In a new exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-ABRK-B) CEO and investing legend Warren Buffett offered his definition for true success.
Well, Ive said many times that, if you get to be 65 or 70 and later, and the people that you want to have love you actually do love you, youre a success, Buffett, 88, told Yahoo Finances editor-in-chief, Andy Serwer, during a wide-ranging interview.
The billionaire CEO also suggested that he doesnt believe money makes a person successful. Ive seen some very, very wealthy people that they give testimonial interviews to, and name schools after, and everything, and theyre miserable. Nobody loves them, he said.
In his interview with Yahoo Finance, Buffett covered a range of topics fromwhat he wants in a presidentto Tesla andSpaceX CEO Elon Musktonegative interest rates.Immediately after he offered a general definition for true success, Buffett provided three pieces of advice for people looking to succeed in business and life.
The first piece of advice: Invest in yourself, and in particular, try to improve your communication skills. If you cant communicate to somebody, its like winking at a girl in the dark, Buffett noted.
Buffetts second piece of advice? Take care of your mind and body. You get exactly one mind and one body in this world. And you cant start taking care of it when youre 50, he said. Of course, the 88-year-old junk food and Coca-Cola fanatic acknowledged he might get criticized for not living that advice.
Lastly, he advised people to associate themselves with others who are better than you are. He added, Basically, youll go in the direction of the people that you associate with. And you want to have the right heroes.
For his part, Buffett has called the now-deceased investor, Jack Bogle, who founded the first index fund, as one of his heroes.
Billionaires live in mansions, right? Not Buffett.
He lives in the same residence in Omaha, Neb., that he bought in 1958 for $31,500, the equivalent of roughly $270,000 in 2017 dollars. Buffett has no intention of putting his own home up for sale. I wouldnt trade it for anything, he told CNBC earlier this year.
In todays money, Buffett would have paid about $41 per square foot for the 6,570-square-foot home. But these days, youll pay about $143 per square foot for a home in Omaha of that size and era, based on the listing of a home in the neighborhood of the multi-billionaire.
If you want to live like Buffett, consider buying less home than you can afford. Instead of paying pricey mortgage payments, youll be able to put more of your money toward savings, retirement or vacations.
And if you must take out a loan, perhapsget a 30-year mortgage its the best instrument in the world, Buffett told CNBC. In fact, Buffett took out a 30-year mortgage in 1971 when he bought a vacation home in Laguna Beach, Calif.
If youre wrong and rates go to 2 percent, which I dont think they will, you pay it off, he said. Its a one-way renegotiation. It is an incredibly attractive instrument for the homeowner and youve got a one-way bet.
You might assume billionairesbrunch at the most extravagant restaurants, ordering eggs Benedict and bottomless mimosas. Or, they hire a personal chef who can whip up whatever and whenever they want right?
Wrong. Adopting Buffetts lifestyle doesnt include paying high prices for daily gourmet French toast prepared in the comforts of your own home.
When it comes to food, the billionaire investor has been known tosave money by taking the fast-food route. In fact, he might kick off his day with a trip to McDonalds during his five-minute drive to work, reports CNBC.
If hes feeling rich, hell splurge by spending $3.17 on a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit sandwich. If the markets down, he might spend $2.95 on a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich instead. On a really bad day, he buys two sausage patties for $2.61, puts them together and washes it down with a Coke he pours himself.
Buffett also is known to opt for cheap food when hes on the road but forget the cholesterol-soaked bacon and eggs at a local restaurant. Buffetts travel breakfast might consist of a pack of Oreos, his friend Bill Gates yes, his good buddy is the Microsoft founder wrote on his blog.
One thing that was surprising to learn about Warren is that he has basically stuck to eating what he liked when he was 6 years old, Gates wrote. He did move past baby food, of course, but he mostly eats hamburgers, ice cream and Coke.
Buffett explained his diet in a 2015 interview with Fortune: I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a 6-year-old. Its the safest course I can take.
Although someCEOs drive around in million-dollar cars, youll likely find Buffett driving something much more modest.
In a BBC documentary, his daughter, Susie Buffett, said he bought cars that he could get at reduced prices like those that had been damaged by hail. The cars were fixed and didnt look hail-damaged and became a regular part of the Buffett lifestyle.
Youve got to understand, he keeps cars until I tell him, This is getting embarrassing time for a new car, said his daughter in the documentary.
Buffett also told Forbes in 2014 about his car-buying habits or lack thereof. The truth is, I only drive about 3,500 miles a year so I will buy a new car very infrequently, he said.
Remember this the next time youre in the market for a car: Cars tend to depreciate quickly, so it can be better for your finances if you try to keep your well-working car for as long as possible or at least opt to buy a used car instead of new.
A commitment to live like Warren Buffett doesnt mean all work and no play. After all,even billionaires have hobbies. But compared to other famous CEOs, investors and entrepreneurs, Buffetts hobbies are much more affordable. For example, he enjoys playing bridge.
