Warren Buffett is one of the most influential and successful investors in the world with a net worth of approximately 47 billion dollars.  This makes him the third richest person in the world.  He is also a well-known philanthropist who has given away tens of billions of dollars to charitable foundations.

Now aged 79, Buffett’s investment philosophies have stood the test of time and have been imitated by many others in their search for increased financial independence.

I’m not an expert on finances, but I think that there are some great life principles that we can learn from his great success story.

Stay focused on your plan.  The story of Warren Buffett certainly isn’t a get rich quick scheme.  His investment plan has consistently focused on long-term strategies that will out-perform the market over a 20 year period.  Having these guide-lines in place when he makes decisions has enabled him to execute his plan effectively and not be distracted by emotion or short-term trends.

This is a great principle for life as well.  When you have a plan for your life, make sure that you have a long-term outcome in mind so that you can be guided by that in your decision making.  For example, as a parent of young children, I don’t just want to be reacting to the stage that they’re in, but to consider how I would like them to be living at age 25. 

To quote Buffett himself, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree 20 years ago.”

Stay humble.  Despite his immense wealth, Buffett still resides in the same house in Omaha that he bought for $31,500 in 1958.  He doesn’t like the trappings of wealth and prefers not to flaunt it in public.

As we move through different stages of life, there can often be a temptation to feel overly impressed by our own abilities and start to forget our humble beginnings.  Don’t let wealth, education, prestige or fame change the values that you believe are important and that have helped shape your character.  Too many people have, like Icarus, flown too close to the sun and it’s all come crashing down.

Use your influence well.  Buffett has long been renowned for his generosity in giving to charity, but in recent times he and Bill Gates have been in contact with many other billionaires to convince them to give away half of their wealth to charity organisations.  He has already convinced a few to get on board and the impact of this has the potential to run into billions of dollars given to positively impact the lives of those living in poverty.

Hopefully, as life goes on and you find yourself with an increasing amount of influence, we will all be able to use that to make a difference in the world for others.  It may not be donating millions of dollars, but we can all use our time and abilities to volunteer, mentor or in other ways positively influence those less fortunate than us.  When we realise that the more we have to offer, the more we should be contributing to society, we can start impacting in a positive way.

Are there any other principles from Warren Buffett’s life that you would like to share?

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