One of the most beneficial aspects of the information age is the unprecedented accessibility it provides to our era's most successful people. A hundred years ago, to get insight from an extremely successful person, you would have needed a personal introduction. Even then, you had no guarantee of learning what you really wanted to know.
Today, though, you can talk to them on Twitter, listen to their podcasts and read their blog posts -- essentially putting the thoughts and experiences of the world's most accomplished people at the your fingertips.
When it comes to personal finance, this means you can learn how to make and save money from billionaires. Here are five practical tips from some of the richest people in the world that will help improve your finances.
1. Ray Dalio says make sure you have a big enough safety net.
Billionaire author and founder of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, always advocates for a safety net. It's advice that I and millions of others have taken to heart.
"Ask yourself, 'How long can I get by on my savings without having any income? How many months or how many years of freedom and safety do I need?' And make sure that you have more than that," he told CNBC.
In a 2018 study, Northwestern Mutual found that finances were the leading cause of stress for adults (44 percent). Following Dalio's advice and building an adequate safety net will help alleviate this stress for you. As much as you might want to spend your income on the latest technology, the coolest clothes or expensive meals, making sure you have an emergency fund in place first will serve you in the long run.
How big should your safety net be? Most experts suggest having funds sufficient to pay for at least a few months of expenses will help free you from making crucial decisions, like what job to take next, based on financial need. Instead, you can make life choices based on your long-term goals, interests and desires.
2. Dalio says diversify your assets.
Dalio said on one of his LinkedIn posts that "diversifying well is the most important thing you need to do in order to invest well." It may seem obvious, but he makes a good point. After all, the belief in asset diversification is a common principle for a reason.
You'll be investing for your entire life, and diversifying your assets sets you up for long-term success. Dalio is worth over $18 billion; it's advice worth listening to.
3. Michael Bloomberg says stay patient.
As billionaire, presidential candidate, Bloomberg founder and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his address to the graduating class of Harvard Businss School this year, "What's important for your career is not your starting salary. It's your development and happiness. The cash will come later on."
It's easy for Bloomberg to make that point now, but it's still worth considering. It can be tempting to take jobs with high salaries or shiny signing bonuses, but for the long-term success of your career and finances, invest in yourself. Focus on building skills that add value and on doing work that makes you happy. The money will come when you're creating value at a sustainable rate for yourself.
4. Warren Buffett stays frugal.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffett, is worth over $84 billion, yet is notoriously careful with his money. Examples of his frugality are abundant, possibly none more noteworthy than the fact that he still lives in the house he bought for $31,500 in 1958 (about $280,000 in today's dollars). He reportedly said in a 2011 BBC interview "I'm happy there. I'd move if I thought I'd be happier someplace else."
The lesson here is that just because you have the freedom to spend, that doesn't mean that you need to -- or should.
Consumerism is seductive, especially in the digital age, where goods are just a few clicks away. Putting that money into investments and your long-run financial health instead will help you accumulate more wealth.
5. Buffett gives back.
Just this past July, Buffett announced he was donating $3.6B in Berkshire Hathaway shares to five charity organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Buffett has said, "Were we to use more than 1 percent of my claim checks [Berkshire Hathaway stock certificates] on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99 percent can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others."
Accumulating wealth is nice, but being pragmatic about where it's going and giving back to others is one of the most powerful actions you can take.