Monday, September 03, 2007

Some Sound Financial Principles This Labor Day

My internet Southern Baptist friend, Art Pierce of Virginia, sent me an article about the second richest man in the world. His name is Warren Buffett and he has donated $31 billion to charity. CNBC intervied Mr. Buffett and America learned several things about this multi-billionaire:

1. He bought his first share of stock at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
2. He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
3. He still lives in the same, small 3-bedroom house in midtown Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.
4. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
5. He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.
6. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis. He has given his CEO's only two rules. Rule number 1: Do not lose any of your shareholder's money.
Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.
7. He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His pastime after he gets home is to make himself some popcorn and watch television.
8. Bill Gates, the world's richest man, met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So, he had scheduled his meeting only for half an hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.
9. Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.

Warren Buffet's advice to young people: "Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself and remember:

A. Money doesn't create man, but it is the man who created money.
B. Live your life as simple as you are.
C. Don't do what others say. Just listen to them, but do what makes you feel good.
D. Don't go on brand name. Wear those things in which you feel comfortable.
E. Don't waste your money on unnecessary things. Spend on those who really are in need.
F. After all, it's your life. Why give others the chance to rule your life?"

Food for thought on this Labor Day holiday.

In His Grace,



Rex Ray said...

Ahhhhhhh! There’s where I went wrong…I spent my paper route money on toys.

Enjoyed reading good advice for the most part, but some ‘old dogs’ could profit by some ‘new tricks’ like a cell phone, and a computer to read your post.

Some of my hardest work has been on labor day, but the one I remember most was a storm on the ocean in a 18 foot boat with my young children. They knew I was scared because I was singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as loud as I could.

BTW, you need to read your first sentence.

Bob Cleveland said...

Berkshire Hathaway is big in the insurance business, too, and I've watched him for I think over 40 years. He's sort of a hero in our industry.

Another interesting fact is that, as the stock price grows, he refuses to split the stock to make it more attractive to the common man. He's not about stock price, apparently, but about running businesses. The stock is currently about $120,000 per share.

They did a TV broadcast of him and Bill Gates in a forum with some U of Iowa business students. Everything he said was marvelously simple.

davidinflorida said...


That`s alot of good information that I wish someone had told me when I was 14 and then again when I was 20.

As we all know here, you can`t take it with you, what are Warren`s views on life after death?

irreverend fox said...

I wish I wasn't into baseball cards when I was 11...

Anonymous said...

This one didn't hit me just right:

C. Don't do what others say. Just listen to them, but do what makes you feel good.

...but all in all, it seems like he would make a great neighbor.

Actually, I wish he was my dad.

...or my dad's dad.

...or my dad's brother.

...or a good friend of my dad's.



Writer said...


Thanks for the reminder. Buffet's financial advice on credit cards squares with the biblical view as well.

I heard one financial advisor say, "Never borrow money on anything that is not appreciating in value." That's why the only money I have borrowed is on real estate. The only credit card I have is a debit card.

It hasn't always been this way with me. I had to learn my lesson about credit card debt the hard way.

We need to teach our folks biblical financial principles. How can we teach our folks how to manage money if we don't model it?


DL said...

"Never borrow money on anything that is not appreciating in value."

I have read the same counsel. If it is true, is it alright to borrow money to give away to the poor - thereby storing treasure in Heaven? If credit is as legitimate as our culture would portray it, then why is credit used for consumption rather than generosity?

Tim G said...

I get asked this many times during Stewardship Seminars. I do not advise nor do I think it is good stewardship to borrow to give. The reality of stewardship in ones life is that good stewardship will produce a lifestyle that allows for giving and this type of giving leads to being blessed to give. Credit used for giving is never wise. I like God's plan better.

David Simpson said...

Very timely post, especially for those in ministry...

Bennett Willis said...

Les, why do you want to give them your money 30+ days sooner than you have to? Use of a debit card indicates a possible lack of self control on spending and maybe some issues with keeping up with the records--at least this is what it means in my family.

