Warren Buffett's Investment Advice for You
Buffett says consumer behavior may be forever changed by the recession.
July 10, 2009 — -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett believes that the U.S. will emerge from the current economic recession "stronger than ever," but he said the behavior of the American consumer may be forever changed.
"We were on a binge before," the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview. "I mean, we are not saving extraordinary sums now but the savings behavior has changed. ... I don't necessarily think that we will go back to behaving the way that we were two years ago."
The man known as the "Oracle from Omaha" because of his history of successful investments, shared his top three pieces of advice for average Americans who want to grow their savings and keep their money safe.
Number one: "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Number two: "Always look at how much the other guy is making if he is trying to sell you something."
Number three: Don't go into debt.
"Stay away from leverage," he said. "Nobody ever goes broke that doesn't owe money."
The "binge," he said, was fueled largely by over-borrowing by both individuals and companies.
"The U.S. public as a whole has gotten into problems from leverage, financial institutions have gotten into problems through leverage," he said. "A long, long time ago a friend said to me about leverage, 'If you're smart you don't need it, and if you're dumb, you got no business using it.'"
At a time when many college graduates face uncertain futures and are struggling to find jobs, Buffett said he still believes that "investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents. And I always advise students to do that, high school students, college students and obviously investing in your children is, in some ways, investing in yourself."
No matter what happens in the economy, "if you have true talent yourself, and you have maximized your talent, you have a terrific asset."
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