If I play bridge and a naked woman walks by, I dont even see her, laughed Buffett during a CBS News Sunday Morning interview. Yep, Buffett is a self-proclaimed bridge addict, and you might even catch him playing the game about 12 hours a week.
I one time said that I wouldnt mind going to jail if I had the right three cellmates so we can play bridge all the time, he also said in the interview.
When Buffetts not busy being a business mogul, you might find him strumming his ukulele and singing as well. Hes played for investors and at charity events. A video of him playing the instrument with Gates even went viral after it was posted on Gates blog in 2016.
What do you give a friend whos also a billionaire? Buffetts long-standing friendship with Gates is legendary. The Microsoft magnate explained on his blog whats kept their friendship strong over the years:
Ive learned many things from Warren over the last 25 years, but maybe the most important thing is what friendship is all about, he said. Its about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren. He goes out of the way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life.
And those special touches dont have to be expensive. For example, Buffett drives personally to the airport to pick up Gates whenever hes in town, calls frequently and sends news clippings by mail that he thinks Gates and his wife will enjoy.
Those special touches that mean a lot to friends just might be the best takeaway for those seeking to live the Warren Buffett lifestyle.
Buffett likely wont be shelling out $999 for the iPhone X. The billionaire revealed in a 2013 interview with CNN that he still used a Nokia flip phone.
This is the one Alexander Graham Bell gave me, he joked about his phone. I dont throw anything away until Ive had it 20 or 25 years.
While its tempting to always splurge on the latest technology, take a page from Buffetts book and only upgrade your phone when you really need to. If you insist on buying the latest iPhone to hit the market, look forother ways to save on your phone expenses, such as using a no-contract phone plan or buying a family plan to share data.
Buffett revealed in the CNN interview that hes used the same black wallet for 20 years. He also shuns high-end designer suits. Instead, he exclusively wears suits created by a Chinese sewing entrepreneur named Madam Li, whom he met in 2007.
They fit perfectly, he said of the suits in a 2017 CNBC interview. We get compliments on them. Its been a long time since I got compliments on how I looked but, since I am wearing Madame Lis suits, I get compliments all the time.
The takeaway: Opt for quality goods that will last you a long time, rather than buying something just because it has a brand name attached to it.
Buffett proves that even billionaires still appreciate an opportunity to save money. In Bill and Melinda Gates 2017 annual letter, Bill recalled a trip he took with the investor, during which Buffett paid for their fast-food lunch using coupons. He even provided photographic proof of this.
Remember the laugh we had when we traveled together to Hong Kong and decided to get lunch at McDonalds? You offered to pay, dug into your pocket, and pulled outcoupons! Bill wrote. Melinda just found this photo of me and the big spender. It reminded us how much you value a good deal.
Save on your next purchase even if its something as inexpensive as a McDonalds meal by using applicable discounts, which you can easilyfind on online coupon sites.
Buffett has remained in the same office building since he joined Berkshire Hathaway in the 1960s.
Its a different sort of place, Buffett said of the companys Omaha headquarters in the 2017 HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett, CNBC reports. We have 25 people in the office and if you go back, its the exact same 25. The exact same ones. We dont have any committees at Berkshire. We dont have a public relations department. We dont have investor relations. We dont have a general counsel. We just dont go for anything that people do just as a matter of form.
Even if youre not a business owner, you can still benefit from Buffetts way of thinking. It boils down to the old saying: If it aint broke, dont fix it.
In Roger Lowensteins biography of the businessman, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, the author says that after Buffetts first child was born, he converted a dresser drawer into a space for the baby to sleep instead of spending money on a bassinet, reports Forbes. When it came to the familys second child, he borrowed a crib rather than buy one.
Perhaps making your baby sleep in a drawer seems a little extreme, but its just an example of thinking outside the box. Use resources that are already available to you toprevent unnecessary spending.
Buffett explained his choice to live frugally during a 2009 Q&A session he conducted with a group of business school students.
You cant buy health and you cant buy love, said Buffett, according to the Underground Value blog. Im a member of every golf club that I want to be a member of […] Id rather play golf here with people I like than at the fanciest golf course in the world. […] Im not interested in cars, and my goal is not to make people envious.
And in a 2017 interview with People, Susie Buffett said of her father: …its really true that he does not care about having a bunch of money. Instead, she said, he emphasizes family.
I dont think people realize, hes got a bunch of great-grandchildren and he could tell you everything about what theyre all doing. He knows every one of those kids and he knows about their lives, she said.
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In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment management industry,Buffett wrote in a letter to shareholders for the year 2016. Today, however, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me.
Tune intoYahoo Financeon Saturday, May 4, for its exclusive live stream of Berkshire Hathaways annual shareholder meeting.
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