Warren Buffett discusses EU and Monetary Union in 2011
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Between the global pandemic and interest rates bottoming out at an all time low, there seems to be little people can do to protect and stretch out their money. Warren Buffett, an American business tycoon, shared two best practices to help consumers keep inflation at bay.
Consumers across the world are still bracing themselves for an expected rise in prices once the panic of COVID-19 fades.
This possible inflation is an inescapable part of the natural economic cycle, and has undoubtedly been compounded by the global pandemic.
So, what can people do on an individual level to try to ride out the economic shifts?
Mr Buffett spoke at the Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting in 2009, shortly after the 2008 financial crisis.
Mr Buffett spoke at the Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting in 2009 (Image: GETTY)
While it may have been over a decade ago, the global economic market has gone through just as much turmoil in the past year as it did in 2008, meaning his words could prove relevant to this almost post-pandemic era.
Mr Buffett suggests: “The best thing to do is invest in yourself.
“If you’re the best teacher, if you’re the best surgeon, if you’re the best lawyer, you will get your share of the national economic pie regardless of the value of whatever the currency may be.”
Upskilling oneself has very few disadvantages and being at the top of whatever industry or career they are in will ensure monetary compensation for all the hours of effort that went into perfecting said skills.
This is especially true in nations with strong currencies, such as the UK, wherein the “share of the national economic pie” can be stretched out and used a lot more than in countries with weaker currencies.
Mr Buffett’s second suggestion to help stop inflation eating its way through one’s pockets was to invest, and specifically in business rather than currency.
“If you own the Coca-Cola company, you will get a given portion of people’s labour 20 years from now and 50 years from now for your product and it doesn’t make any difference what’s happened to the price level,” he explained.
While not everyone can necessarily own the Coca-Cola company, it is the prime example of how investing in a business rather than in a product.
Investing in businesses rather than products is Mr Buffett’s key suggestion (Image: GETTY)
Taking into account Mr Buffett’s long-time recommendations of low-cost index funds and combining this ‘business investing’ creates an automatically diversified portfolio.
Funds hold every stock in an index, for example S&P 500 which contains large-scale businesses like Apple and Google.
Mr Buffett has been an outspoken advocate for this specific investment fund for years.
“Consistently buy an S&P 500 low-cost index fund,” urged Mr Buffett in 2017.
“Keep buying it through thick and thin, and especially through thin.”
Diversifying a portfolio through these types of investments is an industry-wide recommendation.
This ensures that, while returns may vary, the overall outlook of an individual portfolio will be mostly positive.
Mr Buffett has also commented in the past that if saving for retirement, a diverse portfolio is “the most sense practically all of the time”.