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Warren Buffett Reveals the Biggest Mistake We Make When It Comes to Money

According to Warren Buffett, there are two simple and costly mistakes most of us make when managing our personal finances.

Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) is the third richest man on the planet, and knows a thing or two about success when it comes to money and investing.

Source: Coca-Cola

When he first took over Berkshire Hathaway in 1964, the book value of the company stood at $19. At the end of last year it was $114,214 - a growth rate of 19.7% every year for 48 years! Similarly, $19 placed in the S&P 500 would've only grown to around $1,400 over that same time period.

He is a man whose wisdom should be trusted. And while he is full of investment advice, he also doesn't stray to give insight when it comes to personal finances as well.

On personal finances
Buffett recently teamed up with Quicken Loans to offer someone the chance to win $1 billion for a perfect NCAA bracket. When he went on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss the bracket-challenge, Dan asked him a simple question, "What's the biggest mistake we make when it comes to money?" and Buffett had a direct, but vitally important response:

Well, I think the biggest mistake is not learning the habits of saving properly early. Because saving is a habit. And then, trying to get rich quick. It's pretty easy to get well-to-do slowly. But it's not easy to get rich quick.

So often when money and investing is considered, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that saving can wait until a later date, and that the best investments are the ones that no one knows about. However, those thoughts are undeniably mistaken.

A powerful example
Consider a scenario of two people, each 25 years old, David who makes $40,000 a year and Michael who makes $80,000 a year. Each year, they get a 2.5% raise and work until they are 73. Let's say the only difference is David starts saving 10% of his income when he's 25, but Michael decides to wait until he's 40, while he's making $115,000 a year.

Let's also err on the conservative side of things and say that money grows at an annual rate of 7% each year, which is actually less than the average historical annual return of the S&P 500.

By the time each is 50, they would've each taken a little more than $144,000 out of their paychecks and put it toward retirement. But when they retire at 73, do you know who would end up with more money?

Despite earning half as much money over the course of his lifetime, David would end up with roughly 10% more than Michael. David would have $2.3 million in savings when they retired, and Michael would have $2.1 million:

What is even more remarkable than David ending up with more money despite earning half as much in salary, is that ultimately Michael saved 60% more money than David (roughly $610,000 in savings for Michael versus $375,000 for David).

If you decide to get ambitious and say the money grows at 8.5% a year, David actually ends up with almost 30% more than Michael, with $3.7 million in savings versus $2.9 million. 

What we can learn
All too often in investing people are taught, "in order to make money, you must have money," and the stock market is only useful if you find the next big company where your money is doubled in a matter of days.

Yet as Buffett expounds, and the example above shows, the true key to becoming rich is patient saving starting today and an understanding that wealth accumulation happens over the course of a lifetime.

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  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 4:08 PM, loofmot wrote:

    Sorry, the numbers are still not realistic. They don't factor in inflation. The last 20 years average S&P 500 return after inflation is only 4.4%. On average people's income from 25 to 40 increase much more than 2.5% per year. And who is going to wait until 73 to retire???

    Try realistic numbers and there is not much benefit in saving at 25 rather than waiting to 40. Better to pay off the house by 40 (15 year mortgage), pay off the student loans. Then save what you have been paying on your loans. The biggest benefit comes from not paying interest!

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 4:27 PM, Alexander68 wrote:

    "And while he is full of investment advice, he also doesn't stray to give insight when it comes to personal finances as well."

    What on Earth is that sentence supposed to say?

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 5:24 PM, lilys wrote:

    Thanks, Mr. Buffet, but there's no money left for savings after paying rent on a cheap one-bedroom and making our student loan payments each month.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 5:46 PM, Allen91979 wrote:

    No savings left? Downgrade! rent or room or downsize to a studio and if thats not enough, stop paying student loans.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 5:54 PM, rocsoe wrote:

    Every writer of an unsolicited concept does so with an agenda. Furthermore, the comparison example here is unrealistic.

    If (everything after taxes here) you adjust the amount you're saving to equal about 30% of what you're spending, you're covered in retirement. If you cannot, you're living above your means.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 6:25 PM, zorrocarnivoro wrote:

    David and Michael will be working for 48 years to save a couple million dollars and retire at the ripe age of 73.What good is the money, when these guys got one foot forward heading to the cemetery. Sure the money will buy buckets of medicine to stay half alive. Pay somebody to haul you around, then marry a twenty years old woman and give her all the money she wants to entertain her boyfriends.What a deal.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 6:39 PM, bksrmgc wrote:

    Yes, you can save, if you make it a priority. When you are paid, START by setting aside 10%. You may have to sacrifice to do it--eat out less, skip Starbucks, buy a late-model used car, don't give your kids every expensive toy or clothes they want, take road trips for vacations rather than expensive trips, buy a house you can afford with CASH, you don't need stainless steel appliances and granite counters.. When that house is worth more, than you can sell it and buy a nicer/bigger house for CASH. If you use credit cards, pay them off every single month. It is so well worth it later on.

