When it comes to money, we tend to think that you have to be a genius in order to accrue massive amounts of wealth.
But in a new interview with Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief, Andy Serwer, legendary investor and billionaire Warren Buffett said you don’t have to be particularly smart to get rich. You just have to start saving early.
When asked if Millennials, who are saddled with high rents and student debt, should start investing early, Buffet replied:
“I think it’s a very good habit to develop early. I think the habits you develop are terribly important. They may be more important than IQ or something. I got a nickel a week allowance when I started. I didn’t save anything out of that nickel, but I did do a lot of jobs. I started saving very early. I started saving those cokes that I bought six for a quarter…I did all kinds of things to save money, that’s how I got my $114 together by the time I was 11. I enjoyed saving. I enjoyed investing. I wanted to have something to invest in. I kept reading about these guys in the public library and I wanted to be in the game myself.”
Buffet added that cultivating good habits—like saying “please” and “thank you,” or saving at least 10 percent of each paycheck—is the key to financial success.
For what it’s worth, Buffett does practice what he preaches. The 87-year-old still lives in the same relatively modest five-bed, two-and-a-half-bath home that he bought for only $31,500 in 1958 (about $250,000 in today’s dollars). So even with a net worth of $82.9 billion, the man is still living (reasonably) frugally.
Critics of Buffett might argue that he grew up in a very different time period, and Millennials often say that that the financial advice that they get from their parents doesn’t apply to the economic reality they live in today. Others counter that the fact that 66 percent of Millennials have absolutely nothing saved for retirement is because they spend their money on frivolous pleasures like avocado toast, instead of thinking about the future. Based on his response, it would seem like Buffett is in the latter camp of thought.
“It’s not tougher to save now than it was fifty years ago or seventy-five years ago,” he said. “It is not tougher to succeed now than it was twenty or thirty or fifty years ago.”
Buffett, who is often called “Wizard” or “Sage” for his predictive abilities, gave a hopeful reading of the country’s future.
“The America you’ll see twenty years from now or fifty years from now is going to be far more prosperous and talent will always be rewarded, hard work will be rewarded. We’ve got a wonderful future.”
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