Warren Buffett quotes capture the essence of his approach to investing and life. That’s why we love them.
To say, “When he talks, people listen” is an understatement. Buffett’s famous quotes on life, investing, success, leadership, emotion, and money are recognized across the world.
Why do people love his quotes so much?
Because he’s built his wealth long-term to over $89 billion (2018), making him one of the richest men in America. Warren lives by a certain set of values that he uses to invest and make other life decisions. His approach to stocks can be identified throughout his famous investing quotes, so we gathered our favorite ones in this post.
Take a look at 29 intelligent and inspiring quotes on investing and success from Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Warren Buffett’s Investment Quotes (Slideshow)
1) Buffett’s Only Two Rules For Investing…
“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No.1”
It is possible for the stock market to price things wrong! You can find wonderful businesses on sale often. Buffett has this to say about the stock market. “Remember that the stock market is a manic depressive.” For any consumer of daily financial news, this will ring true. Equity markets swing wildly from day to day on the smallest of news, rally, and crash on sentiment, and celebrate or vilify the most inane data points. It’s important not to get caught up in the madness but stick to your homework. Always stay rational.
2) The Market Can Price Things Wrong
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
In other words, don’t focus on short-term swings in price, focus on the underlying value of your investment. “Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.” From a man who has made a fortune on companies like Apple, American Express, General Motors, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, and Wal-Mart, this is sage advice.
3) High Returns With Low Risk is the Key
“Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.”
Buffett says, “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.” The advice here is obvious but often forgotten, particularly after investors have had some success. The temptation to believe that success in one area you know well allows you to easily analyze another is much greater once you’ve had some good returns, but should be resisted with vigor. Buffett himself has kept out of the technology sector for the most part, given his lack of knowledge of the sector.
4) Get Around the Right People
“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.
5) It’s Easier to Look Back Than to Look Into the Future
“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
6) Buy Wonderful Companies
“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.”
This quote is very interesting, as frequently, “value investors” will pass on anything that they cannot get for a deeply discounted price. Berkshire Hathaway has taken a different approach and instead focused on investing in the right companies. This was one of Buffett’s early lessons as a value investor, famously told as his turn away from “cigar-butt investing.”
7) Your Public Image and Reputation
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
8) It’s OK to Dream Big
“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”
9) Invest for the Long Term
“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”
Here is a video about Warren Buffett’s investing strategy of long-term investing:
10) Buy It Thinking You Will Hold It Forever
“Our favorite holding period is forever.”
11) People Make Investing Seem More Difficult Than it Should
“The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.”
12) Doing Nothing is Often the Right Thing to Do
“You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.
13) On Finding Honesty in Others
“Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.”
Buffett once said that “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.” In other words, be careful who you trust. Most of the financial “advice” offered by equity analysts, by any range of advisers, and in the media should be taken with a grain of salt. Buffett and his partner have long worked with the same people with whom they have long histories of trust and experience. Any good investor should do the same.
14) Appreciate Where You Came From
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
15) Give Back to Society
“If you’re in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%.”
16) Don’t Make Investing Difficult
“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
Buffett has made the point that you don’t have to be a genius to be a good investor, but there is a lot of hard work and due diligence involved. There are some basic investing rules that you need to learn, and if you follow those rules, you’ll be successful.
17) Make Your Own Forecasts
“Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.”
18) It’s Usually Best to Just Say “No”
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
19) Do What You Love
“In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.”
20) Actions Vs. Results
“You know… you keep doing the same things and you keep getting the same result over and over again.”
21) Invest Only in Companies You Know and Trust
“An investor should act as though he had a lifetime decision card with just twenty punches on it.”
22) Manage Your Time Better
“You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”
23) Great Investors Don’t Diversify
“Diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.”
24) Seize Great Opportunities and Load Up the Truck
“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”
25) History Doesn’t Dictate the Future
“If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.”
26) Choose Your Heroes Wisely
“Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you who you’ll turn out to be.”
27) Make Long-Term Investments Over Short Term Ones
“If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”
Investing is not trading and has a vastly different goal, as trading, when done well, is about taking measured risks for discrete periods of time at sufficient volume as to generate profits, and typically involves wild swings in profitability. Investing is about minimizing risk to generate wealth over the long term, not generating short-term profits. Another great Buffett quote in this vein: “The stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient.”
28) Don’t Be Greedy
“…not doing what we love in the name of greed is very poor management of our lives.”
29) Spend Time on Personal Development
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
Did I miss any of your favorite Warren Buffett quotes? Leave a comment in the comments section.
Remember this, Warren Buffett started with $100 and turned it into $30 billion. That means that it isn’t about the money you have, it’s about the knowledge you have. It means there are no real barriers to you getting rich if you’re willing to work hard and learn.
Were you searching for information on Warren Buffett because you want to learn how to invest like him? You can start down your path to financial freedom by downloading this free book of quotes and tips!
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Featured Photo Credit: Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.
Note: This blog has been updated in 2018 to include new Warren Buffett quotes, current information, and statistics.