    Create a budget and STICK to it. Priorities first - retirement, kid's education, utilities, food, clothes. As soon as you buy one car, start setting money aside to replace it. It's called living within your means and planning for the future. It can be done.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 6:56 PM, ryanchandler25 wrote:


    Just a little FYI for you. Buffett did not team up with Quicken Loans to offer someone the chance to win a billion dollars. It was merely a case of his insurance company accepting a huge fee to provide the insurance on the deal. This means that if someone in fact does win it, Berkshire will have to pay out a billion dollars. Of course, it's likely the odds are so much against someone winning it

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 6:57 PM, zzoned wrote:

    this is coming from a man that owes the federal government 1 billion dollars in back taxes on airline ticket purchases.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 7:05 PM, Wayners999 wrote:

    Too bad the U.S. Govt doesn't follow these rules and is therefore broke and has to bend over taxpayers and China to get it's hands on money. Maybe if the U.S. Govt had saved and invested nobody would have to pay taxes and the U.S. Govt would receive all the income it needs from interest paid from foreigners. The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the World...NOT...with $13T in current debt and unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions going forward. This is what you get when movie stars and comedians get elected to Congress instead of people that know what the F they are doing.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 7:54 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Democrats love do they feel now that he is buying that evil ExxonMobil.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 8:01 PM, ehri wrote:

    For those who suggest that you wait to save. Go talk to your parents and ask them how things have worked out for them. Those who waited are probably not in a position to retire. Maybe never.

    Those who started saving early in their working career are the ones who retired in their sixties because they started saving early. By the way, they had house payments, college tuition, kids to raise and all the challenges that we all have had to deal with in our lives financially. Get smart and start saving early, save something every month and stay with it. You will be glad you did. All you smart mouth know it alls deserve to work until you drop.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 8:52 PM, lynzee wrote:

    Wayners999, great comment. I couldn't agree more.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 9:01 PM, Disgustedman wrote:

    There's so much wrong with this article I won't even begin to say what. Just say it's garbage. Nuff said.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 9:09 PM, jferristx wrote:

    Live within your means, commit to saving something ALWAYS, and don't have kids. Don't worry if college takes more than 4 years, and don't think you need college to make a good living. And don't have kids. Be prepared for the surprises, whether illness, natural disaster (fire, storm, etc). IN other words, be prepared for life, 'cause it will happen whether you are prepared or not. And don't have kids.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:44 AM, metou wrote:

    Those are really nice paper figures but few people have millions just saving at retirement. There are two many things draining them in todays world. Like over $3 buck gas , the worse thing that drains them is our government . My 90 year old mom had some small acreage logged which i handle my mom before she dies that she had since 1962, about 20 acres which was never cut, the logging crew labor ran $55,000 and i took the loswest bid of 10 crews and the income / capital grains tax ran $45,000, then there another tax called a timber tax that was $9,000 then a year later the government hit her again, they took that one year she logged when her nomal income is 20k a year on retirement and said every 3 years they check income and her was $181k from logging that one odd year so they had to raise her medicare and drug program $150 a month until 3 more years passes when they check it again, so she losing $150 a month for 3 years on her soical serurity. You cant make money in this country anymore as you can see the goverment get the biggerst part more than the labor got on the job, my mom been growing those tree for 60 years , plus the government demand she replant another $4,000. I would never do it again and a lot of young people feel this way trying to make money in this country with a fat pig government taking thier money for trying to get ahead.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 7:00 AM, energizedat54 wrote:

    We have five kids and started very poor but over time, we bought our first house, a hut, remodeled it and sold it ten years later. I returned to school at 36 and finished my BA and subsequently my MA. I started my own company while kids were in their teens. We paid off our second house by tripling up payments in the late 1990's while everyone else was wildly investing in the dotcoms. One of the kids went straight through college and we paid for half. We currently have two more in college and they will pay for half. One daughter is getting married and we told her that she can pay for the marriage and we'll pay off her school loans. We have been saving 50% of our payroll for about five years. I'm 54 and my husband is 61. We plan to continue working. our success is chiefly because we put God first in all things.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 9:29 AM, bmmohio wrote:

    It is not just about a early retirement fund but also a general savings plan for a rough day. You also have to manage you retirement plan weekly or even daily. Make sure it is not a system hard to manage because that only shows a company trying to steal your money with to many rules restricting your options and clinging onto a extra fee market that has destroyed most people ability to just try to save. I could not tell you how many friends just dropped money in a retirement system that never progressed in a span of 30 years.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:19 AM, Ron55 wrote:

    Simple and true words were never spoken more clearer than from Warren Buffet himself. The bottom line is to save as early and as much as you can. Whether it is 1%, 10% or more the savings will add up over the course of a person's lifetime. I may not have as much saved at my age as I would like but it is better that if I had not saved.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:38 AM, milanilich wrote:

    2.5 % raise? Out of touch with the real world.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 12:35 PM, jdp245 wrote:

    Loofmot's advice is dead wrong. Pay off student loans? Please. Many subsidized loans have less than 2% interest right now. Since inflation grows faster than that, paying them down early is worse for you than only making the minimum payment. And paying off your mortgage early? Many mortgages now have rates below 5%, which is lower than what you can expect to get in returns from the stock market over the long term. And since the price of real property rises with inflation, your equity grows with inflation, providing an even greater benefit to financing your home (assuming that you have a fixed rate). And that is even before the tax benefits from deducting your mortgage interest. Saving and investing is the best way to prepare for retirement. If you are uncomfortable holding debt while you do that, then save up and pay cash.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 3:34 PM, toomuchgas wrote:

