Warren Buffett has frequently talked about how important it is to choose your heroes wisely. If you want to be successful, you should look to successful people and emulate them.
Well, the person I’ve chosen to emulate is Buffett. He’s my biggest hero in life.
Sure, I don’t emulate him in every way possible. I don’t find the idea of living in Omaha particularly appealing, for instance.
But I aim to go about my life in a way that is generally much like the way he’s gone about his life.
We’re both Midwesterners. He and I both appreciate frugality, value investing, dividends, running our own businesses, having the freedom to do what we want, modesty, rationality, and broader sensibility. Buffett does all of this on a much grander scale, but I’m more than happy to operate on my own wavelength.
I’ve read The Snowball twice. I attended the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting – the 50th anniversary for Buffett controlling the company. I’ve read most of Buffett’s annual letters. And I’ve written dozens of articles on Buffett (like this one) over the years.
Learning about Buffett and becoming a disciple of his has totally changed my life.
I was able to quit my job in my early 30s, become financially independent at 33, and start controlling my destiny at a very young age. I’ve developed a certain acumen along the way, which helped me build a relatively significant amount of wealth.
These financial resources act as a foundation for my freedom. I now get to do whatever I want every single day. As Buffett would put it, I “tap dance to work”.
Studying this man over the years, I’ve come across so much profound information. I could practically write a book on Buffett’s quotes and how they’ve changed my life.
But I wanted to take the time today to share five quotes from the man himself that have been particularly insightful and inspirational to me, especially as an investor. These quotes have had a major impact on the way I think and go about investing and life.
My Five Favorite Quotes By Warren Buffett
I always knew I was going to be rich.
I love this quote.
Manifest your future. Know what you’ll do, then do it. Don’t let fear or doubt creep into your life.
This reminds me of a mental exercise I performed back in 2014. I imagined a future version of myself who was already financially independent. I didn’t think I was financially independent. No. I knew I was. And then I became who I already saw myself becoming.
This kind of unwavering confidence can work in almost any aspect of life. Wealth, health, relationships, etc. It really doesn’t matter what it is. If you give it wishy-washy effort, you’ll get wishy-washy results. Give it your all because you’re destined to achieve your goals.
Don’t think you’ll make your dreams come true and become the person you want to be.
Know you will.
I don’t know when to buy stocks, but I know whether to buy stocks.
I couldn’t agree more.
Warren Buffett doesn’t have any kind of crystal ball. He can’t time the market any better than you can, nor does he recommend trying to do that.
Instead, he analyzes each company at the individual level and sees stocks for what they really are – slivers of real businesses.
If you invest in great businesses at attractive valuations, you almost can’t avoid doing incredibly well over the long run. Conversely, investing in poor businesses will likely lead to poor results.
It doesn’t matter so much when you do either of these things. It’s whether or not you do them.
Don’t worry too much about the when. Worry about the whether.
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
You have to plan ahead.
Start saving and investing as soon as possible. Invest early and often. Plant that tree of prosperity while you’re young, which will grow and provide the shade to keep you cool when you’re older. The faster you start doing this, the bigger the tree and the more shade you’ll have later. That’s the power of compounding.
I started saving and investing my late 20s. Yeah, I got a late start. But I dug and planted as aggressively as possible once I realized my error.
Now I enjoy my life in the shade. In fact, I see my portfolio as a small forest, with each position being a beautiful tree that provides shade and bountiful dividend fruit.
This, too, goes for everything in life. If you want a particular type of life in the future, you need to start planning for it and executing toward it right now. It won’t happen by magic. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Get your tree planted today.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
Being able to separate price from value is something that is so difficult for people. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s almost a natural instinct to backwardly assign value to something based on price, instead of assigning a price to something based on an estimate of value.
This goes for stocks, sure. But it also goes for everything else in life.
I remember a guy here in Chiang Mai, upon seeing my apartment, advised me that I was paying too much. He said an apartment right down the road was going for less money. Curious, I took a look. Well, this apartment he showed me was a total dump. I then remarked that it was priced lower because it was worth less. In fact, the reduction in price wasn’t enough to offset the reduction in value, in my estimation. My apartment was arguably a much better value, even though it was priced higher. The guy couldn’t wrap his brain around that. He only saw price.
No matter what you’re buying with your money – stocks, socks, or anything in between – make sure you’re paying a price that is below what you think that thing is worth.
Once you start to scrutinize your purchases and seek out value, you’ll notice that this behavior cascades across the rest of your life. It then becomes a natural instinct to seek a good deal and maximize your capital.
Having a better understanding of the concept of value will pay dividends, literally and figuratively, for the rest of your life.
Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?
In response to the idea of getting a job solely because of how it would look on a resume, Buffett is noting how important it is to do what you want while you’re young. He’s saying you shouldn’t wait until you’re old to finally enjoy yourself.
While he used sex as his example, you could use any number of activities to make the point. If you’re busy working your life away at some job you don’t like, saving up everything for old age, I think you’re making a grave mistake.
Life is finite. Furthermore, it’s very short. Every second lost is lost forever. And you’ll never be younger than you are right now.
I’ve already seen what I’ll look like when I’m old. It’s not a good look. I don’t want to save up anything – sex, travel, adventure, sleep, living life on my terms – for when I’m an old, achy man. When I’m 70, I’d rather look back on a well-lived life than finally start to live one.
Don’t save up what it is you love doing for when you’re old.
If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend reading The Snowball.
It’s a long read. But it’s not a difficult one. This biography of Warren Buffett gives you so much insight into how he thinks, what he’s done, and what life looks like to someone who operates like this. It’s invaluable.
While Buffett’s level of wealth and success is hard to relate to, one doesn’t need to be a billionaire in order to become wealthy and free. You can scale that way down and still live an amazing life. I actually think you could achieve financial freedom with as little as $200,000 – assuming you’re willing to move.
Regardless of the level of wealth and success that you chase after, these five quotes in particular are timeless and relevant to all of us. They’re especially meaningful to our investment activities, but I think they translate well to all aspects of life.
I hope you find them as impactful as I have. And I hope you use them to achieve the wealth, health, and happiness you desire!
What do you think? Have you tried to emulate Buffett in any way? Did you enjoy these five quotes? What’s your favorite Buffett quote?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons.
P.S. If you’re ready to achieve financial independence and live life on your terms, take a look at some fantastic resources I personally used on my way to becoming financially free at 33!