Devin Consultants Financial Management in Singapore and Tokyo on Personal Finance According to Billionaires
About the Talk
February 13, 2004 12:00 PM
It may seem rather inappropriate to receive personal finance advice from wealthy people, considering they deal with tons of money whereas the ordinary person can hardly scratch a decent living. What use can you get from such advice as “Invest in gold rather than in silver” and others of that sort? Nevertheless, they can offer some sound advice for any kind of financial situation. After all, they have an uncommonly wide exposure to many money matters. Get these free tips from some friendly billionaires:
Begin as soon as you can
For a few years, a Mexican businessman named Carlos Slim Helú held the distinction of being the world’s richest person, until Bill Gates reclaimed the title recently. Slim offers personal finance tips shared by most finance experts; and beginning early is one of them. This may not apply to people of more advanced age as they need to begin now to “redeem the time”, so to speak. For the earlier you start getting serious about handling, saving and investing your money, the greater your chances of avoiding making mistakes that will impact on your future financial security. Slim, for instance, bought shares in a Mexican bank when he was only 12 and worked for his earning father’s business for 200 pesos weekly before he turned 20.
Discover Your Passion
It costs nothing to start believing in your own abilities and potentials. Oprah Winfrey, another billionaire we all know, said that we are what we believe and that what we are now is a product of everything we have believed. You can change any situation you are in now; and the first step is to believe in yourself.
Once a person believes in his or her own self-worth, discovering one’s passion – whether it is music, sports or photography – will only require a healthy dose of diligence and perseverance to achieve success.
Christopher Paul Gardner, although a "mere" millionaire, was a homeless single-father once. Asked what his secret was, Gardner said, "Find something you are so passionate about, you can hardly go to sleep to do it again." If your passion is to make space-saving furniture, educate yourself on that subject through online articles or books now and become as good in it as you can be.
No Need to Become Sophisticated
Do you know how Warren Buffett made his billions? He accumulated his investment fortune by focusing on the fundamentals, that is, by choosing firms with strong yearly cash flows and those firms not in the danger of losing technical relevance in the fast-changing world of technology. He also spent his early years in investing on insurance firms. For many, it is not a fancy way to earn; but it worked out well for him. No matter how small or big your money is, the right way to invest is by sticking with the fundamentals.
Live a Simple Life
Just like the previous tip, Warren Buffet lived this motto – he still lives in a house he bought in 1957 for $31,500. Likewise, Carlos Slim also lives in the same house for over 40 years. Many people, however, continually seek things that bring on financial disaster instead of those things that bring on financial security.
Walking and Riding on Public Transport is Cool
Three billionaires we do not often hear of -- John Caudwell, David Cheriton, and Chuck Feeney -- either walk, ride bikes or take public transport to move about. Nothing beats these three means as far as saving money is concerned, aside from taking care of one’s health and the environment. There is no shame in riding public transport – only trolls think negatively of good things.
A Car is only a Tool, not a Luxury Item
Walmart owner Jim Walton uses a 15-year-old pickup truck while Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea uses a 10-year-old Volvo. Cars do not establish any real social or financial status. If you are into restoring or buying fancy or classic car models, go ahead as long as you have the money to spare or to invest. In general, however, even wealthy people only need to get from Point A to Point B safely and comfortably. A car is nothing more than a tool as useful for doing a task as a computer or a hammer. Diamond-studded Benzes or gold-plated Porsches are toys only Saudi princes can afford.
Some of us ordinary mortals get wide-eyed listening to billionaires dispense financial advice; others cannot take it at all, especially if they are going through financial straits. Yet many rich people began with as much money as the man behind the theater ticketing booth, or even less. These tips can serve you well in any financial situation, as long as you have the desire to improve your lot. Buy at the lowest possible price, earn as much as you can in any decent way and do not splurge your money on needless things. Pursue your passion and nurture it, no matter how much you earn from your job. The important thing is that you find fulfillment daily in the things you do.
Money itself is merely a tool for achieving genuine success and happiness. Being a billionaire does not guarantee happiness – or even success -- in life. Some billionaires, in fact, can learn a thing or two about true happiness from poor people.