    So many people make excuses for why they can't save. You can save and pay off debt too. Student loan debt is some of the cheapest you'll ever have and instead of paying it off early invest the balance in stocks and bonds.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 12:07 AM, johntexrep wrote:

    Everybody wants to tell you how to do it, that's never done it. Look at everybody criticizing the most successful market investor in history. And for what? For saying "save early". What can you possibly find that's derogatory in that? Save money when you can... btw... for those that say "I have bills!". Yes... and putting more towards paying on loans, bills, etc lowering interest IS a form of saving. Everybody is so negative. 10% is a good number. Live below your means. Americans are so poor at that. We'd rather loan everything out for 30 years than say hey... I can be happy with less. There ARE happy people of moderate income. Believe it or not. smh... the attitude of our country sickens me sometimes. To think more than half the world lives on less than two dollars a day...

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 7:53 AM, stillwater9999 wrote:

    Buffett's advise that the way to go is slow and steady is correct and that trying to get rich quick is the wrong idea. So why does the Motley Fool have advertising that highlights how David Gardner et. al. made 2000% returns etc. etc. This is a direct appeal to the get rich/gambling instinct. Motley Fool

    often mentions Buffett in their pieces, but makes stock recommendations like AMZN, NFLX, that Buffett would never buy.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 5:23 PM, MikeinDenver wrote:

    The example is poor but the lesson is a good one.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 8:01 PM, chris293 wrote:

    Warren Buffett is saying the party line to help maintain a stable stock market. Sure, he knows how to sit on a pot of money and assets and sometimes comes to the aid of companies having a hard time, naturally for a good profit. Slow and sure always win the race and if they use TMF's as an aid to their portfolios should beat easily Buffett's 19% annual return. To me 'student loans' are another way to make people dependent on a "socialist type government" with the help of our left leaning school systems.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 12:39 PM, MfromG wrote:

    Lots of angry peops on here.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 1:03 PM, mjc84 wrote:

    For most people saving is simply not realistic these days, homes, food, education, cars etc etc are all taking more and more money away as wages are stagnant. The system isn't working for many people and the wealthy simply use simplistic stories like the one above to make the poor feel guilty. America is a consumer economy, on one had we all have to stop spending so we can save but the spending is what creates our jobs.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 4:56 PM, elmer wrote:

    You have to be a FOOL to believe anything here .

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 5:01 PM, danglen wrote:

    Two kinds of people in this world: those that think they can and those that think they can't---and both of them are right!

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 5:55 PM, moshster wrote:

    If you have a good education that leads you into a well paid job, then you can start saving closer to 40 and still have plenty of money at retirement.

    In the early years, invest in education and skills so you can raise your salary as high a possible. Then put aside as much as you can spare and invest the money in stable, dividend paying stocks. I paid off the mortgage by my mid 30s, then started investing (wisely, no get rich quick plans) and quickly caught up to where I would have been had I started saving in my 20s. It can be done.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 6:16 PM, mtprx wrote:

    Don't forget the entire point of this article, "Warren Buffet didn't tell you anything that you already didn't know" Forget the numbers in the article. The sooner you save, the more you end up with. Common sense, No! Here's something else you may not have heard- A penny saved is a penny earned-Benjamin Franklin-before Warren Buffet was ever born.

    The article eh, the comments priceless

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 7:44 PM, Tuffgo81 wrote:

    Every life has different and multiple problems. Personally, my life had some large medical expense, children who went to college and lived in a City and State that is known for low paying positions. It seems that I tried to save from age 26 on thru 55, but our best saving time was after the children left home. We considered our children priceless and still do. Maybe WB plan would work with some working families.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 7:44 PM, PALMAL wrote:

    The greatest advice ever given was (is) the Ten Commandments, yet how often do we follow them to the letter (this from an agnostic that refers to the Bible as "The User Manual".) Sage advice from Warren, and, as with Moses and his tablets, follow what fits and bend those that don't.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 8:33 PM, WineHouse wrote:

    My step-daughter has earned significantly more in each of the past twenty years than her father and I combined ever earned in a single year in our entire lives -- and he and I are both well-compensated professionals. BUT -- she is deeply in debt and hasn't a dime in savings, while we have been doing OK in retirement, living off of the income from our accumulated savings. It's not what you earn that determines how well you will live in retirement, but rather it's all in what you do with the money you do earn. If you spend it, you don't have it. It's as simple as that. And while it's true that there are far too many people in this country who earn less than a living wage -- and therefore truly cannot save -- it's also true that far too many people who DO earn living wages (or better) do not know the difference between "want" and "need" and therefore not only wind up in retirement with inadequate income / assets, but at the same time with an inflated sense of what they "need" in order to live comfortably. And if you happen to be one of those latter folks, you won't recognize yourself as such, so don't go getting angry at me for writing this.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 10:48 PM, OptionsTrader8 wrote:

    The concept described in the article is not a new one - starting early allows the power of compounding to work its magic. The bigger question is can someone play 'catch up' if you start late. The answer is yes - the two main factors leading to profits in the story above are i. the compounding interval and ii. the interest rate (%) earned during that period. If we can decrease the interval or increase rate or both, we can make money faster.

