Warren Buffett’s Advice to Young People: Be a Good Person

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Wednesday is officially here, and that means we could all use a little mid-week pick-me-up. So who do we turn to for some inspiration? As investors, that answer is almost always the wise and successful Warren Buffett, a man whose success on Wall Street is matched only by his positive outlook on life.

Buffett—who, alongside Charlie Munger, has led Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B for decades—is notorious for his investment philosophies and minimalist lifestyle. Indeed, the country’s second-richest man is also perhaps its most infamously frugal.

Regardless of how he chooses to spend his mountains of cash, Buffett is looked up to in the business and financial world as a model for consistency and long-term success. And at 86 years of age, one can imagine that Buffett has plenty of lived experiences to share with the younger generations.

In fact, Peter Kunhardt, the director of HBO’s Becoming Warren Buffett documentary, recently told CNBC that young people are “Warren’s favorite audience to talk with.”

Becoming Warren Buffett is centered on Buffett holding a real, in-person chat in front of a class of high-school students. “He always said he’d like to be a teacher if he wasn’t an investor,” Kunhardt added.

But what exactly does Buffett say to young people when he gets the chance? Kunhardt said that he expected to hear specific business and money advice, but instead, Buffett delivered a rousing speech about how to be a good person.

“His entire class, which lasted for a couple of hours, was about how to become a good, decent person, and how by becoming a good and decent person, you will become a successful person in business as well,” said Kunhardt.

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While it’s nice to hear these second-hand accounts, sometimes we actually want our advice directly from the horse’s mouth. Luckily, we get a chance to hear Buffett speak to a massive audience at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting.

At this year’s event, Buffett and Munger spoke in front of the meeting’s nearly 40,000 attendees for hours. The longtime business partners entertained a plethora of questions, but according to CNBC, the pair had plenty of things to say to young people.

Munger, the elder of the two, joked around a bit, saying “I’ve got some advice for the young: If you’ve got anything you really want to do, don’t wait until you’re 93.”

Buffett offered some more serious advice about job searching and finding a satisfying career that you love.

Sure, it’s probably pretty easy for the guy who is worth billions to recommend that young people find something that they love to do, but Buffett’s advice is an important reminder that the younger generation has plenty of time and freedom to discover what truly makes them happy.

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