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Money, investing and our future

By Dian Vujovich

With the oh-so boring Oscar’s behind us, it’s time to get back to the task of making money. Unlike the pre-Oscar winner’s expectations, there is little consensus about how to do that in the current market environment—-unless you’ve got plenty of cash.

Warren Buffett is hopeful and optimistic about the markets. From his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders he wrote:

“Commentators today often talk of ‘great uncertainty.’ But think back, for example, to December 6, 1941, October 18, 1987 and September 10, 2001,” Buffett wrote, referring to the days before the Pearl Harbor attack, a stock market crash and terrorist attacks in the U.S. “No matter how serene today may be, tomorrow is always uncertain. Don’t let that reality spook you.”

But the truth is, people do get spooked about the markets, whether the markets have been soaring as they have for the last nearly two years or going down as in the years prior to the recent climb. And, about the future. It’s something many are wired for—worry.

If you’re Buffett, however, there doesn’t seem a lot to be worried about. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, had over 38 billion in cash at the end of last year. Reports say he likes the company to have about 20 billion in cash available. Keeping a stash of the green stuff is something that affords his firm the opportunity to take advantage of buying opportunities in the markets when they arise.

Having cash is something he learned from his grandfather. And good advice for all of us whether it is in the coffers of the businesses we run or our personal lives— even if it’s a far cry from 20 billion and only one-thousand dollars as his grandpa suggested Buffett keep on hand.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that the future is always uncertain but it’s unlikely to be quite as scary to those with $5, $10 (or more) million available to them then to those un- and under-employed. Or, anyone struggling to keep up on with their monthly living expenses and nothing to little saved for the future.

Money, and the amount we have or don’t have, does make a difference in how we perceive the future. And, the market moves we make and don’t make.

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