    Since we cannot reclaim lost time, we should learn how to 'compound our money at shorter intervals'. One way to do this is by using stock options - if one learns to compound at the rate of even 2% a month, the rewards are enormous. A simple online search for 'the power of compounding with stock options' will yield many websites of interest.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 11:40 PM, sara5000 wrote:

    As to how to get rich, Warren Buffet is really just restating a Bible truism, Proverbs 13:11, a person gathers wealth little by little. Get rich quick is a silly idea according to God. If only people would consult God's word.


  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 12:49 AM, chris293 wrote:

    The right place and the right time, with good people to help him choose or make his business decisions. Ask him, if there wasn't a bit of good luck for his advantages to take steps to increase his fortune. I bet he would even say that he owes a lot to both his late wife and his education.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 10:55 AM, grumpf52 wrote:

    Warren Buffet is right, saving is important but what you do with the money you have saved is more important. If you just stick your savings in a bank account you will actually lose money over time because the interest rates they pay are negligible and far less than inflation. You have to invest in stable companies that pay consistent returns, higher than inflation, to make your money grow. Well managed companies that pay a consistent return year after year change from time to time and Warren Buffet has done an excellent job of staying on top of this. That is how he got so wealthy.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 12:36 PM, snidely wrote:

    Wow, I can't believe how many negative comments there are by people who perpetually make excuses as to why they cannot save. Most of them are living in the now and want to live large.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 2:19 PM, speedracerMAC5 wrote:

    I can't speak for everyone but for me the secret was having no bills and good monthly cash flow. I never was a saver and always lived life to the fullest with what I had without putting myself in a hole. When I reached my 40's I figured I better settle down so I hooked up with a company that had a great retirement plan and benefits and did my job for the next 23 years. I retired at 63, started taking social security right away and with my companies monthly retirement benefit (which is guaranteed till I die) I make slightly more than I did working. Almost makes me fell guilty, almost. Early retirement and a long life (fingers crossed) is the best revenge.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 3:02 PM, famulla wrote:

    The mandate for individuals is a lot softer than the mandate for companies. Basically, as I understand it for a significant chunk of the population, if they don't get health care through their jobs, it is cheaper to not comply than to comply. For businesses, it is cheaper to comply (somehow) than to be out of compliance. So delaying the employer mandate means 1-2 years of the cost being driven up. If the individual mandate were stronger, I'd agree.

    Also, there's some anecdotal information which I want to start and end with a pair of disclosures: First disclosure, for the first two years of ACA and 10 years before it, I was CEO of a small agency that provides health insurance to its staff, in 2012 and 2013 I was not responsible for providing health insurance and this year I am again so there's some discontinuity in my experience.

    Now the data: For the first two years of ACA, the cost of health insurance for the agency I was running rose in the middle single digits, which was a lot slower than it had been before ACA. I just got the quote for my new agency's health insurance next year and we're back to double-digit growth in the cost of health-care.

    So the second disclosure is that assuming ACA was at least partly responsible for the decline in the rate of increase of health insurance and assuming the delays of ACA is at least partly responsible for health care costs accelerating again, it is entirely possible that with compounding, our health insurance expenses will be lower next year than they would have been without ACA despite the eye-popping increase this year. I'm not trying to argue that ACA has failed. But I am trying to argue that we should be open to the possibility that these delays aren't benign. I suspect they're expensive and inefficient.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 3:10 PM, famulla wrote:

    Ukraine, the barricades of ice and barbed wire still stand in the center of Kiev. The barrel fires smolder. And at dawn on Sunday, protesters camped out on Independence Square still broke into their hourly rendition of the national anthem, “Ukraine Has Not Yet Died.” Nor, clearly, has the violent uprising against President Viktor Yanukovych. The power-sharing agreement he offered his opponents on Saturday night, following a week of rioting in the center of his capital, was rejected within hours by the opposition leaders.

    “No deal,” tweeted one of them, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was offered the post of Prime Minister in a bid to appease the protesters. “We’re finishing what we started. The people decide our leaders, not you,” he wrote to the embattled President.

    Even a week ago, it would have been hard to imagine the President ceding so much ground. But his position has grown increasingly desperate in the past few days as his grip on power keeps slipping. Not only have the protests spread to more than a dozen cities across the country — on Saturday, for instance, demonstrators seized the government headquarters in the region of Vinnitsa — but dissent within the President’s ranks have reached a breaking point.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 3:14 PM, famulla wrote:

    'Whatever it takes' there is a long-standing tradition in politics of only dealing with something when really necessary. Why put your hand in a political hornet’s nest now, when others, down the line, could do it instead? It's a tradition, which amounts to not thinking now about problems that will arise later. After all, that was the reasoning behind those who set up the single currency. It was a political project to, as far as Helmut Kohl, was concerned, stop future conflict. The detail, like proper political, economic, and monetary union to back up the currency, would follow. Somehow. Which is where we find ourselves (struggling) now. So maybe that is what is happening with the hugely significant ruling by the German constitutional court last week. The court referred a decision to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the European Central Bank’s (ECB's) never-been-used, save-the-Eurozone bazooka. Also known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT). At first light it seemed positive. The court had deferred, as it should, to the ECJ on a matter of EU law. And no EU politician wants to look too hard beyond that.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 3:25 PM, famulla wrote:

    To add to my earlier comment - there is an article in this very same FT on the huge income gap opening up in the UK, not only benefiting the top 1% but between the winners of the globalization and the rest of the middle class, the "clinging ons". This is also a worldwide trend as is the fact that those finding jobs do so at stagnating wages or at lesser wages than before the financial crisis. If wage levels for the great majority do not grow there will be lesser growth of GDP and no inflation pressures.

