Most people don’t tap dance their way to work. But Warren Buffett does. And he has good reason to.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the Berkshire-Hathaway investment maven from various books and essays—including “Tap Dancing Your Way to Work”; Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders at B-H; and various articles that paint him as an eccentric genius.
In fact, a lesser-known book about the storied moneyman, “The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett and George Soros” by Mark Tier, made it clear to me why Buffett is both an investment legend and manages to enjoy every second of his work—so much so you might see him clicking his heels along Farnam Street as he taps his way to the Berkshire-Hathaway offices in Omaha, Nebraska.
I also love my job, and if I had a longer commute than my bedroom to the kitchen table, I might be rolling out a click and a shuffle, too. But aside from understanding Buffett’s investment joys, I read this book because I wanted to learn more about investing. (Before your excoriate me for reading a book with advice from the infamous George Soros, my focus was—and is—on Buffett and his financial advice. Let’s ignore the rest of it for now.)
When it comes to finances, I’m quite conservative. I don’t own a car or a fancy house. I don’t buy expensive clothes. Aside from buying top-grade food for my dog, Bally, and traveling for work, I don’t spend a lot of money.
In fact, I calculated my lifestyle burn rate with my friend and business coach, Bedros Keuilian, as less than $40,000 per year. That kind of lifestyle brought me a lot less stress.
Love what you do, create your own investment philosophy, and invest in what you understand. When these come together, investment is no longer a risk.
My investment strategy is just as conservative and entirely self-driven—which is why I needed a little help. As I waded through Buffett’s chapters on stocks, bonds, and IRAs for tips on how to make the next savvy investment move, I stumbled across something unexpected: the investor’s “Circle of Competence.”
For Buffett, this is the golden rule, and it begins with three questions:
- What are you interested in?
- What do you know now?
- What would you like to know about and are willing to learn?
First, I answered the questions about investment. After all, I was spending the time with Buffett to learn his secrets. I must be interested, right?
Wrong. I was only superficially interested in investing; I knew nothing about it; and my commitment to learning about it was lukewarm at best.
So, I answered Buffett’s question at face value:
- What are you interested in? Information publishing.
- What do you know now? Quite a bit.
- What would you like to know about and are willing to learn? More about information publishing—I live for the stuff.
Then it became crystal clear: My passion for information publishing in all media matched Buffett’s passions for shares and trades. I recognized the need to spend my resources on what I loved doing—which was not spending hours reading financial statements.
Naturally, this falls in line with Buffett’s other commandments: love what you do, create your own investment philosophy, and invest in what you understand. When these come together, investment is no longer a risk. Why? Because study, research, time, and energy have been poured into this passion and enriched your knowledge.
The book also lists Buffett’s 23 investment rules. Five of them that guided my decision to focus less on financial investments and more on generating income through publishing included:
- Live and breath investing 24 hours a day.
- Love what you do, not what you own.
- Invest in what you understand.
- Refuse investments’ outside criteria.
- Passionately avoid risk.
To Buffett, investing is NOT a risk, because through study and analysis he has become an expert in every area in which he invests. He lives and breathes it, just as I do with information publishing.
For me, publishing companies became the gold mine. In fact, I turned one investment of $150,000 into $250,000 in only 13 months by following Buffett’s advice. Now, I am happily at the helm of Early To Rise, generating meaningful content for thousands of advocates and followers. I love what I do—personally, professionally, and financially.
The bottom line: Know your passions and invest in them. Not only will you find yourself financial successful, but you, too, will one day be tap dancing to work.