Sound Advice from a Financial Sage, Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is one of wealthiest people in the world, with a net-worth of just over $72 billion. When he gives advice on investment, people tend to listen. So what is the number one thing Warren Buffet believes you should invest in?

The answer: you.

As Buffett puts it, “Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.”

But what does that mean? Aren’t we all invested, inherently, in ourselves? According to Buffet, it comes down to a few important aspects.

Look after the wellbeing of your body and mind.

“You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just like the car would be.” — Warren Buffett

Both your body and mind require regular maintenance. You need to challenge them when they’re getting lazy and take care of them when they’re feeling under the weather. You need to give them the nutrients and sleep they need to function, and you need to see a doctor when they seem to be out of whack.

For your body: make sure you get regular exercise. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. Or you can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

For your mind: make sure you stay sharp, even as you age. Studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia with a few basic good health habits like staying physically active, getting enough sleep, not smoking, having good social connections, limiting alcohol to one drink a day, and eating a balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats. If you have certain health conditions that can impair cognitive skills (including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, depression, hypothyroidism, and high LDL cholesterol), you can help protect your memory by following your doctor’s advice carefully.

Cultivate positive habits and daily routines.

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” — Warren Buffett

It’s never too late to create a good habit or change a bad one. Nurturing the right habits – whether that’s going for a walk every day or sitting up straight at your desk – at first seems tedious, but with repetition becomes automatic. Choose positive behaviors that you can leverage to move your life and career in the direction you want.

Trying to change every bad habit you have or introduce a bunch of good ones all at once won’t work, so start small. Pick one habit you can start doing today, and do it: today, tomorrow, etc.

Never stop learning.

The Vice Chairman of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, Charlie Munger, once said this about his colleague:

“Warren Buffett has become one hell of a lot better investor since the day I met him, and so have I. If we had been frozen at any given stage, with the knowledge we had, the record would have been much worse than it is. So the game is to keep learning, and I don’t think people are going to keep learning who don’t like the learning process.”

Just because school is over doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be constantly challenging yourself to learn more about the things you’re passionate about and the industry you’re in. Attend conferences, take online courses, set up time to talk with people you admire, find and/or be a mentor, and don’t forget to read.

Surround yourself with excellence.

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” — Warren Buffett

Who you spend time with influences the person you become, whether that’s by providing opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have or by holding you back from something you would otherwise pursue. Be selective about who you put your time and energy into because it has the potential to come back, in positive and negative ways, to you.

Whenever you’re meeting new people, ask yourself: Are they making you a better person? Do they support your dreams and goals? Do you feel better when they’re around? If the answer is no to the majority of these questions, it might be worth considering putting a little distance between you and that relationship.

This is easier said than done, especially when it comes to family members or coworkers, but you have to mitigate negativity in your life or it will have the power to bring you down with it.

Spend time getting to know yourself.

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” — Warren Buffett

If you want to get to the end of life and truly be happy with how you’ve spent your time, it’s important that you know yourself in a deep and meaningful way, first. Ask yourself questions, get to know yourself through journaling, try new things with an open mind and see what your reaction is. Unless you really know what and why things make you tick, it’s going to be hard to push yourself to be the best version of who you can be.

Do what you love to do.

“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?” — Warren Buffett

It’s important to be aware of your own financial responsibilities, family obligations, and the realities that come along with the logistics of day-to-day life, but it’s equally as important not to waste the time you are given here because you will never get that back. You get one life. Spend as much of it as you can doing things that you love.

If you follow Warren Buffett’s advice and invest in yourself starting right now, you will see positive returns. And if there’s one thing in this life that you shouldn’t doubt, it’s investment advice from Warren Buffett.

9 Commercial Real Estate Terms you Must Learn

US News and World Report’s Kristin McFarland recently released an article highlighting how real estate could prove to be a better investment than your typical investment in the stock market. Given the intense volatility in the world’s stock markets this past week, these words ring truer than ever. McFarland notes that you should do loads of research to ensure that the prospective property is right for you. If done right, investing in real estate can prove to be a fantastic choice. To make sure that you are making an informed decision, you will want to be well-versed in the vernacular of commercial real estate. Here are nine terms you should know before you invest.