    The great period of growth coincided with the rebuilding after the wars and the growth of the middle classes. Now we are in a global transformation threatening that whole economic model which is very hard for any nation alone to control.

    As to the UK, the growth figures are based on debt driven consumption and mortgages and selling houses to each other. Exports lacking and investment low. Lawrence Summers recently spoke on that subject - only by blowing bubbles can the western economies create full employment.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 3:27 PM, famulla wrote:

    Slightly stronger-than-expected growth in Germany and France pushed the Euro zone's recovery up a gear in the fourth quarter and offered potential for a more robust 2014, albeit with risks.

    Data on Friday showed the Euro zone economy rose by 0.3 per cent in the three month to December compared with the previous quarter. This slightly exceeded market expectations for a 0.2 per cent expansion.

    The 9.5 trillion euro economy had already emerged in the second quarter from its longest recession since the introduction of the single currency, but record high unemployment, external economic risks, fiscal austerity and low inflation have kept a lid on the rebound.

    The EU's statistics office will publish a detailed breakdown on March 5, but analysts said the fourth-quarter growth was mainly driven by exports and investment.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 3:34 PM, famulla wrote:

    The eurozone economy grew more than expected in the last quarter of 2013 thanks to stronger expansion in its biggest countries France and Germany, the first estimate from the European Union's statistics office showed on Friday.

    The economy of the 17 countries that shared the single currency in the last quarter rose 0.3 per cent in the three months to December against the previous three months, after a 0.1 per cent rise in the third quarter.

    Analysts polled by Reuters expected a 0.2 per cent quarterly rise. Compared with the same period of last year, eurozone gross domestic product rose 0.5 per cent, above market expectations of a 0.4 per cent rise. The first estimate does not provide a detailed breakdown into GDP components, which will only be available on March 5.

    The 9.5 trillion euro economy contracted 0.4 per cent overall in 2013, Eurostat said. The European Commission expects it will grow 1.1 per cent in 2014.

    The gradually strengthening recovery still faces downside risks, mainly from turmoil in financial markets, disinflation and the slow pace of implementation of structural reforms.

    Separately, Eurostat data showed the bloc's December foreign trade surplus grew to 13.9 billion euros from 9.8 billion euros in the same period last year, driven by a 4 per cent year-on-year rise in exports, as imports rose only 1 per cent.

    Analysts polled by Reuters expected a 15.0 billion euro surplus in December, following a revised 17.0 billion euro surplus in November.

    The eurozone's full year external trade surplus more than doubled to 153.8 billion euros last year, from 79.7 billion euros in 2012, with exports rising 1 per cent and imports falling 3 per cent.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 8:57 PM, whyaduck1128 wrote:

    Warren Buffett could walk out on a stage, go to stage center, drop his pants, take a big dump, pull up his pants, and leave--and MF would go orgasmic over what wisdom he had just expressed.

    Why is it that when Buffett tells us how to manage our money, he's "sharing his wisdom", but when rich Republicans do it, it's "condescending"?

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 9:28 AM, Osvoldt wrote:

    It's probably been said before but Mr Buffet is talking about compound interest and it's effect over time.

    I try and get my clients to save something each month and put it in a Roth IRA to start. Treat it like your rent, it has to be paid and in truth all you have left at the end of each month after bills is what you make. The rest are fixed costs. It becomes a habit and after a few years compound net rest adds up, giving a person a more powerful view of life. Easy raise put an additional couple of bucks in the ROTH.

    Today I see way to many young people and those in their 40's with no investments, huge mortgages, new car payments, and the latest tech gadget bought on credit.

    I can say my clients are all happy and much better off financially than most of the "me first, broke generation"

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 3:32 PM, famulla wrote:

    Consider rationality, and consider four statements: Anthropogenic climate change is real, because most scientists find evidence in support; GMO foods are harmless, because most scientists agree that GM technology is just a more advanced method of plant breeding; migration to Europe is needed, because of demographics and falling birth rates; and animals do not care if they are bread up for food or fur production – or indeed, like Marius the giraffe, fed to the lions at Copenhagen zoo.

    Why are these controversial views?

    In Europe, mainstream political ideologies from socialism to liberalism stand on the shoulders of the enlightenment; they are inherently rational and humanist with a belief in progress and a rejection of ethic, religious or social dogma. Yet political ideologies are in decline.

    For decades the number of party members has fallen, and alongside increased political apathy, Europe has seen a rise in swing voters, in political theatre and ad hoc mobilization within single issue movements; rather than the relative eminence of ideas, trust has emerged as kingmaker in politics; perceptions and feelings have become more important than facts.

