I Spent a Day Living Like Billionaire Warren Buffett. Here’s What Happened.

Warren Buffett didn’t become the fourth-wealthiest person in the world by taking impetuous risks — and he’s nothing if not consistent.

He stops by the same McDonald’s breakfast every morning, according to reports and interviews. He spends 80 percent of his workday doing the same thing: reading. He plays bridge most days after work. And he sticks with the same bedtime.

Related: Why Does Warren Buffett Always Pay In Cash?

Comparatively, my everyday life as a twentysomething journalist living in New York is decidedly lacking in routine. I don’t even take the same train to work every morning (you may have heard gripes about the city’s unreliable subway system), my workdays vary greatly depending on the piece I’m working on (like this one), and as much as I might try, I never go to bed at the same time (sorry, mom).

So when I decided to spend a day living like the billionaire investor, I knew it’d be a challenge.
Wake and make money

The first momentous task: waking up at 6:45 a.m. Listen, I’m a gym-after-work kind of person — plus the night before I started this challenge, I’d stayed up until 1:30 a.m. with a friend watching the new Netflix reality show Love Is Blind. To wit, I hit snooze a couple of times. (Don’t blame me — blame the show’s “villain” for her antics!)

Buffett reportedly arrives at work around 9:30 a.m. when the markets open. I usually get in earlier than that, so I had a lot of time to kill. I puttered around my apartment a bit and found a list of songs he’s referenced in the past to get me fired up on my commute.

Related: Warren Buffett’s 3 Top Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs

Buffett famously pays for most things in cash. (He told Yahoo! Finance, “It’s just easier.”) Conversely, I usually avoid carrying it at all costs (since it’s not reflected in my bank balance, it feels to me like Monopoly money). But today was different: I was no run-of-the-mill millennial — I was worth over $86 billion! So what could be more natural than paying in exact change? I rooted through my jar of loose coins and counted out a selection of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies to prepare me for my McDonald’s visit.

En route to recreate Buffett’s famous breakfast habit, I listened to a George Jones song he references in Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition criteria: “A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: ‘When the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.'”
My McBillions

Every day, Buffett makes the five-minute drive to McDonald’s and orders one of three items: two sausage patties, a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich or a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. He decides which based on how prosperous he’s feeling, so that morning he’ll tell his wife the corresponding meal price ($2.61, $2.95 or $3.17), and she’ll put that amount in his car. If Buffett orders two sausage patties, he’s feeling down on his luck. On a good day, he’ll splurge on a bacon, egg and cheese.

I opened the door of McDonald’s with my plastic bag of coins in hand and was immediately faced with a problem: As a vegan (insufferable, I know), I only had one real option under $3.17. The markets were heading into correction territory as part of the indexes’ worst week since the financial crisis, so I undercut even Buffett’s cheapest order, going with a single hashbrown at $1.95. (Good thing I didn’t go to a Manhattan McDonald’s, or almost nothing would’ve been in Buffett’s price range.) I painstakingly counted out some quarters and dimes (it’s been a while since I did math) and went outside to photograph the bag for the story. In typical New York fashion, a guy on a scooter mockingly yelled, “Ooh, she’s got fresh McDonald’s!” (To be honest, I deserved it for looking like I was Instagramming my breakfast.)

I rolled into work just as the markets opened, timed perfectly because I trusted the MTA subway system would fail me as usual. Buffett famously drinks five cans of Coca-Cola every day, so my coworker Matt bought my first, and I paid him back with six quarters.

Related: Warren Buffett Has No Plans to Retire as Berkshire Hathaway CEO

Buffett has been known to treat his friend Bill Gates to McDonald’s for lunch, so I tapped the most natural replacement: my boss, Dan Bova (suckup alert!). The midtown Manhattan lunch rush meant we had to try two different McDonald’s locations before ordering our copious amounts of fries. It was an unexpected bonding experience for us to eat food together that typically served as a hangover cure. At this point, the Coca-Cola was starting to make me a little nauseous. Definitely wasn’t going to make it to five cans.
Mental pushups and ukuleles

I set aside part of the afternoon to simply sit and read, emulating the man who spends as much as 80 percent of his workday doing the same. He once reportedly said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” Buffett says the amount of time he spends reading and thinking helps him avoid impulse decisions in business. Interestingly enough, it resulted in me not experiencing the usual 2:00 p.m. crash, and I felt energized to think more creatively after giving my mind an outlet. I’ll definitely be exploring this further as an afternoon coffee alternative.

One of many differences between Buffett and myself: He successfully learned to play the ukulele in college, while I still haven’t learned to play one chord using the one I acquired in my junior year. The dusty instrument finally had its moment in the sun, though, when I tried to recreate Buffett’s 65-plus years of experience and “serenaded” my coworkers. (They grimaced and clapped politely.)

