Berkshire Meeting 2019

I should have paid more attention on what my vote meant.

I’ve lived in Omaha my entire life and this is the first time I’ve gone to the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting. I’ve never felt the pull to go until now. I woke up early, slammed a coffee and ate half a donut en route, security confiscated my other half when I arrived. I happily found no lines which were reassuring that I would make it into the arena for the 8:30 video. I skipped in at 8:32 am thinking I was on time. I was blissfully unaware that people had started lining up at 3 am. So shockingly, there were no seats in the arena. I ended up in a satellite room that reminded me of a church’s cry room. I watched the video that made me feel inspired, thirsty for a coke and encouraged to go buy stuff. (So many feelings.) Then Charlies and Warren came out and answered questions that were submitted as well as live ones from the shareholders. I loved it. My favorite answers were the “living your best life” kind but I also enjoyed trying to understand some of the market questions.

My life has never been optimized by my investing strategy, it’s always been optimized by my frugality which is why I think I’ve never wanted to go to a shareholder meeting before. I’ve been a hardcore saver my entire life. My mom impressed this value on me. I remember asking my mom in my early 20’s how to invest. She said she couldn’t help me because she only knew where an old person should put their money not someone young like me. When I inquired further I realized that she would meet with an advisor and nod at everything he said and that’s it. Money invested. Looking at my own investing behavior, I also behaved similarly. I would typically do anything an old dude in a suit told me to do with my money. I’ve only had full control of my investment choices for the last 2-3 years. I now try to thoughtfully pick each fund on my own accord. This was a hard leap for me because I felt very unprepared to be 100% accountable for what my money did.

I met another financially driven nurse at Berkshire this year. She started investing at age 12 on her own accord. I had the opportunity in 7th grade to learn about investing where we all picked a stock and monitored it throughout the year to learn about investing it never stuck. My thrill with saving never drifted into the thrill of creating money while I slept. The risk felt too visceral as a 12-year-old. It was fulfilling to meet another like-minded nurse. I’m starting to feel like financially driven nurses are unicorns in a forest full of nurses who want someone else to figure out their finances. This is not a criticism, we only have so much bandwidth and where we focus it is unique to each one of us. I’ve noticed that nurses focus most of their energy and time as caregivers at work and home and tend to push money to the bottom of their priority list.

Lynn, the nurse I met has already retired at age 39 on a nurse’s salary while her husband stays home with the kids. This information took me to a whole new level of awe. I feel like I am very deliberate with how my husband and I manage our finances yet I still felt this desire to ask “how did you do it.” Deep down I know the formula, spend less money than you make and invest it. It sounds so simple but we all know it’s so much more complicated than that in real time, living our day to day. She is working with people that also want to retire early at www.nursenumbers.com

Warren mentioned the importance of doing things that bring your family happiness instead of saving every dime. This rings true for my current lifestyle where we are trying to save as much as we can while still splurging on fun experiences with our small kids.

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