    In political science, this development is reflected and described by constructivist theories, which have grown in importance and relevance since the 1960s, replacing the previous dominance of political realism. One of these newer schools – the Copenhagen school – sees a process of 'securitization' and 'politization' whereby a dominant actor – that is often a party leader or a minister – through a speech act convinces the majority of the need to embrace or reject a concept or action; crucially, the relevance of the act is defined in terms of its subsequent acceptance amon

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 8:28 AM, famulla wrote:

    The question - whether the EU is mature enough to have a common foreign policy - needs to be asked in the light of recent comments by Gernot Erler and, indeed, Sergei Lavrov.

    Erler, who is a member of the Social Democratic Party in Germany and a senior advisor on Russia relations to Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in January that the EU should review its Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy for the sake of better relations with Moscow.

    "We have to ensure there is no tension between the Eastern Partnership and the Russian Customs Union,” he noted.

    The idea was repeated by Russian foreign minister Lavrov at a press conference on Tuesday (18 February), shortly before an eruption of violence in Kiev, which saw police kill several people and storm the protesters’ “Maidan” camp after a two month siege.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 8:29 AM, famulla wrote:

    There could be some People who might disagree with what is written in this comment, but that is Reflection upon Themselves, rather than upon those who Respect Democratic Principles.

    There are Many People who are now thinking that because of Euro-America's Dirty Dealings in Ukraine, that the Anti Democratic European Union might have Bribed the Norwegian Nobel Committee to sell the European Union a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Euro-America is to blame for the situation in Ukraine, and it needs to be said that the Ukrainian Opposition Political Parties are More to Blame, because their Actions have also Proven to be Anti Democratic, and to be Controlled by Euro-America, and they should have told Foreigners not to disturb another Country's Constitutional Arrangements.

    There are Many People who think that if an Opposition acts Irresponsibly and in an Unfitting way as an Opposition, then they will also be Irresponsible and Unfit as a Government, and it is the Government who is now has the Unenviable task of restoring order in Ukraine, which was created by Euro-America with the collusion of Ukrainian Opposition Political Parties.

    There are Many People who think that the Ukrainian Opposition Political Parties should stay in Opposition, and learn how to be a Responsible Opposition in order to be able to go the next Election with credibility.

    There are Many People who think that the Opposition Political Parties should have said to the Euro-American Dictators, that Ukraine is a Constitutional Democracy, and Ukrainian Politicians and Ukrainian People will decide matters at Constitutionally Scheduled Elections, and not with Rioting in the streets.

    There are Many People who think that this was Always a matter for Ukraine to resolve using its Constitutional and Democratic Provisions. and that it was Never for Euro-America to Interfere in Ukraine, but to let Voters deicide matters at Constitutionally Scheduled Elections.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 8:41 AM, famulla wrote:

    Britain is facing a serious epidemic of sick leave. As many as 960,000 employees were on sick leave for a month or more each year on average between October 2010 and September 2013, the government revealed on Monday.

    More than 130 million days a year were lost to sickness absence in Great Britain, which has a substantial impact on workers, employers and taxpayers.

    Employees are facing a yearly bill of around £9 billion for sick pay and associated costs with individuals missing out on £4 billion a year in lost earnings.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 8:43 AM, famulla wrote:

    The arrogance of the English never ceases to amaze me. Take the comment from Roger Chapman, Keighley, West Yorkshire “If push comes to shove the UK will retain the ultimate sanction: a veto on Scotland’s membership of the EU. “ The signatory to the EU is the UK. If Scotland leaves the UK then the UK does not exist. England and Wales and Northern Ireland (until the Westminster Government can transfer it to Southern Ireland) will be in the same boat as Scotland as far as the EU is concerned. They will either be accepted as part of the EU or both will be told to go although I am not aware of any protocol that can force the exit of a country from the EU? Maybe Roger Chapman can enlighten everyone. And just to prolong the argument, Sterling is an asset of the UK and as the UK no longer exists, why is it assumed that England, Wales (and Northern Ireland) have sole rights to Sterling?

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 8:45 AM, famulla wrote:

    With much of the UK facing a red weather warning and with our politicians caught up in an appalling blame game over the floods, imagine instead if we faced a different kind of threat. Imagine if our Government received even the tiniest shred of evidence that the UK faced a significant terrorist threat from a foreign power. One that could threaten lives, homes, infrastructure and livelihoods. How would our rulers respond? What they wouldn’t be doing is indulging in the crass finger-pointing of the past week. Instead, you’d expect our representatives to rise to the occasion, for party leaders to show unity and leadership, and to get on with the task of mobilising the country, so that thousands of homes wouldn’t be at threat. Compare and contrast with how successive Governments have handled our national resilience to the threat of flooding and the worst effects of climate change. Indeed, a decade ago the then Government’s Chief Scientist, Sir David King, stated that climate change was a far greater threat to the world than terrorism. Yet our political classes have, for the most part, ignored the warnings as the evidence of risk mounts. It’s a tragedy that it has taken thousands of people to be displaced from their homes to get politicians talking about climate change again. Defra’s most recent Climate Change Risk Assessment projects that a million more people will be at significant flood risk by the 2020s, but instead of being prepared for climate change, efforts have fallen woefully short of what is needed to cope in a crisis. Our current administration has cut flood defence spending, excluded climate change from its flood insurance scheme and appointed a climate sceptic as Environment Secretary. It’s slashed staff working on climate adaptation at Defra from 38 officials down to just six, and is forcing the Environment Agency to make huge cuts to frontline staff that will inevitably impact on future flood responses.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2014, at 6:57 AM, famulla wrote:

