How often does one get the chance to get advice from a world-famous investor? Circa recently got an opportunity to sit down with legendary investor Jim Rogers at the 10th annual FreedomFest in Las Vegas. The investment guru was there to participate in multiple business advisory panels. Rogers will be the first to tell you that life, much like the business cycle, has its ups and downs.
What is your number one piece of advice for young people?
"What you do is you follow your own passions. Most people wind up doing what their parents say, or their friends, or what's trendy, or what their teachers say. If you want to be a gardener, your parents are gonna say 'What? a gardener?' And your friends are gonna laugh, and your professors are gonna say 'We didn't teach you all this to be a gardener.' So, it's better to be happy than to be rich because rich doesn't make you happy. Being happy makes you happy."
What is the first thing to know when investing?
"Please, please, please just don't invest until you yourself know what you want to invest. Don't listen to some guy on TV, in the newspaper, or on the internet. When things start going wrong you're gonna make mistakes and you're gonna lose a lot of money."
How do you handle losses?
It is usually best to take losses early. But eventually you just have to take the loss. And it's not fun. It's painful but I've had a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes in my life. You want to hear about my first wife? Oh my God, what a mistake that was!"
What have been the key factors to your success?
"The people who are most successful in life are the ones who never give up and just kept going. Early in my career I had enormous success. When everybody around me was collapsing and going bankrupt, I said 'This is really easy. I'm gonna be really, really rich!' Well, within five months I lost it all. And that was not fun. I had to start over. And I just kept persevering and somehow survived."
How do you get the highest return on investment from a college degree?
"You might think about getting it outside the U.S. because in the U.S. it's unbelievably expensive. The quality of education in the U.S. is not very good. So, go someplace where it's cheaper if you want a college degree."