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Among the themes: Do your homework, know what you're doing, invest for the long-term. And try to enjoy, too

Quick Summary

Want to know how to reach retirement with enough money to live comfortably? One strategy is to consult some of the richest/most successful people in the world for financial advice. Many of them have offered their insights on what works and what doesn’t. Here are 20 of the best, along with a little explanation of the rationale behind the pithy words of wisdom.

A clock with the words Time to retire on the top. Introduction into the retirement quotes.

The Top 20 Retirement Quotes

1. “As in all successful ventures, the foundation of a good retirement is planning.” —Earl Nightingale, radio personality/motivational writer

Nightingale notes that retirement is similar to anything else: Success doesn’t come by accident. It involves planning and putting that plan into action in a disciplined way.

2. “Financial literacy is an issue that should command our attention because many Americans are not adequately organizing finances for their education, healthcare, and retirement.” —Ron Lewis, former U.S. Representative from Kentucky

The seven-term Congressman is concerned that too many people are ill-educated when it comes to their personal finances, making them unable to think strategically about their money and how to plan for long-term goals and needs.

3. “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No.1.” —Warren Buffett, business magnate and investor

Buffett, one of the richest men in the world and someone whose writings are the subject of college business classes, reminds investors that investing isn’t just about making money—it’s about avoiding loss by controlling risk. 

4. “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.” —Warren Buffett

Buffett has never been a fan of short-term trading, and most retirement experts agree that there’s no room for it in a retirement portfolio.

5. “If you are not willing to own a stock for 10 years, do not even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” —Warren Buffett

Do your investment accounts contain assets that you believe in? If not, Buffett believes that you shouldn’t hold them.

6. “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” —Warren Buffett

Understand your investments and your investment strategy—the plan for your portfolio. Don’t just embark on a course because “it’s what everyone’s doing.”

7. “Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic.” —Warren Buffett

See rule 4.

8. “Behind every stock is a company. Find out what it’s doing.” —Peter Lynch, former Fidelity mutual fund manager, and investor

A consistent theme among the investing greats is to know what you own. Be well-researched.

9. “In the long run, it’s not just how much money you make that will determine your future prosperity. It’s how much of that money you put to work by saving it and investing it.” —Peter Lynch

Earned income keeps you going in the present. Invested income secures your future, and is the key to having enough money for retirement.

10. “Go for a business that any idiot can run—because sooner or later, any idiot probably is going to run it.” —Peter Lynch

Another common theme among the pros is investing in businesses that you can understand. This makes it easier to know what you own.

11. “The best stock to buy is the one you already own.” —Peter Lynch

Any investment in your portfolio is one you should believe in. For that reason, you might consider putting the extra money to work in something you already own.

12. “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.” —Paul Samuelson, Nobel Prize-winning economist

For the average investor, making changes every day to your portfolio is not necessary and may even be detrimental to your long-term wealth.

13. “If investing is entertaining, if you’re having fun, you’re probably not making any money. Good investing is boring.” —George Soros, investor and philanthropist

Soros agrees with Samuelson: Don’t expect immediate results or dramatic moves in your portfolio.  Slow and steady wins the race.

14. “The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator.” —Benjamin Graham, economist, professor, and father of “value investing”

Another authority warning against short-term trading. Seems to be a theme among the greats, doesn’t it?

15. “The question isn’t at what age I want to retire, it’s at what income.” —George Foreman, former pro boxer, entrepreneur

Foreman reminds investors that age isn’t as important as having enough to live out your years comfortably.

16. “The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘This time it’s different.’—Sir John Templeton, banker, and fund manager

People in the finance field often have short memories, jumping on investment fads or convinced that the market will keep rising forever. The fundamental things apply, and the fundamentals don’t change. Investors saving for the long-term, in particular, need to remember that.

17. “Live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else.” —Dave Ramsey, personal finance author/radio show host

Ramsey, a big advocate of avoiding debt, suggests that sacrifices and frugal living now will yield the benefits of wealth in the future.

18. “Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.” —Paul Clitheroe,  financial analyst, advisor and publisher

Invest in education and experience that sets you up for a job you love that pays well. Earned income is the starter dough that makes your investment income loaf rise.

19. “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you and how many generations you keep it for.” —Robert Kiyosaki, author, and founder of the Rich Dad Company

Like Peter Lynch, Kiyosaki sounds the theme of investment income vs. earned income—and how you can’t do it on earned income alone.

20. The longer you work, the more money you’ll have for retirement. But the longer you work, the less time you’ll have to enjoy that retirement. —Anonymous

To end on a quote that provides a little perspective: Money isn’t everything—especially if you’re not around to reap its benefits.

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