  1. Real EState BrokerReal Estate Broker: These are agents boasting expertise in the process of leasing. These brokers  should be licensed by the state and help guide your party through each component of the lease transaction. 
  2. Usable Square Footage: This refers to the square footage, as agreed to by the lease, that will be occupied or utilized by just the tenant. This includes the area for storage, bedrooms, private restrooms. Don’t confuse this with Rentable Square Footage which accounts for the area to be exclusively used by the tenant, as well as a portion of the common space. 
  3. Gross Lease: In a Gross Lease, the tenant is expected to cover a flat price that covers landlord-paid expenses. Such expenses include property maintenance, taxes, insurance, utilities, and more With this type of lease, it is much easier for the tenant to predict their future expenditures as their rent remains constant. 
  4. Net Lease: Contrary to the Gross variety, with a Net Lease tenants are expected to cover operating costs including, but not limited to, utilities, maintenance, and more. 
  5. Common Area Maintenance: This refers to the extra rent that is paid to cover the maintenance of common areas that are shared by the property’s tenants. Depending on the location of your property, this can include the cost of snow-maintenance, insurance, landscaping, lighting, and more.
  6. Letter of Intent:  Occurring between the landlord and tenant, this refers to the initial agreement between to move the subsequent phase of the negotiation. While informal, you should certainly speak to a lawyer before signing a letter of intent.
  7. Escalation Clause: Expenses paid by the landlord such as taxes, insurance or maintenance often changes from month to month. The Escalation Clause allows landlords to increase future rent payments due to an increase in these aforementioned expenses. 
  8. Full-Service Rent: As suggested by the name, full-service rent covers taxes and operating expenses for the initial year of the agreement. It should be noted that the tenant is often responsible for an expansion in operating costs beyond the base year number. 
  9. Non-Compete Clause: This forbids a landlord from entering into a lease agreement for a property on the same development with a tenant’s direct competitor. This clause is often included by the request of a tenant to ensure the safety of their long-term investment and is most commonly found with tenants that are dependent on walk-in traffic.

Comcast Bets Heavily on Theme Parks

When Comcast acquired NBC Universal some years ago, many believed that the chain of Universal theme parks would be deemed expendable and quickly be sold off. However, these speculations proved to be unfounded when Comcast spent upwards of a hundred million dollars to construct a “Transformers” ride in the Orlando park. Brooks Barnes from the New York Times points out how this move was not enough to satisfy some of the most stubborn skeptics. Comcast, however, recently reaffirmed their stance as they have announced they are planning to inject billions in their Orlando and California theme parks. Furthermore, they are opening more attractions and resort hotels as they view these parks as robust revenue drivers.

These announcements come as no surprise to some experts who have kept a close eye on the skyrocketing attendance number in recent years. In 2014 alone, attendance spiked more than 10.4 percent engendering about 40 million turnstile clicks. This growth hasn’t stagnated this year as the operating cash flow has increased nearly 50 percent compared to last year reaching the $600 million mark.

Stephen B. Burke, who presently serves as the CEO of NBC Universal and Senior Vice President of Comcast, reiterated the company’s position in a conference calls with analysts last month. They see this sector as a viable driver of growth for the next decade or two.

Many are wondering if Comcast is acting too swiftly, ignoring longstanding issues that have continually plagued the industry. Regardless, the speed and immensity of their undertaking is difficult to dispute. Upon exploring the 800-acre plot of Universal Orlando, you will encounter a slew of ongoing construction sites. Four cranes are in position being used in the construction of a brand new watermark, Volcano Bay. Less than a quarter mile away stands six more idle cranes waiting to be used for another project. Plans for the 1000 room hotel Sapphire Falls that will occupy a chunk of the Orlando plot were recently released. Comcast executives are hoping that this hotel, which will cost upwards of a quarter billion dollars to construct, will help fortify Universal’s conference business.

Sapphire Falls represents only a small portion of the hotel rooms they are planning to add in the coming years. Universal is hoping to more than double the number of on-site rooms to a number of 10,000 or so. Over the course of the last two years, a number of new attractions and rides have been created including those with Despicable Me, Harry Potter, and Transformers themes. The aforementioned expansions and construction relate only to the Florida location. The park on the other side of the nation in California is also currently undergoing an expansion costing upwards of $1.5 billion. Universal is also in the midst of constructing a Beijing-based theme park that is slated to open in 2019.

Some experts believe that these parks are particularly vulnerable during economic lulls. For the time being, however, Universal theme parks were actually brought in more profit than did the broadcast television and movie sector of the company. Only time will tell if Comcast’s heavy investments pay off.