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Important Investing Lessons From The Oracle of Omaha

“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”
- Warren Buffett

Isn’t it funny that people who are rich take money and investing advice from those who are relatively poor? It’s said that when the person with money meets the person with experience – it’s the person with money who gets the experience and the person with experience who gets the money. That’s Wall Street in a nutshell. If you’re a successful businessman or businesswoman, doctor, lawyer, or teacher and make a lot of money, then maybe you should be a little suspect of those who want to get their hands on it no matter how smart they are. When you meet with a financial adviser, remember that you won’t be the only one in the room planning his or her retirement. Remember to check advisors’ and other financial professionals’ histories, so you’re not just giving them your money and decreasing your wealth, while increasing theirs!

There has been much talk about bubbles recently and that certain stocks like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and others are overvalued. When people see these stocks’ prices climb and climb, they think that they can easily get in on the action, and then sell their shares before they collapse under the weights of their exorbitant valuations. Warren Buffett likens this to the story of Cinderella where everyone wants to continue dancing until things turn bad, thinking that they can sell their shares before everyone else does and avoid the bubble bursting. Greed is one hell of a motivator, however, and everyone wants to keep dancing until the last second instead of the last minute, squeezing every last penny out of a stock before selling it. The only problem is that when everyone heads for the exits, virtually no one gets out and many people are left with little profit if any at all and are most likely left with big losses. Avoid getting caught up in the hype. Buying stocks because “they’re going to keep going up” is never a good idea.
Buffett also says that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be a good investor. One of the smartest people to ever walk the earth – Isaac Newton – got caught up in a stock bubble, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it happens to you. After losing a ton of money, Newton purportedly said, “I can calculate the movement of stars, but not the madness of men.” Newton’s remark is telling because successful investing is characterized more by psychology than mathematics…

Even Issac Newton fell victim to a stock bubble!

If you’re the type of person that can go against the grain; be called stupid and not have it affect you; and avoid doing something even when everyone else is doing it – then you have the foundation of becoming a superb investor. No math involved. Buffett shows this when he buys stocks when everyone else is selling them and exclaims that in the long-term the U.S. economy will be just fine. Thus, the next time the stock markets tumble and people on T.V. are saying the world is coming to an end – think more about the long-term. The world has been through two world wars, a depression, numerous stock market crashes, a couple financial crises, and that’s just in the last 100 years! Yet, we’re still here today, and the markets are higher, economies are bigger, and new technologies continue to reshape the world.

- Andrew Sebastian

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