Advice from Economists

Jim Rogers—co-founder of the Quantum Fund (with George Soros), economic commentator, guest professor of finance at Columbia University and author of A Gift to My Children—provided a short interview with the FT discussing his thoughts on making that first million, on travelling, and some general advice to the next generation.

What is the secret of your success?

As I was not smarter than most people, I was willing to work harder than most. I was prepared to examine conventional wisdom.

  • Do not underestimate the value of due diligence.
  • For [the next] generation, Mandarin and English will be the most important languages.
  • If you give children too much, you will ruin them. I want my children to be well-educated and experience the workplace. [On not passing much financial wealth to his children.]
  • Invest only in things you know something about. […] Stick to what [you] know and buy an investment in that area. That is how you get rich. You don’t get rich investing in things you know nothing about.

Further advice, this from Tyler Cowen:

I told [my stepdaughter] to take calculus and statistics; even if she hates them she’ll know what side of that divide she stands on.  I am encouraging of learning languages, driving modest Japanese cars, and ordering the most unappealing-sounding dish on the menu of a good restaurant.  On investing it’s buy and hold all the way.  Use TimeOut guides when you travel and when you are eating in third world countries avoid walls.  I’m not a big fan of debt; debt is worth it only if you’re earnings-obsessed and I don’t recommend that for most people.  Don’t expect to be too happy, that is counterproductive.  I’ve mentioned that future job descriptions may be quite fluid and unpredictable from today’s vantage point.  Being “good with people,” combined with smarts and a focus on execution, will never wear out.

As with all articles that dole out advice, there’s some gold in the comments.

Jim Rogers interview via Tim Coldwell