Who doesn’t want the best life hacks from an old, happy multi-billionaire?
Every year, thousands of people go to Omaha to attend the Woodstock of Capitalism.
That’s the nickname for the general meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s company.
Usually, general meetings are quite boring affairs, but not in Omaha.
Around 40,000 people attended in 2023 (according to CNBC) to hear Warren Buffett speak.
“This is a party,” he said last year.
Some gather to hear him talk about stocks and investments.
Others gather to ask him questions about living a good and long life, choosing a career, or even choosing a wife.
The Woodstock of Capitalism Is a True Source of Wisdom
I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate these general words of wisdom from Buffett and his longtime friend and partner Charlie Munger.
Last year, they said the second part of your life could be a lot better than the first – if you learn from your mistakes.
I took that to heart and decided to catapult myself into the second half of my life. When I returned from Omaha, I opened my first fund and started dating again. Taking action changed my life quite radically.
Buffett and Munger’s words of encouragement gave me the energy and courage to try new things – thinking the best is yet to come.
In this blog post, I will give you the top life hacks that came out of the Berkshire Hathaway meeting for 2023. Ready? Here we go…
1. Write Your Ideal Obituary and Live It
You should write your own obituary (as you’d like it to be) and reverse engineer it.
What do you want to be remembered for? How do you want to be remembered by your loved ones? What should your life’s work be? Who do you want to be?
Then you need to figure out how to achieve it and decide to live that way.
2. Be Kind
It is important to be kind to everyone.
“I’ve never known anybody that was basically kind that died without friends. And I’ve known plenty of people with money that have died without friends,” Buffett said at the meeting.
Kindness also includes avoiding personal criticism. “Who do you like that criticizes you all the time?” he asked.
3. You Can Always Make Drama Tomorrow
“You can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow,” Warren Buffett said.
It’s one of the mottos he lives by.
As he explained:
“You can screw up your life forever by telling someone to go to hell or something else in 30 seconds, and you can’t erase it… [but] you haven’t lost the option.”
It requires impulse control, of course, but if you remind yourself that you can always do it the next day, it will probably help.
4. Spend Less Money Than You Earn – And Avoid Debt
You should spend less money than you earn (and, of course, invest the difference). If you do the opposite, it’s a downward slope to debt.
“You can spend a little bit more than you earn, and then you’ve got debt, and the chances are you’ll never get out of debt,” Buffett said.
His advice is to avoid all debt – except a mortgage. He particularly warns against credit card debt and consumer debt.
“Why get behind the game? And if you’re effectively paying 12% or 14% or whatever percent you’re paying on a credit card… if you can to that, come to Berkshire Hathaway,” he said and laughed.
5. Invest Wisely
You should invest shrewdly. Or as a minimum – don’t screw things up for yourself.
“You just want to make sure you don’t make any mistakes that take you out of the game. You should never have a night when you’re worried about investing,” Buffett said.
Maybe you’ve been kept up at night uneasy when the stock market crashes? How do you avoid that?
Quite simply, by properly understanding what you’re investing in. You can learn how to do that by reading my e-book here.
6. Learn Something Every Day
You should spend time learning something new every single day.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger spend 80% of their time reading. Munger is said to read about 500 pages a day and Warren Buffett up to 1,000 pages. If you think about it, that’s quite impressive. It’s around 500-1,000 books a year.
Warren Buffett reads books, newspapers, and newsletters from other investors.
How do they read so much?
I’m quite sure it’s a mixture of spending a lot of time reading, but also employing a special mindset where you read fast. I believe they are also skimming some parts.
Charlie Munger is supposed to move books from the unread pile to the read pile very fast.
Of course, there are other ways to learn. Courses, podcasts, blog posts, audiobooks.
Warren Buffett himself has a diploma from a public speaking course hanging in his office.
How do you prefer to learn?
7. Avoid Toxic People, Toxic Relationships, and Toxic Activities
Avoiding all things “toxic” is something Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger spent some time on this year.
“You need to know how people can manipulate other people, and you need to resist the temptation to do it yourself,” Buffett said.
Charlie Munger interjected and added:
“Yes, the toxic people who are trying to fool you or lie to you or aren’t reliable in meeting their commitments… A great lesson of life is to get them the hell out of your life. And do it fast.”
Their advice is to get out of any toxic relationship – be it friendship, marriage or work related – even at a financial cost.
There was a follow-up question about what to do if the toxic relationship is within the family or someone you can’t get away from.
“Minimize it,” Buffett said and laughed and added that you should only interact with people who behave well.
Why I Keep Tuning In to Woodstock of Capitalism
What was the most important thing they said? Every year, some of these wise words are repeated again and again (the obituary part is a frequent recurring theme)…
Why do we keep listening?
Well, it’s like going to church. I’m not a religious person myself, but I imagine people go to church again and again to be reminded of the right path and strengthen their faith.
That’s exactly why I keep listening to Buffett and Munger.
For me, it’s nice to be reminded of how to be a good value investor and a good “mensch.”
The new thing this year was their thoughts on avoiding “toxic” relationships. I will continue to think about it and work on defining the so-called “toxic” warning signs.
What do you think was the most important thing they said this year?
You can join the discussion in the Facebook group, Managing Money Freedom here.