Entrepreneurs

Here's what Charlie Munger says all young people should know about choosing a career

Charlie Munger, left, and Warren Buffett
ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

Charlie Munger has had the kind of career people dream of. He's been Warren Buffett's right-hand man for the last 40 years, and is more formally known as vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

With a current net worth of $1.8 billion, Munger, 95, is a source of wisdom in business and investing, and he has some tips for young people just beginning their careers and starting their lives.

In the 2018 edition of "Poor Charlie's Almanack," a book of insight from Charlie Munger throughout his career, editor Peter Kaufman asked Munger what young people should look for in a career.

Munger responded with his three basic rules:

"Don't sell anything you wouldn't buy yourself"

During the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in 2017, Munger and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Buffett agreed that young people should pursue a career they love and believe in, rather than picking the job that pays the most.

"When you go out in the world, look for the job you would take if you didn't need the money," Buffett said. "You really want to think about what will make you feel good, when you get older, about your life, and you at least generally want to keep going in that direction."

"I've got some advice for the young," Munger added. "If you've got anything you really want to do, don't wait until you're 93."

"Don't work for anyone you don't respect and admire"

In addition to working in a field you truly feel passionate about, Munger highlights the importance of working with those you look up to.

After working with Buffett for more than 40 years, Munger still respects and admires him. He says one of the qualities he admires the most about Buffett is his ability to be a "lifelong learning machine." He attributes their success to Buffett's ability to learn.

"Without Warren Buffett being a learning machine — a continuous learning machine," Munger said in his 2007 University of Southern California commencement speech, "the [Berkshire Hathaway investment] record would have been absolutely impossible."

"Work only with people you enjoy"

Even after all this time, Munger and Buffett genuinely enjoy each other's company. Buffett said he and Munger have "never had an argument" in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box" in 2018.

Although the bond between Munger and Buffett could be seen as one in a million, Munger can truly say he spent his life working with someone he enjoyed and advises that others do the same.

When referencing his time with Buffett, Munger told "Poor Charlie's Almanack" editor Peter Kaufman: "I have been incredibly fortunate in my life."

Charles Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., left, and Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., attend a BYD Co. press event in China, on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010.
Nelson Ching | Getty Images

Munger also acknowledges life can be "brutally hard" in "Poor Charlie's Almanack" and offers three things he found helpful when times get tough:

"Have low expectations"

Munger gets through life day by day, step by step.

"Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts," Munger says in "Poor Charlie's Almanack."

Instead of living with high expectations and worrying about what will come next, Munger suggests you "slug it out one inch at a time, day-by-day, and at the end of the day — if you live long enough — like most people, you will get out of life what you deserve."

"Have a sense of humor"

Munger has kept a sense of humor while building Berkshire Hathaway with Warren Buffett, telling CNBC their partnership is "almost hilarious, it's been so much fun."

"We've had so much fun in our partnership over the years," Buffett added in the joint interview with Munger.

"Surround yourself with the love of friends and family"

Munger finds close friends and family to be very important.

"While no real money came down, my family gave me a good education and a marvelous example of how people should behave, and in the end that was more valuable than money," Munger told author Janet Lowe in her book "Damn Right!: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger."

"Being surrounded by the right values from the beginning is an immense treasure."

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