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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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    Published on September 17, 2018

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

    With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

    So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

    1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

    It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

    You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

    So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

    2. When you want something big, wait

    Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

    It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

    We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

    A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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    So, you get the itch.

    You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

    Here’s where you have to take a step back.

    Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

    Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

    It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

    The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

    3. Live smaller than you can afford

    You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

    You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

    That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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    Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

    Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

    The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

    But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

    4. Practice smart grocery shopping

    Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

    But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

    Create a grocery budget

    Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

    Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

    I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

    Make a list… and never deviate

    Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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    You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

    These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

    Eat before going grocery shopping

    It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

    If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

    After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

    Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

    However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

    This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

    5. Cancel your gym membership

    Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

    The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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    Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

    I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

    Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

    Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

    For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

    Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

    There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

    It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

    I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

    Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

    The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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