To the editor:
Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world. Most people young and old already know that. He has been at the top for about 20 years now.
I think Jeff Bezos of Amazon holds the top position, and Bill Gates is right up there, too. The stock market can influence this list in a matter of just weeks. In any case, Warren Buffett made his money through investing-just investing, while Mr. Bezos and Mr. Gates made their money through founding extremely valuable companies. So it is understandable why so many seek Mr Buffet?s investment advice.
He keeps it very simple. He says you must understand compound interest first before you develop an investment strategy. Now, Mr. Buffet is clearly a genius but he is saying you don?t have to be a genius to earn a lot of money; you need to be patient, thorough and prudent.
Here is an example. Most 4-year college educations cost around $80,000. Ivy League colleges cost a lot more; state colleges less so. This is an average amount for a good, competitive college education. Eighty-thousand dollars at 18 years old with 5.2 percent interest compounded daily would amount to about $718,000 in 45 years, so the 18-year-old has $718,000 to put toward their retirement. At 9 percent interest, $80,000 would get you about $4 million at age 63, at 11 percent interest it would yield about $9 million, and at 17 percent - not an unreasonable rate if you invest wisely in the stock market - a return of $93 million.
Ninety-three million dollars is still likely to be a lot of money - even in 45 years. Is this an argument against going to college? No, but it is a way of helping children gain the perspective that Mr. Buffett had at a very young age. Learning the principles of personal finance and wise investing in your school years can make a huge difference later in life when it really counts.
Mr. Buffett is a very generous and good-hearted man. He is giving away most of his fortune and encouraging other billionaires to do so as well. His example is a valuable one. Not because he is rich but because he is a man of integrity and good will who knows the value of money.
He was once asked to help with a campaign for Governor of California. California had and still has enormous deficits. Early in the campaign, he mentioned that he has two homes - one in Omaha, Nebraska, and one in Los Angeles, California. He mentioned that he pays higher property taxes in Omaha - a lot more than in California. And real estate in California is far more expensive than in Nebraska. Of course, he was suggesting that they raise property taxes in California which is the third rail of American politics, so he was quietly asked to leave the campaign.
A short time later in an interview, he mentioned that his secretary pays more taxes than he does. And pays at a higher rate, too. How could that be possible? He knows more than a little about what is wrong in America. And he is not quiet about it.
We should never resent the very wealthy - not if they earned their money honestly. We should try to learn from them. Warren Buffet is a good role model and a true American Hero.
? Jim Turner, Fairfield