If you pay the credit card each month, you are taking advantage of them. They keep your records and lend you some money interest free. If you don't pay off the credit card each month, they are taking advantage of you by charging interest from the day of the purchase and at a high rate.

Bennett Willis

Jeff said...

Trying to remember if any course was offered at seminary for me on finances. I wish they would make something like this a requirement at the seminary level

Jeff Thomas

Tim G said...

Per your request for Seminary providing:

SWBTS has just begun the Eklund Chair of Stewardship and the Center for Biblical Stewardship, which will indeed do just that. In fact, it is the first Chair of Stewardship at any Seminary in the world and will be cutting edge in every way teaching students, Pastors and students spouses biblical stewardship and church finances.

Writer said...


Excellent point. As I mentioned, I have gotten into trouble with credit cards before. I'd rather not to have to deal with that temptation again.


david b mclaughlin said...

Statistics show that even if you pay your credit card off every month you still spend something like 10% more on average than you do using a debit card or cash.

Anonymous said...

"F. After all, it's your life. Why give others the chance to rule your life?'"

Ah, the motto of a godless generation. And one that can keep us from following our Creator.

"I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." Jer 10:23

An M in C Asia

Anonymous said...

I thought I should clarify...

I know Mr. Buffet was referring to creditors, but IMHO, good stewardship doesn't mean taking ownership of something that is not mine. Rather, it is remembering Whose it is in the first place and acting according as He wills.

An M in C Asia

Taran said...

Two words for Christians interested in getting out of debt:

Dave Ramsey!!

Bennett Willis said...

That is what it means in my family too. I felt that is usually the reason, and have been ashamed of "gigging" you about it ever since I did--my only "excuse" is that it set up the second paragraph of the comment really well--and that is not really enough of a reason.

I have one daughter who manages cash like you do (carefully, and with a self imposed discipline) and one who knows exactly what their budget says about everything. One will buy cashier's checks for her fixed expenses when summer starts (and work hours drop--she is a stage hand). The other would just "ear mark" it and leave it in the bank. The contrast is breath taking sometimes.

When I listen to Dave Ramsey, I am amazed at what messes folks can get themselves into--and equally amazed at how they can dig out if they decide that it is a family project and priority--and all who shout, "We're debt free," have done exactly this. It is an inspirational program.

Bennett Willis

Bennett Willis said...

A uniform goal of churches is to improve marriages. This is a stated, implied, or hoped for goal of any church I have heard of. Since finances are cited as one of the major reasons for divorce in at least 50% of the cases, it would see that one of the "easy" things that we could do would be to work on helping our members manage their finances.

We tend to wait until "young adult or couples" to start on that project. Maybe it should be one of the emphases of your youth departments. Does anyone do this?

Bennett Willis

Anonymous said...

File this is the for what it's worth category...

"A uniform goal of churches is to improve marriages. This is a stated, implied, or hoped for goal of any church I have heard of."

Personally, this is one of the most accurate and saddest descriptives of most contemporary churches.


DL said...

"Personally, this is one of the most accurate and saddest descriptives of most contemporary churches."

What do you mean?

Bennett Willis said...

I know what I meant. Every church deplores the divorce rate among their members and the fact that it is not noticably different from that of the whole population. Since financial issues are a major source of stress, one way that churches can reduce stress in marriage is to help couples get control of their finaicial lives.

Thinking about that problem (quickly), I suspect that we are waiting too late to get started on that. We need to have our youth thinking about running their finances in a responsible and Christian manner.

It is sad that we have so many divorces, but if we take a long term view of the problem and start early in our church training (even fourth grade maybe???) by spending a little time each Sunday on this topic--just a minute or two--perhaps by the time that it becomes critical it will be a part of the person.

Bennett Willis

Anonymous said...

The average person on the street does not know what "Rule 72" is.
Gene Price