Capitalize on low interest rates

Buffett became one of the wealthiest people on the planet by capitalizing on opportunities. He has pointed to fantastic opportunities for borrowers in 2020, thanks to the Federal Reserve.

The Fed "did the right thing" by cutting a key interest rate almost to zero in response to the virus, Buffett says. Other rates have fallen like dominoes throughout the economy.

"This is a very good time to borrow money, which means it may not be such a great time to lend money, but it’s good for the country that it’s a good time to borrow money," he said during Berkshire Hathaway's online shareholders meeting earlier this year.

How you can be like Buffett: If you're a homebuyer or homeowner and have a solid credit score, grab one of today's all-time-low mortgage rates while you can.

At the moment you can find rates on new and refinance mortgages at 2.50% or lower, if you shop around and compare mortgage offers from multiple lenders.

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Keep your guard up

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Buffett said a 'megacatastrophe' was coming.

They don't call the Nebraska native the Oracle of Omaha for nothing. The multibillionaire told an interviewer last March: "I've always felt a pandemic would happen sometime."

In 2019, he warned his Berkshire shareholders in a letter that the world was due for a "megacatastrophe," some kind of "total surprise" that would dwarf the devastation from hurricanes Katrina and Michael.

Buffett wrote that the monster disaster would lead to massive losses for his company, which is big in insurance (it owns Geico and other insurers) — but Berkshire would be ready for business the next day, he said.

How you can be like Buffett: You, too, can be ready for whatever comes — by buying life insurance, to provide financial protection for your loved ones. Sales of policies for family breadwinners has spiked in 2020, amid deaths from COVID.

You can easily go online and find multiple life insurance offers tailored to your family’s needs and costing as little as $1 a day for $1 million in coverage.

Don't carry credit card balances

As layoffs have skyrocketed during the pandemic, some Americans have found themselves forced to pile on more credit card debt.

Turning to credit cards because of financial hardship is one thing, but Buffett says some people use plastic as "a piggy bank to be raided."

During the virtual shareholders meeting, he talked about a friend who came into a windfall and asked for advice on what to do with it. She also had credit card debt — at 18% interest.

"If I owed any money at 18%, the first thing I’d do with any money I had would be to pay it off," Buffett said he told her. "You can’t go through life borrowing money at those rates and be better off."

How you can be like Buffett: When credit card debt becomes overwhelming, experts say a good first step toward getting rid of it is to roll it into a debt consolidation loan.

You'll simplify your bills and slash yout interest costs, to help pay off the debt faster. Instead of 18%, you might find yourself paying as little as 5.95% APR.

Sign up for Credit Sesame and see everything your credit score can do for you, find the best interest rates, and save more money at every step of the way.

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Do your homework with stocks

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Buffett has gotten out of airline stocks because of COVID-19.

The coronavirus crisis is ravaging entire industries, including retail, restaurants and entertainment. Buffett decided the damage to one particular industry was more than he could bear as an investor.

"The airline business — and I may be wrong, and I hope I’m wrong — changed in a major way," he told his shareholders. That was how he explained why Berkshire sold off all the airline stocks it owned.

Buffett says people have been discouraged from flying, so "the world has changed for the airlines."

How you can be like Buffett: Investors who do their homework and make informed choices have been rewarded this year as the stock market has marched to new record highs.

A popular stock trading app helps you reduce your risk by diversifying your investments into exchange-traded funds and even fractional shares (pieces of individual stocks) — and you never have to pay any fees or commissions.

Stick to your long-term plan

Warren Buffett says he's confident the U.S. economy will bounce back from the COVID recession.

"Nothing can basically stop America," he said at the online meeting. "We haven’t really faced anything that quite resembles this problem, but we faced tougher problems. The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed, and it will do so again."

But he also said no one knows what's going to happen, so investors should brace themselves for a potentially long recovery. He says they'll get a "fine result" if they hold onto stocks long-term.

How you can be like Buffett: Financial planning services are more affordable and convenient than you might think, and can help you sit tight and stay focused with your investments.

Today, you can connect with a certified financial planner online and inexpensively, to keep you on track toward your long-term goals

Seek help if you need it

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BUNDITINAY / Shutterstock

Buffett says the coronavirus has thrust the U.S. into an "economic war," and many small businesses have become casualties.

"We’ve shut down a lot of people in this particular induced recession and others are prospering, and I think the country owes it to the really millions of small businesspeople," Buffett told CNBC in December..

He urged Congress to provide more help. A new COVID-19 rescue package coming together on Capitol Hill is expected to include more than $300 billion in business subsidies, including another round of "paycheck protection" loans to hard-hit businesses.

How you can be like Buffett: If you're a business owner or a family breadwinner in financial distress, look for sources of relief — and take advantage of what's out there.

That means, for example, if you've got federal student loan debt, wait until after January to start making payments again, once the current moratorium ends. Private loans can be refinanced at today's sharply reduced interest rates.

Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

Investing in art by the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol used to be an option only for the ultrarich. But with a new investing platform, you can invest in iconic artworks just like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman

Former Editor-in-Chief

Doug Whiteman was formerly the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNBC.com and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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