My attempt at bridge, which Buffett reportedly plays for as much as eight hours a week, went similarly (and ended up with me perusing Bridge for Dummies online). Buffett told The Washington Post: “It’s a game you can enjoy when you are in your 90s, and you are seeing a different intellectual challenge every seven minutes. It’s the best exercise there is for the brain.”
Dining for dollars

After work, I went to dinner with a friend who also used to be a personal finance journalist. (If I’m Warren Buffett for the day, the dinner conversation had better revolve primarily around investing, money and long-term goals.)

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s approach to investing is just as steady as his daily routine: He’s a staunch believer in a long-term strategy that follows the market and minimizes investment fees, as well as a proponent of value-based investing: seeking out easy-to-analyze companies that demonstrate strong long-term growth potential. Buffett actively advises against trying to “beat the market” or placing trust in an actively managed fund.

At dinner, my friend and I talked about building up our emergency funds, amping up investments, paying down high-interest debt and how money dynamics affect relationships. It felt good to talk about our long-term goals and where we saw our money taking us five or 10 years down the line — especially since we’re beginning to be able to act on the advice we used to give people for a living.
Closing the books on Buffett

On my commute home, I listened to another of Buffett’s most-referenced songs, “Some Enchanted Evening,” with his favorite kind of milkshake in hand (strawberry). I ran the last few blocks to my apartment to make it into bed by his famous 10:45 p.m. lights-out time (usually I’m a past-midnight kind of girl), slept soundly and woke up feeling energized and ready to take on another day.

My last task as Buffett carried over into day two: Stopping by his boxed chocolate company, See’s Candies, in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. I picked up his favorites: peanut brittle and chocolate walnut fudge (which can sometimes be seen alongside him in company meetings). And of course, I paid with my remaining handful of change.

Twenty-four hours as Warren Buffett may have taken a physical toll — I’m nowhere near becoming a McDonald’s regular, and even as an Atlanta native, I’m far from his level on Coca-Cola consumption. Mentally, though, I felt energized and rejuvenated after giving my mind the space to be creative (via my afternoon reading break) and the rest it required (the wonders of eight hours of sleep!). As for Buffett’s money mindset? Although I may never get used to carrying cash, applying his future-minded outlook to the market dip kept me calm.

Investing aside, using Buffett’s long-term lens to look at life seems like a healthy way to see past hills and valleys, cut out the noise and focus on what’s really important. And, of course, a strawberry milkshake in hand doesn’t hurt.

The 1 Reason You Should Never Buy Individual Stocks

About 20 years ago, I bought some shares of a publicly held company. I will never do so again. Said company, which is still around, sells handheld point-of-sale scanners. They were a “hot pick” back then and caught my attention because of a few very positive articles. I’d never dabbled in individual stocks before, preferring instead to put my money into mutual funds, but this opportunity seemed too enticing to miss.

This was a tech company. My company is a tech company! It sells to mostly small- and medium-sized customers. My company sells to mostly small- and medium-sized customers! I know these guys! They’re loved by the same experts that I love. Most importantly, the people in the know say this company was poised for success. Why not get in on the ground floor?

Related: The Right (and Wrong) Times to Sell Your Long-Held Stock (Video)

I did my due diligence too. I’m not just some rube that just fell of the turnip truck. I’m a Certified Public Accountant, thank you very much. I researched the company’s financials. I read their Security and Exchange Commission Filings. I pored over analyst reports. I crunched the ratios. All the indicators were a go. No red flags. No reasons to be overly concerned. So I coughed up about $10,000 and bought the company’s stock. So what happened?

Well, nothing. At least not for about six months. I set up news alerts about the company and kept up to date on their goings on, but the stock wavered only a little. It was boring, but stable. Until, that is, one Wednesday in mid-July. That was the day things fell apart. On that day, the company released their second-quarter earnings, which were consistent with expectations. Unfortunately, the company also did something else. It told analysts that, due to supply issues affecting the manufacturing of their point-of-sale devices, their forecasted sales for the third quarter were going to come in significantly lower than expectations. All of this happened while I was meeting with a client. So by the time I received the information and was even able to take action, the stock of this volatile young company had dropped more than 40 percent. Forty percent! By the time I sold my shares in a panic, I had lost $4,000 — all in the space of two hours.

I, the individual investor, got slammed. Of course the bigger, institutional and preferred investors in the company got out much earlier. Ultimately, the experience taught me something: I shouldn’t be doing this. And why? Because I’m not a stock investor. I run a company that sells technology services. Investing is not my job. Implementing software for my clients is my job. If being an individual investor was my job, then I would have an infrastructure for keeping tabs on my investments all day. I would have a process to take action the moment one of my investments were in play. I, like the analysts and professional investors who also had money in the point-of-sale company, would be attending their shareholder meetings, joining in on their conference calls and building relationships with management. I would be in the know.

