Warren Buffett is one of the most famous investors in the world. Analysts study and pick apart his interviews, and pundits analyze and examine his portfolio. The annual report he publishes through his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, is highly anticipated in the financial world.
People listen to Warren Buffett for both his wisdom and his old-school values. He favors old-fashioned common sense over pomp and circumstance. He has given the world much food for thought over his decades in the public eye, and many of his more popular quotes still stand the test of time.
Take Advantage of Both Fear and Greed in the Stock Market
The "herd mentality" is a behavior finance term suggesting that it feels safer to follow the crowd, but that's not always the best way to make money. Buffett emphasized this point when he said, "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful."
The tech bubble of 2000 is a good example of the herd mentality in action. Valuations in stocks reached absurd levels as investors kept buying, not wanting to miss the boat. Many people got in just as the bubble burst, and within two years the NASDAQ lost 75% of its peak value. Buffett likes to buy when the economy takes a beating and sell when things get overhyped, a strategy which works well in the long run.
Plan Today for Goals and Events That Are Likely to Occur Far into the Future
Buffett often preaches the benefits of maintaining a long-term perspective, such as when he said, "Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." He stays focused on the big picture and doesn't get overly concerned about what happens in the present.
Buffett also likes to hold on to his investments forever. One of the things that can do the most damage to an investor's long-term success is paying too much attention to his investments. A 10% market correction, while quite normal and healthy, can send skittish investors running for the exits. This can lead to missing out on the subsequent rebound and leaving gains on the table. Buffett understands that investors need to focus on where they want to be in the future versus where they are today.
Focus on Investing in Quality First. Worry About Paying a Fair Price Second.
Buffett likes getting a good deal on an investment as much as anybody, but he also makes sure he's getting a good investment before looking at the price.
Buffett's philosophy on value investing is to favor companies that maintain strong dominant positions in the broad economic landscape to generate above-average investor returns. He looks to avoid companies with high leverage, or debt financing, in favor of those that generate their own capital for reinvestment and growth. He also likes to do research himself instead of relying on analyst teams.
In short, he prefers well-run companies with strong balance sheets and good management teams. He's willing to pay a higher price for them because he believes a return on investment generates over time.
Set Aside Money for Savings Before Doing Anything Else
Buffet suggests that people are rich based on what they save, not what they spend. He shuns the notion of borrowing money to buy a fancy car or house and instead favors fiscal responsibility and financial preparation. He believes that individuals should prepare a budget that covers basic household needs and to begin saving once those bills are paid. It's a very simple plan, but one to which many still fail to adhere.
Buffett has also advised that investors should "not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving." He famously lives in the same Omaha, Nebraska home that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Berkshire Hathaway's headquarters takes up just one floor of an office building, and his office doesn't even have a computer.