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7 Quotes from Warren Buffett on How Retirees Should “Invest” in What Matters the Most Thumbnail

7 Quotes from Warren Buffett on How Retirees Should “Invest” in What Matters the Most

Earlier this month, millions of investors and financial professionals around the world turned their attention to Nebraska, where Warren Buffett spoke at Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder's meeting. Buffett's tone was a little more somber than usual, as this was the first shareholder's meeting since Charlie Munger's passing at age 99. But, as is usually the case, the news from Berkshire Hathaway was positive: strong earnings for shareholders and $189 billion in cash for the Oracle of Omaha to manage.

Succession planning was also an important topic in the 93-year-old Buffett's comments. Over the years, as he's accumulated not just wealth but experience, Buffett has delivered many pithy observations that reflect how his wisdom reaches far beyond the markets. I would encourage seniors to reflect on how these seven quotes apply to not just your financial planning, but how you're planning to live in retirement.

1. "You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong." - Warren Buffett

Even if you're generally happy and successful, regret is a natural part of life. There's always a purchase you'll wish you hadn't made, a career move that didn't quite work out, or an unkind word you can't take back. But it's a lot easier to overcome those regrets if you make sound decisions that set you up for success in the future while you still can. For example, working with your financial advisor on a comprehensive legacy plan -- including healthcare directives and your last will and testament -- could have a much bigger impact on your security later in retirement than any money missteps you made after college. 

2. "Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken." – Warren Buffett

At Keen Wealth, we encourage seniors to retire TO something, not just FROM work. If you don't have that vision of an active, engaging new chapter of your life, you might roll out of bed the first Monday after retirement, shuffle around the house a bit, plop down on the couch, and repeat. On the other hand, if you plan ahead and pack that first month of retirement with volunteer work, tee times, dinners with your spouse, and trips to see your grandkids, you'll establish a foundation of strong social habits that will keep you off the couch and engaged with the people and activities you love.

3. "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." – Warren Buffett

Hopefully, by the time you've reached retirement, you've cultivated a social circle that lifts you up more than it drags you down. Spend too many lunches with that friend or family member who's always doomscrolling on social media and that gloom might start to rub off on you. Instead, tag along on adventures with some of the more enthusiastic folks in your life. Or, look to folks who are making an impact in their communities for inspiration on how you can give back.

4. "Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." – Warren Buffett

Very few people get to a successful retirement all by themselves. In your life and career, you were probably supported by friends, family, coworkers, mentors, and your community in ways both big and small. Embrace that feeling of gratitude as you think about ways to plant your own tree. Volunteer at your local grade school. Become a mentor for young professionals in your field. Establish a family charitable organization that will put your values in action for generations.

5. "When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results." – Warren Buffett

Cable news and social media are rife with slick salespeople and outright frauds who are trying to play on your retirement anxieties and sell you stuff you don't need: investment products with limited upside, "safe" investments that supposedly hedge against inflation, and inadequate health insurance. Before you dial that 800 number, reply to a shady email, or apply for a new line of credit, reach out to the professionals in your life: your financial advisor, your attorney, your health insurance broker. Rarely in life or finance do you really need to "Act now!" without weighing the pros and cons and unpacking all of the details with a pro you trust.

6. "I don't look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over." – Warren Buffett

A major key to Warren Buffett's success is simplicity. He famously invests in "wonderful companies" at good valuations and holds onto those stocks for as long as a company stays wonderful. And, despite his unfathomable wealth, he lives frugally in a house he bought back in 1958 for $31,500.  Keeping things simple can take some of the worry out of your own retirement, especially as you’re easing through the transition phase. Set small, manageable goals for yourself, like cutting your monthly spending by 5%, trying three new activities by the end of the month, or taking a 15-minute walk every morning. Racking up those smaller wins will fill every day with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Eventually, you might even start setting bigger targets: living abroad for a year, learning a new language, or even starting your own company.

7. "The most important investment you can make is in yourself." – Warren Buffett

After decades of hard work and diligent saving, spending can be scary for retirees. But if all you really want from your money is to have more money, then you’d never retire! The true measure of wealth in retirement is the richness of your life: the experiences you’re having, the relationships you’re developing, and the things you’re learning about the world and yourself.

You can trust the comprehensive financial plans we develop at Keen Wealth to shepherd your financial investments in retirement while you focus on investing in your happiness and enrichment. Schedule a meeting with one of our advisors and let’s discuss how our process could help you achieve your financial goals while you’re living your best life.

About Bill

Bill Keen is a financial advisor with over 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.

KWMG, LLC’s dba Keen Wealth Advisors (“company”) is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in Overland Park, KS. The company and its representatives may only conduct business in those states where registered or where excluded/exempt or from licensure. For registration information please contact the SEC or the state securities regulators for the states where the company is notice filed. A copy of the company ADV is available upon request. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where the company and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by the company unless a client service agreement is in place. This information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy and is for illustrative purposes only. Clients and prospective clients must consider all relevant risk factors involved with each strategy, including costs or fees, and their own personal financial situations before trading.

The views outlined in the book, Keen on Retirement Engineering the Second Half of Your Life, are those of the author and should not be construed as individualized or personalized investment advice. Any economic and/or performance information cited is historical and not indicative of future results. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.

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