But I wasn’t in the know. I was in a meeting. I was in the midst of running my own business. I don’t have the time to worry how the people at the point-of-sale company were running theirs. Being a successful investor is a profession in itself. The people who do this successfully are just like I am — they are business owners. They wouldn’t install the software I sell on their own because they know it’s not their expertise. Just like I shouldn’t be doing what they do because it’s not my expertise. Sure, maybe they’ll get lucky and succeed doing what I do, just like I could get lucky and succeed doing what they do, but the odds are stacked against us both.

Related: How to Make Money on the Stock Market

That’s the reason why I would never buy an individual stock again. I’ve put my money into mutual funds. Sure, the returns may be lower and there are fees, but I’ve learned that running a successful small business is all about doing what we do best and letting others do what they do best.

By the way, that point-of-sale company not only recovered, but prospered. The shares I bought would’ve tripled in value. That’s OK though, because things could’ve just as easily gone the other way. What do I know, right? I don’t do this stuff for a living.

COMO Group Builds Empathetic And Genuine Relationship With Guests

Oliver Jolivet has spent over two decades of his career in the business of luxury. Attributing his uncompromising stance on brand building to his French heritage and background, Jolivet believes time and authenticity play big roles in delivering a well-positioned luxury experience in the hospitality market.

Stepping into his role as the chief executive officer of COMO Group, Jolivet pushes the status quo with exclusivity and novelty in experiences. Under his wing, COMO Group—which owns COMO Hotels and Resorts—recently welcomed the brand’s first property in Italy; the COMO Castello Del Nero, a 12-century castle with medieval frescoes spanning 740-acres set in Tuscany. COMO Group features hotels, from the Maldives to Miami, with each stay driving values of sustainability, wellness and understated luxury. Extending beyond hospitality, COMO’s brand equity has grown to become a lifestyle aggregator of sorts—with COMO Lifestyle, Cuisine, Fashion and the Shambhala wellness business. Underpinning these complementary lifestyle concepts is the vision to grant loyal members with privileges and rewards across the brand with membership cards.

At the heart of it all, Jolivet carries the brand further through empathetic and genuine relationship building with the people who matter the most—the guests.

COMO’s uniqueness, according to Jolivet, is that “everything is tailor-made for you and only you. The difference between a good hotel and an excellent hotel is the service. In the end, it is all about our people.”

According to him, people pay a premium for something they will remember, for something they enjoy and there is a big difference between a commodity business and selling a luxury experience and it is not always scalable.

On being asked that how does COMO Group retain premium clientele, he says, “Recognition, recognition and recognition. It means your attention to details must be the best.”

The Group has exciting plans for 2020 such as new destinations and new experiences like the film photography retreat in Bhutan in partnership with award-winning photographer Michael Turek and Natural World Safaris; the launch of COMO Club, a brand new recognition programme combining all COMO businesses (hospitality, wellness, fashion, lifestyle and sport), and a new product line for COMO Shambhala, the award-winning wellness concept.

COMO and its businesses are unique in the luxury landscape, says Jolivet. “Since its inception, shareholders stayed the same, which provides stability to the organisation and the opportunity to think long term. It is a massive competitive advantage especially when recruiting the right talents.”

He adds that resilience, innovation skills and intensity are the personal attributes that he looks for while picking people for key leadership roles within COMO Group’s hotels. “We are lucky to have an important pull factor and 80 per cent of our recruitment is coming from CVs directly received from candidates.”

When it comes to identifying new locations for COMO Group’s hotels or other assets, Jolivet looks at the soul first. “Though it’s difficult to say. For a hotel the location is important, you can always build around the content. For an e-business it will be its disruption factor as well as its short-term potential. For a sports business, it will be its ability to attract new talent.”

The Group has a clear talent retention programme as well as consistent training at all levels. The staff turnover is the lowest, he says. “Our employees must feel good and this is always a priority for me. We are aiming to accelerate in this direction to create a real competitive edge.”

Among the COMO Group’s Dempsey Hill restaurants, Jolivet’s favourite is COMO Cuisine for their Tandoori Cauliflower.

In light of new developments—including a loyalty programme through the COMO Club set to occur this 2020—Jolivet narrows down the point of difference that elevates and keeps the brand in its pristine level, a focus on creating unique, luxury experiences for its guests. With the understanding that experience-driven and authentic stays are key differentiators in the hospitality market, COMO Group builds concepts around the location and the story it tells.

By aggregating lifestyle experiences across a proliferation of touch points, COMO delivers heightened exclusivity and quality. Inspired by the destination, the brand combines its intuitive and personalised approach to hospitality with their other services—fashion, elegant cuisine, award-winning wellness retreats

Helming the COMO Group, Jolivet considers high resilience and an innovative mindset key to nurturing the competitive advantage that is necessary to keep the brand growing as a lifestyle aggregator while adding more business activities to it.