The true value in "investing like Buffett" may not be achieved by trying to replicate the Berkshire portfolio, but instead, emulating his investment philosophy. Don't just pick stocks; choose businesses with strong balance sheets, experienced management and a long-term horizon.
Read MoreTrying to improve your finances? Don't forget these
"The problem with many investors is they follow the herd mentality. When things are really looking dire is when you need to up your equity allocation, not when the market is overvalued," said Carolyn McClanahan, the founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida. She says now is the time when investors need to protect their assets while taking some risk with equities.
Like Buffett, McClanahan said thinking long term is the key to growth for many investors.
Yet, the problem for the average investor is that something often derails their long-term strategy. A new Bankrate survey found that one-third of Americans say they can't save more for retirement because they have just enough money for their day-to-day expenses.
Read MoreThese errors could be costing you money
In another survey of more than 2,000 Americans, TD Ameritrade found two-thirds of respondents had seen their long-term and retirement plans disrupted, most often due to a job loss or lower-paying job. The result: more than three-quarters of these "disrupted Americans" had to reduce their retirement savings by almost $300 a month on average. Before the disruption, they had been saving more than $500 a month on average.
It took those who are now back on track with their long-term retirement goals almost five years to get there, meaning they saved about $16,000 less than they otherwise would have.
So it's not just that investors aren't picking the right stocks; with less money being put away, many will have less opportunity to "invest like Buffett."