you told them.
2. Read More, And Then Some
Buffett is very known for his reading habits, 80% of his day he spends reading. He recommends reading 500 pages per day, which is of course not feasible for many of us. BUT try to at least read a book every month or so.
Warren Buffett is not the only one who reads a lot. Bill Gates reads a book per week and also Oprah Winfrey reads at least a book per month. So start reading! If you don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions:
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – book review
- How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero – this is where I got the inspiration to write down my money blueprint
3. Choose Your Friends Wisely
It’s important to associate with people that are better than yourself, Buffett is convinced. We’ve all heard the story that you become the average of the 5 people you hang out with. So you better hang out with BADASS people who have the same values as you and who inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
A good friend encourages you to tackle that one thing that you don’t want to do and introduces you to the right people. They cheer for you, celebrate in your highs, and support you in your lows. They have the same interest and want to talk about topics like money.
I know this is very hard, so don’t be too hard on yourself (or your friends). I believe that every person has their own lessons that they will teach you, so every friend will be valuable in some way. But if you feel like you want more guidance, go look for mentors. Look for people who are where you want to be, and follow their every step.
4. Four Fundamentals For Investing
Regarding investing advice, Buffett clearly knows what he’s talking about. He looks for companies that have:
- A business he understands
- A favorable long term prospect, with a competitive advantage and a stable industry
- Competent management that is trustworthy
- A good price tag
He is focused on buying the business instead of the stocks, which means that he looks at the performance of the underlying business. This refers back to the first fundamental for investing; invest in a business you understand. When you truly know what the business is doing, how they are working, and in what way they are creating value, in the long term your investment will pay off.
5. Low-Cost Index funds
When you invest a part of your income every month in your portfolio, in the long term the costs will even out. In the expensive months, you will buy fewer stocks and in the cheap
6. Don’t Live Beyond Your Means
While Buffett is worth $82,7 billion, he still lives in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31.500. He still drives himself to the office in his Cadillac. He does not do the lifestyle inflation like many of his fellow billionaires.
This is one great important point. Imagine that you will increase your income over time, but you will not increase your living expenses. The difference you can invest, which will also increase over time. The increase in investment combined with a compounding interest will give you a great nest egg that you can enjoy for years!
I’m trying to put this in practice, by living on half my income – and you can too! There are a few other easy money-saving tips that can save you hundreds each month, so kickstart your financial journey even more!
7. Stay Focused
If you want to have outsized success, you need to focus on a skill set that will get you extraordinary results. Imagine if Buffett was to switch career paths to becoming a journalist, then decided he wanted to start a restaurant, or maybe he wanted to be a motivational speaker. He probably wouldn’t be where he is today.
I’m not saying it isn’t okay to not be sure yet about what you want to do with the rest of your life. I’m also not there yet and I don’t know if I’ll ever be. But at this point, I think it’s important to focus on the skillset that you have developed over time and built that even more.
Figure out what you do better than everyone else, maybe you’re a good showman, you love connecting with people, you are incredible at writing. Know what your strengths are, stay laser-focused, and get after what you want.
Don’t focus only on your skills, stay focused on your goals as well. Whether your goal is to invest your first dollar, run that marathon, get that promotion, start with Peer-to-Peer lending, or even reach financial freedom. Stay focused on the goal and I’m sure you will get there!
8. Give Back And Do Good
While you’re on your way to Financial Freedom, why not give time, resources, or money to those who need it the most. It can be volunteering for your local football club, it can be giving away things you don’t need anymore to charity, or it can simply be by donating money.
It feels good to contribute, care for others and take care of the things that are important for you.
9. Go Against The Herd
One famous quote of Warren Buffett is: ‘Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.
Whether with investing or real-life, don’t do what everyone else does. When you are buying shares when everyone is buying, you’ll probably pay too much. You are getting too little when you’re selling when everyone else is selling. That’s why other big investors like George Noble also go against the herd.
So my take on it is: when everyone else is selling, buy! You get the stocks for a good discount, which is precisely what Buffett wants you to do! Buffett watches for bargains, so he would be very proud of you!
10. Start Small
If something seems hard or the step is too big for you to take, start small by making it easier. Break it into smaller, bite-sized pieces for yourself.
If you’re just trying to get better one step at a time, it’s going to be unbelievable where you’ll be in one year. Just take one step, start small and keep the foundation while you go forward. If you are trying to skip a few steps, you’ll probably fall down. So keep it small, you only have to take one step at a time. When you’ve taken this step, only then it’s time to move forward!
11. Be Patient
Last but not least, let’s look into patience. Focusing on the long-term over the short-term allows you to reap the benefits in the future. When you’re investing your money today, it will already start working for you now.
Today’s generation is not so good with patience, myself included. We’re more the types of instant gratification and wanting everything right at this moment. I am still learning in this regard, trying not to look at my investments too much, not looking at my phone too much, and focusing on my long-term goals and perspectives.
There are many things that we can learn from Warren Buffett, but these are the things that I’ve learned throughout the years. I agree that these lessons are all common sense, but every once in a while we need a
What lesson is your main takeaway?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.