    The relatively weak UK investment performance has translated into weak productivity growth, with observers like Chris Giles, economic editor of the Financial Times fretting about the UK’s “stagnation of productivity.” Labor productivity per hour worked in 2012 (OECD GDP figures adjusted for purchase power parity) was about twenty percent lower in Britain (48.5) than in France (59.5) or Germany (58.3). Eurostat data suggest the disparity is a bit narrower, but confirms that the gap has existed at least since the 1990s. And be mindful that the northern European figures are not distorted by finance that swells British productivity statistics. More competitive French and German firms can compete with British firms despite paying higher wages because their employee costs do not rise as fast as productivity growth. They out-invest British firms and are more productive, in part due to the efficiency bonus provided by the northern European corporate codetermination governance model.

    In short, it is difficult to conceive of a brighter future for the British workforce where employers are out-invested by competitors abroad whose productivity is already 20 percent or so better. Max Hastings summarized in 2011:

    “It has been an article of faith that the revolution wrought by Margaret Thatcher transformed a sclerotic, declining nation into a dynamic and robustly prosperous one. We decided that we manage our affairs better than our European partners do theirs. The events of the past 18 months suggest otherwise. Britain is emerging from the crisis weaker than other developed economies, and notably more vulnerable than Germany and France.”

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2014, at 7:00 AM, famulla wrote:

    HE HAS COME BACK In the midst of the phone-hacking scandal that shook news magnate Rupert Murdoch's empire in 2011, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered some friendly advice to a Murdoch executive, according to an email made public in a London court Tuesday.

    "It will pass," Blair allegedly told News International executive Rebekah Brooks, who is on trial for charges related to phone hacking. "Keep strong."

    The email was sent by Brooks to Murdoch's son James in July 2011, when the former News of the World editor was already embroiled in allegations that staff at some of Murdoch's British newspapers had hacked the phone lines of celebrities, politicians, and members of the British Royal Family, and bribed police officers to publish stories.

    Brooks' email claims that Blair had offered himself as an "unofficial adviser" to Brooks, Murdoch and his son James. Blair also allegedly urged Brooks to form an independent outside unit to investigate the allegations and produce a "Hutton-style report," referring to a judicial inquiry set up by Blair to investigate the build-up to Britain's involvement in the war in Iraq. The former Prime Minister also recommended Brooks take sleeping pills, the e-mail said. A spokesman for Blair said he was "simply giving informal advice" to Brooks.

    Blair's alleged suggestions to Brooks are at odds with public statements the former Prime Minister made just three days before thee alleged phone call, Reuters reports, when he lambasted the hacking scandal as "beyond disgusting."

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 8:16 AM, famulla wrote:

    The European Union agreed Thursday to impose sanctions on Ukrainian officials behind the deadly crackdown that has killed dozens of anti-government protestors this week. At an emergency meeting in Brussels, the 28-nation organization imposed travel bans and asset freezes on officials who are “responsible for violence and excessive force.” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt confirmed the sanctions on Twitter: At least 22 civilians died in clashes between protesters and government forces in Kiev on Thursday, and protest leaders say at least 70 have been killed. The renewed fighting quickly quelled hopes that a truce called Wednesday by President Viktor Yanukovych would hold. The United States is also considering sanctions against the Ukrainian government. President Barack Obama spoke out against the government'€™s violent response to the demonstrations on Wednesday.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2014, at 8:45 AM, famulla wrote:

    "We believe this is contrary to bankruptcy law and will result in costly litigation that will hamper the city's emergence from bankruptcy," said Steve Spencer, a financial adviser to bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co, regarding the uneven treatment of pensions and bonds in the plan.

    Lisa Washburn, a managing director at Municipal Market Advisors, said the cuts to the GO bonds are "greater than anything we've ever seen and that the market has ever anticipated."

    But Domenic Vonella, an analyst at Municipal Market Data, said the risk has been priced in to Detroit bonds. "That's why they'd been trading cents on the dollars," he said.

    Under the plan, bondholders and other unsecured creditors would potentially share in any increased revenue that results from Detroit's revitalization, according to the city.

    Detroit's water and sewer bonds, which Orr considered secured debt, would be replaced with new debt under the plan.

