By Hayes Knight – 16 July 2012

The following article recently appeared in the National Business Review referring to some simple lessons from the world’s most successful investor boiled down for youth

As accountants our fundamental role is to help improve lives via better financial understanding. This is a core part of our raison d’etre at Hayes Knight.  As educated individuals we also know that the earlier that financial education and good habits begin, the more financially successful people will be.

The following article recently appeared in the National Business Review referring to some simple lessons from the world’s most successful investor boiled down for youth (albeit that many of the “not so young” would also do well to take heed of these good habits!)  Any of us can improve our habits and help others to adopt good habits if we try.  As the saying goes; The trick is to get wise before you get old!

It takes only $5 to break the ‘cycle of poverty’

I felt devastated by the trauma borne by retirees. They had done all the right things, worked hard, saved money and invested their money. Only to see their nest egg vaporise with one poor investment decision.

For two years I kept asking myself the question, “What can I do about it?” Finally I concluded nothing! There was nothing I could do to help the victims of the financial crisis. But I could teach their grandchildren about the habits of Warren Buffett, known as the “Oracle of Omaha.”

So how do you get approval from the world’s most successful investor, to use his intellectual property? I have a vivid re-collection of the synchronized series of events that lead to meeting with Buffett.

When I attended the Berkshire Hathaway meeting in 2010 I was lucky enough to be one of the 20 something shareholders to ask Buffett a question (around 40,000 people attended the meeting).

Being able to ask a question is a privilege. Lunch with Warren Buffett cost the highest bidder $3,456,789 in a charity auction run by the Glide Foundation, which helps the homeless in San Francisco.

Buffett was asked? 100 years from today what do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? “Old age,” Buffett chuckled and everyone laughed. But in a more serious tone of voice he said, “A teacher. Once a month students come to my office, it’s my favourite, I really enjoy that.”

Let’s think about the “cycle of poverty” for a minute.

  1. What’s the problem? Financial literacy is not taught in schools. “Investors vaporised $6.8 billion in finance companies in New Zealand.”
  2. How can we fix the problem? Share stories like the Tale of Tortoise Buffett in school. “Education is the enemy of poverty.
  3. When can we start? By helping the Duffy Books in Homes scheme distribute 200,000 copies of a book and action planner.

Duffy Books in Homes general manager Linda Vagana says, “Money matters were relevant all over the country and the book would be a great tool to offer pupils.”

Lucas Remmerswaal is sharing stories with children that will help to break the cycle of poverty. This year, he rode his father’s 40-year-old Raleigh three-speed cycle from Cape Reinga to the Bluff and in 58 days visited 75 schools to promote his books.

Following this link you can download Lucas’s books for free.