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Wise Money – 5 Tips From Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett

Wise Money – 5 Tips From Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett

Want to make investment decisions that lead to wealth in the long term? That’s just what billionaire Warren Buffett has been doing for years. Whether you have $5 or $50 million, Buffett’s wisdom will ring true as you work to make the best choices for your situation.

From the master himself, five tips you can take to the bank:

    1. Fear in others is an opportunity for you

    It’s been an ideal period for investors: A climate of fear is their best friend. Those who invest only when  commentators are upbeat end up paying a heavy price for meaningless reassurance.

    Keep your head about you when others decide with fear and you’ll find value at every turn. From the common market thrashing over quarterly earnings to the small business owner who just wants to get out, learn to smell fear and welcome it as an opportunity.

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    The irrational fear of the herd is a dear friend to the value-minded investor. When everybody else stampedes, quickly work through your own fear and get back to business.

    2. Invest in what you understand

    It doesn’t matter how good a deal you’ve found or how cool an investment opportunity seems. If you don’t understand how it works, steer clear. You probably have at least one friend who is always rushing from one “perfect investment opportunity” to the next. Unless you can afford to burn money in a barrel (which you shouldn’t), steer clear of investments that you don’t fully understand.

    3. Maintain a healthy margin

    We pay a steep price to maintain our premier financial strength. The $20 billion-plus of cash equivalent assets that we customarily hold is earning a pittance at present. But we sleep well.

    For most individuals, the idea of even $5,000 in the bank seems like a far-fetched dream. Keeping 6 months worth of living expenses in a separate account is good personal finance sense. Holding enough cash to get you through times of uncertainty in your business has the same result of keeping you free of fear-based blunders.

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    Figure out the number you need to keep safe in order to sleep well at night. Buffett needs his $20 billion, I need enough to pay for my friends’ drinks for a few months. What do you need?

    4. Concentrate on long term results

    In the end, what counts in investing is what you pay for a business – through the purchase of a small piece of it in the stock market – and what that business earns in the succeeding decade or two.

    Once you’ve put the first 3 tips into practice it’s important to remember that tremendous value is most often gained over the long term. Look at what might happen over the next 15-20 years and invest accordingly.

    You’ve got your cushion so you’re not afraid of dips in the market. You’re working within the bounds of what you understand well. You also have the ability to operate calmly when the rest of the world has gone nuts. Putting some focus on 4 tips should be no big deal for you!

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    5. Take full responsibility for your investment decisions

    If Berkshire ever gets in trouble, it will be my fault. It will not be because of misjudgments made by a Risk Committee or Chief Risk Officer.

    Make the success or failure of your investments personal and take responsibility for all your decisions. You might have the smartest consultant of all time but that’s no excuse to shirk your responsibilities. If something goes wrong at Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett takes responsibility for the mishap and works to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

    He’s famous for treating the latest recession like a mother of 20 stocking up on groceries for 50% off. You probably won’t be in a position to purchase entire companies any time soon though. In the meantime, Get more of Buffett’s advice by perusing his annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders (quotes excerpted from 2009 letter).

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    Thanks to CNN Money for the tip!

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    Last Updated on March 4, 2019

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

    I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

    Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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    Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

    Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

    Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

    I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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    I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

    If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

    Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

    The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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    Using Credit Cards with Rewards

    Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

    You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

    I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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    So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

    What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

    Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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