    A deal to end costly interest-rate hedges on $1.45 billion of pension debt was not included in the plan. But Orr told reporters that a third proposed resolution will be presented to the bankruptcy judge in the next few days that will have a significantly lower cost for Detroit than the first two deals the judge rejected.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2014, at 6:57 AM, famulla wrote:

    Ukraine crisis: 'Dangerous signs of separatism' Ukraine's interim President Olexander Turchynov has warned of the dangers of separatism following the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych. Many in Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions oppose his overthrow and the installation of a more European-leaning interim administration. Russia is also angry at the changes, but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow will not intervene. The formation of a unity government has been delayed until Thursday. Russian flag in Sevastopol, 25 February 2014 Many in people, such as here in Sevastopol, oppose the changes in Kiev Addressing parliament, Mr Turchynov said he would meet law enforcement agencies to discuss the risk of separatism in regions with large ethnic Russian populations. Separatism was a "serious threat", he said. Crimea and some pro-Russian areas in the east have seen protests against the overthrow of Mr Yanukovych, sparking fears of secession. The delay in announcing a unity government was to allow further consultations, Mr Turchynov said, adding that "a coalition of national faith must be elected". 'Unilateral advantages' Russia has been vehemently opposed to the changes in Ukraine, with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev saying on Monday that those behind the new administration had conducted an "armed mutiny". At a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Lavrov warned other states against seeking "unilateral advantages" in Ukraine, but said Russia's "policy of non-intervention" would continue. "It is dangerous and counter-productive to try to force on Ukraine a choice according to the principle of either being with us or against us," he said. Mr Lavrov added that "it is in our interest for Ukraine to be part of the broad European family" but against Russia's interest to "allow the radicals and nationalists who are clearly trying to take centre stage to prevail." It is still unclear where Mr Yanukovych is, but an arrest warrant has been issued. He was last reportedly seen on Sunday in Balaklava on the Crimean peninsula. Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said a criminal case had been opened against the ousted president and other officials over "mass murder of peaceful citizens"

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2014, at 7:03 AM, famulla wrote:

    Jamie Dimon, chief executive, and his management team are due to address shareholders for the first time since the bank agreed to a record $13bn settlement with the Department of Justice and regulators to resolve allegations of mortgage mis-selling. Despite two years of giant legal costs and fraught run-ins with regulators, the investor meeting comes at a time when the bank’s share price of $58.03 is close to a record high. Profitability at JPMorgan remains stronger than at competitors such as Bank of America and Citigroup but the bank is looking to find new savings, partly because of technology that allows greater automation of clerical functions in branches and partly because of a plunge in demand for mortgage refinancings. Rising interest rates have stifled demand, causing the biggest banks to cut tens of thousands of positions over the past two years. The additional cuts at JPMorgan are expected to number more than 2,000, evidence of the steep decline in demand even in the past 12 months. JPMorgan Chase is planning more job cuts in its mortgage business on top of the 13,000-15,000 positions already due to be slashed because of plunging demand for home loans. Several thousand more cuts are planned, according to people familiar with the matter, and could be announced at JPMorgan’s annual investor day on Tuesday. They are part of a new efficiency drive at the largest US bank by assets that also encompasses staffing branches with fewer employees.

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2014, at 9:03 AM, famulla wrote:

    DO we need politicians like these? I wonder “It’s as likely that I run, as I don’t run,” he said. ”I just haven’t made up my mind.”

    Biden’s appearance on The View was the final stop of a two-day media tour that saw him kick off Late Night with Seth Myers on Monday, allowing him to appear before two key electoral demographics: women and young voters. On the show, Biden was asked about his legacy as vice president, and offered up a list of projects he has spearheaded for the White House, including ending the Iraq War and running the stimulus.Biden added that his wife Jill would support a run for president, but that a lot can change in three years. “Three years is four lifetimes when it comes to a presidential campaign,” he said. He said his first priorities are to help elect Democrats this fall, and to be a successful vice president, noting both would help him in a potential run for the Oval Office.

    “I think my knowledge of foreign policy, my engagement of world leaders, my experience uniquely positions me to follow through on the agenda Barack and I have of bringing world peace that is real and substantive,” Biden said.

    The vice president also offered up a defense of the Affordable Care Act, saying a recent Congressional Budget Office report was a net positive for the law, despite Republican claims to the contrary.

    Biden presented The View hosts with gifts before the taping, and was rewarded by a kiss on the cheek from Barbara Walters.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 8:35 AM, aesajs wrote:

    Here's an affordable solution!

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2014, at 10:42 PM, lastchance2014 wrote:

    If we lead a life of few complications your plan could actually work. Life doesn't always swing like that. Who would have thought that I would find myself divorced with two small children and no father participation? I didn't think men really skipped out on their children. They do.

    So with one income and two children - your formula just doesn't work. If you pay rent, bills, food, clothing, sports participation, saving for college - there isn't much left for "savings" -

    I'm 52 - both my boys (18/23 ) have just gone off to college ( the older boy is in his junior year ) I am NOW buying my first house. I have not taken vacations, no designer clothes, no new cars - I've kept my blinders on and kept to the goal

    ( successfully raising two good men ) I think I've done that, lets hope. Hell yeah - I'm proud of myself - I put them first, took care of responsibilities, but potential relationships on the back burner and lived for them. I will work until I die (30 yr mortgage ) there is NO help for someone that works to the bone and makes enough money to survive. I've never claimed bankruptcy, no free lunch, no breaks on my mortgage, no financial aid for college - I worked too hard and too many hours and we qualify for nothing. I've probably made many mistakes and you Mr Buffett are one of my true idols - but you got this wrong. There is no road-map - Life surprises us even when we are good people and live within our means. Nobody knows when the storm is coming - it can wipe all your planning out in a fierce minute. In all due respect Warren - Your formula is a thing of the past when food costs were reasonable, the dream of a home was in reach, a college education was for everyone not just the wealthy and Disney Land wasn't $150 a ticket. It's a different time and a different world now.

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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