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16 Nuggets of Financial Advice From Warren Buffett

Renowned businessman and self-made billionaire Warren Buffett may be one of the 20th century’s most successful investors, but this American icon and chairman of holding company Berkshire Hathaway knows more than money. Buffett, whose net worth is over $66 billion, is a generous philanthropist, an admired leader, and a role model for living frugally, despite his immense wealth. He gained 99% of his wealth after the age of 50, which proves Buffett put in the work for decades before “making it.” It’s one of the reasons his financial advice often rings so true.

Take this relatable Buffett musing: “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” His lesson? Put in the work, which he did year after year. He worked as a stockbroker in his early twenties, with a net worth of around $20,000. His income grew alongside his career, to a net worth of $140,000 by age 26. Savvy investments, including in Bank of America, Apple, Coca-Cola, and American Express, helped Buffett's fortune continue to grow. He reached millionaire status, a lifelong dream, by age 30. At 56, his net worth passed $1 billion.

Buffett stayed ahead of the curve by following his own advice, including one of his most powerful teachings: “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” The billionaire has invested hundreds of hours into his own education and edification. From Columbia Business School to a blossoming love of the ukulele, Buffett fills his life with educational moments. He has also pledged to give away most of his wealth, planning to give 83% of it to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Many people seek wisdom from Buffett when it comes to starting a business or investing, but his financial lessons can apply to people of all backgrounds and incomes. Here are 16 quotes offering some of Buffett's most sage financial advice.

Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.

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Buy into a company because you want to own it, not because you want the stock to go up.

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One can best prepare themselves for the economic future by investing in your own education. If you study hard and learn at a young age, you will be in the best circumstances to secure your future.

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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.

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Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.

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It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.

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Buy a stock the way you would buy a house. Understand and like it such that you’d be content to own it in the absence of any market.

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You don’t buy or sell your business based on today’s headlines. If it gives you a chance to buy something you like and you can buy it even cheaper, you’re in good luck.

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Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

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A willingness to look unimaginative for a sustained period — or even to look foolish — is also essential.

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In large part, companies obtain the shareholder constituency that they seek and deserve. If they focus their thinking and communications on short-term results or short-term stock market consequences, they will, in large part, attract shareholders who focus on the same factors.

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I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.

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Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.

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What counts for most people in investing is not how much they know, but rather how realistically they define what they don't know.

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Look for integrity, intelligence, and energy.

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I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.

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Photo credit:  BOB STRONG/ Staff/ Getty Images

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About the Author
Stephanie Vermillion
Stephanie is an Ohio-based writer and photographer who's never met a slice of pizza she didn't like — or inhale.
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