8 priceless money quotes from Buffett, Biden and more

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From the ancient Greeks to the heroes of today, these quotes are worth pinning to your wall.


Key points

  • Quotes can be inspirational and help you stick to your financial goals.
  • Warren Buffett says the time to buy is when everyone is scared, while Dolly Parton says you should always keep something to yourself.
  • Even the ancient Greeks have the wisdom of money to share.

Money has been around for thousands of years. At that time, all kinds of great minds shared their views on how to manage it, how to spend it, and how to save it. But even after thousands of years, it can still be difficult to juggle the endless demands on our wallets. Here are some pearls of wisdom from philosophers, presidents, investors, and even musicians, dating all the way back to Roman times.

Warren Buffett on when to buy

“A simple rule dictates my purchases: be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.”

Buffett isn’t the first person to talk about buying stocks during tough times. As early as the 18th century, Baron Rothschild said, “The time to buy is when there is blood in the streets, even if that blood is yours. The idea is that when things are going well, people feel optimistic and even quality investments can become overvalued.

When prices fall, people get scared and panic to sell. This is when savvy investors can pick up solid investments at lower prices. But like a lot of investment advice, it’s easier said than done. You should always identify assets that will perform well in the long term, otherwise you are simply buying a failing asset that could fall further.

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Nathan Morris on the loan

“Every time you borrow money, you steal your future self.”

The bestselling author, speaker and financial coach who wrote Your 33-day financial action plan and other books on managing your money, summarizes why borrowing isn’t always a good idea. Of course, there are different types of debt – a mortgage is different from high-interest credit card debt. But at some point in the future, you’ll have to pay back what you borrow, plus interest.

If you’ve ever been tempted to put a vacation, a new outfit, or a restaurant meal on your credit card because you can’t prepay, keep Morris’s words in mind. You’re piling up pain on your future self so you can buy things you don’t really need today. Rather than going into debt to buy something now, put some money aside so you can pay up front in the future.

President Joe Biden on how we spend

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.”

It’s too easy to put off budgeting, but it’s a great way to keep track of what you’re spending. It can also reveal a lot about you. How we spend our money is a powerful indicator of what is important to us. If you don’t know where your money is going each month, try using a budgeting app to help you track your spending. You might be surprised at what you find. A budget can identify ways to save money, but it can also help you ensure that your spending aligns with your values.

Benjamin Franklin talks about living within his means

“If you know how to spend less than you earn, you have the philosopher’s stone.”

One of the fundamental principles of money management is to spend less than you earn. This way you can avoid debt, save for emergencies and invest for the future. It’s not easy when juggling seemingly endless demands on your purse strings, but it really is a method anyone can use to slowly build wealth.

Albert Einstein on compound interest

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Whoever understands it, earns it… whoever doesn’t…pays for it.”

Compound interest is basically how you can earn – or pay – interest on your interest. It’s a powerful force that can translate into big savings. For example, suppose you invest $1,000 in stocks and can earn a return of 7%. In 10 years, that $1,000 could be worth close to $2,000. And if you leave it alone for 30 years, it could be worth over $7,500.

However, as Einstein points out, it can also cost you dearly if you are in debt. Let’s say you have a balance of $1,000 on a credit card that charges 18%. If you make a minimum payment of $25 per month, the amount you owe will continue to accrue interest. It would take you over five years to pay off the debt and you would pay an extra $500 in interest.

Epictetus on Desires and Possessions

“Wealth does not consist in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

We move from the words of a 20th century physicist to an ancient Greek philosopher. Epictetus was a former slave who eventually founded his own school of philosophy. There’s often no end to the things we want – you save for a new tablet, but then you want accessories to go along with it. Or you buy a trendy dress, only to see another amazing outfit that you want just as much. Epictetus’ words remind us that sometimes wealth is an attitude towards life rather than the things we own.

Oprah Winfrey is grateful

“Be grateful for what you have, eventually you will have more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”

There will always be people who have more than you, as well as others who have less. Keep in mind that many wealthy people don’t live in fancy homes or drive expensive cars. And many people who live glitzy lifestyles aren’t necessarily wealthy. If you focus on the things you don’t have, you’re more likely to go into debt to buy things you don’t necessarily need.

Dolly Parton also talks about taking care of yourself

“Always keep something for yourself.”

This advice from Dolly Parton’s mother applies to various aspects of life. Giving can often be its own reward, but if you don’t also take care of yourself, you can find yourself in trouble. Whether it’s the way you work, the way you approach your money, or your relationships with others, keep something to yourself. Save a small percentage of your income, take time to do the things you love, and try to find a work-life balance.

At the end of the line

Money is something we use every day, but many people are nervous about talking about it and often hope that it will work out on its own. But much of the wisdom of all these great thinkers comes down to being aware of what you’re doing with your money. Whether it’s being aware of how your desires influence your ability to save, or avoiding high-interest debt so your future self doesn’t have to pay it back, understanding how money is the first step to building a strong financial foundation.

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