9 Money Lessons Bill Gates Learned From Warren Buffett That You Can Use, Too

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

We all could learn many lessons from Warren Buffett when it comes to investing and money management. Bill Gates, already a billionaire, also has learned plenty from Buffett, and this signifies the importance of lifelong learning when it comes to something as complex as money management.

Learn More: Why Warren Buffett Sold His Apple Stock
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What money lessons has Bill Gates learned from Warren Buffett? And how can you apply these lessons to your finances?

You Never Know What Value Someone Brings to You

Gates was initially hesitant about meeting Buffett back in 1991. When his mother offered the opportunity to meet Buffett, his initial reaction was, “Look, he just buys and sells pieces of paper. That’s not real value added.” Gates was pleasantly surprised about how the initial meeting went, and they’ve been close friends ever since.

How can you apply this to your life? 

You shouldn’t be so quick to judge someone before having a conversation to get to know them. Every connection you make in life can help you propel forward. This applies to co-workers and friends you meet at networking events.

It’s Important To Ask the Right Questions

“These were amazingly good questions that nobody had ever asked,” Gates once said of his first discussion with Buffett. He learned how Buffett used astute questions to evaluate both markets and people.

How can you apply this to your life? 

The quality of your questions will determine your trajectory in many areas. You can apply this logic to investing and budgeting. By questioning every investment and purchase, you’ll make more informed decisions that can help you better plan for the future. You’ll also get better insights when you take the time to improve your questions.

You Want To Be Around People Smarter Than You

Buffett has stated on many occasions that you will move in the direction of the people you associate with, so it’s crucial that you find people who are better than you to be around. Gates has heard Buffett state this numerous times, and it’s something that he thinks about when choosing whom to let into his inner circle.

How can you apply this to your life? 

If you want to advance in your career or make smarter investments, you want to find ways to learn from those who know more than you about such things.

Be Honest With Shareholders

Buffett is known for his annual letter to shareholders, which inspired Gates to start his own annual letter for his foundation.

How can you apply this to your life? 

Accountability is a crucial ingredient if you want to move up in your career or improve as an investor. You want to be held accountable so you’re honest about your progress and any problem areas that need to be addressed.

Great Investors Ignore the Noise

Buffett has told Gates that you have to be able to ignore the market instead of following it. Buffett believes that shareholders should pretend they own the entire business. This includes investing in the future profits and value of the company instead of thinking only about the current situation.

How can you apply this to your life? 

When investing your money, you want to do your best to ignore the hype. You’ll be tempted by friends and the media to make certain investments that may not be the wisest move for your situation. You have to know how to filter out the news because many people have gotten caught up in the hype of cryptocurrency, NFTs and other speculative assets over the last few years.

Make Your Time Count

“He doesn’t let his calendar get filled up with useless meetings,” Gates noted in a LinkedIn post. Buffett has taught Gates the value of protecting your time so you make the most of it.

How can you apply this to your life? 

You have to try your best to be protective of your time so you don’t let others dictate how you spend your hours. This logic can be applied to a few situations:

  • Your workplace. You have to set boundaries with co-workers who want to take up your time with pointless meetings so you can focus on your workload.

  • Your investments. You need to take the time to learn about the companies and funds you are investing in. Look for the best ROI on your time.

You Have To Find Your Personal Advisors

Gates noted that Buffett is very generous with his time regarding the people he trusts in his life. Buffett has found his personal advisors, in whom he confides and to whom he turns for advice.

How can you apply this to your life? 

You want to find mentors, friends and accountability partners you can rely on for guidance. Every stage in your life will require you to embrace new challenges, so you want to ensure that you have personal advisors who will help you when you’re stuck.

‘Swing for the Fences’

In his annual foundation letter in 2020, Gates revealed that Buffett once told him to “swing for the fences.”

“That’s how we think about our philanthropy, too,” Gates said in the letter. “The goal isn’t just incremental progress. It’s to put the full force of our efforts and resources behind the big bets that, if successful, will save and improve lives.”

How can you apply this to your life?

Set big goals and put as much of your financial resources as possible toward them so you will maximize your return.

The Value of Experience

In a 2015 blog post, Gates said Buffett’s emphasis on experience struck him.

“The Berkshire system maximizes having very experienced people run their businesses, giving them autonomy, and letting them do it for decades at a time,” Gates wrote. “Even if they make a few mistakes, they know that Warren will stick with them. That’s how he has put together a mind-blowingly good set of business managers.”

How can you apply this to your life?

Pick veteran financial advisors, accountants and companies who have good track records and the savvy to offer the best direction for your money.

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