Becoming a successful financial investor is not everyone's cup of tea. It requires a great amount of patience, wisdom, and foresightedness. To have all these qualities in one person is, well, a rarity, and only a few people like Warren Buffett or George Soros, have been able to store such a diverse set of information and ideas. They went on to become some of the greatest investors and made a fortune for themselves. So, how did they do it? What steps did they follow or how did they decide when to invest or more importantly where to invest?
Let's see what advice they had for others.
1. Warren Buffett
During the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in May, the investing legend warned new investors against investing in individual stocks as, he said, he does not believe “the average person can pick stocks”. Instead, he asked them to invest in low-cost index funds. He also warned people against treating the stock market as a casino, saying it's not illegal “but I don't think you would build a society around people doing it.”
2. Michael Bloomberg
During an address to students at Harvard Business School, the billionaire entrepreneur and former NYC mayor said, "What's important for your career is not your starting salary. It's your development and happiness. The cash will come later on." What he told the students was that money is necessary in life but it's more important to invest in yourself for long-term success. Be patient. It's important to build skills and train to be versatile to be valuable to others.
3. Ray Dalio
The billionaire author and founder of Bridgewater Associates almost always has advocated for creating a safety net. Dalio has said people should ask themselves how many months/years can they live without any income or for how long do they need to stretch their safety net and “make sure you have more than that”. He has also asked investors to diversify in order to invest well.
4. George Soros
The Hungarian-born American billionaire investor says markets are unpredictable, so one must seize opportunities every time they arrive. “The idea that you can actually predict what's going to happen contradicts my way of looking at the market,” he has said. So, he says, prepare for all scenarios and capitalise when you can.
5. Abigail Johnson
The billionaire CEO of Fidelity Investments says she passes on the same advice that she got as a child: “Be cautious with leverage”. She has warned against buying assets with borrowed money, saying it's dangerous and can be financially toxic when people use too much credit card or home-equity debt to pay for current expenditures.