What did Warren Buffett’s phrase about cheap people mean?

The great investor Warren Buffett once said an interesting phrase that quickly became famous:

“The honesty is a very expensive gift. You shouldn’t expect it from cheap people”.

Everything is clear with honesty. But what did the investor mean by the term “cheap people”?

Who are the cheap people?

According to Optimist.pw, a website that specializes in the study of human behavior, there are several definitions of the term in psychology and finance:

  • This is a person who ready to sell everyone and everything for any price. And he himself is willingly for sale;
  • This is a person who does not value friendships and relationships, squandering them on small things;
  • This is a person who sells information about other people. He is not to be trusted;
  • These are the people of gossip and intrigue. They are busy discussing others, not working;
  • These are people capable of meanness and treachery.

Imagine a situation where you’ve known someone for more than 30 years and with whom you’ve been through many trials. And all of a sudden he gets cheaper. Or rather, he becomes corrupt. He’s going along with it: greed, wife/girlfriend, cowardice.

Has he always been this way or is he just pretending to be? I don’t have a definitive answer on that. They say people don’t change. But their values, their beliefs change.

Here’s an example from a personal story:

This is a story that happened to me 14 years ago. I had a friend who I had known since high school. We had affairs together, I always trusted him, including large sums of money (for which I was calm).

And then there was a very large amount of money (collecting cash). Which went to him. He told me this:

-You see, I’m over 40 and I don’t have my own business. I am tired of this thought that I was tired of being your “number two”. We have known each other for a long time, but that’s how I was not able to make money next to you. I’m sorry. I will not give it back.

I was shocked. Our business is common and there’s a complaint. So he was faking it the whole time? I don’t think so. He was a coward and found an excuse for what he did? Stole? So the amount was such that it turned on his greed? That must be it.

There was a lot of cash. And I’ve heard many times that when people see a lot of cash and they have an opportunity to take it all, or at least something that triggers something in people’s heads and they lose their minds.

Personally, I now see it this way:

A cheap man is one who buys trust. And the amount of money is not important.

When I was a kid, I had a conversation with a coach who once told us:

Guys, when you take money from someone and they give it to you, you are being placed in a position of trust. If you don’t give the money back, then you have bought the person freedom from obligation to you and you get a price tag on your forehead. The price for which you can be bought.

And now when someone borrows from me and doesn’t pay me back, I just consider the money lost and say:

“Thank you, Lord, for taking it in money”.

And then I calm down.

End of story:

My friend, who took money, found me after 6 years and returned the whole amount with a good interest. He seemed to have done the right thing, but I do not want to do business with him anymore. By the way, he took offense at my words. But my health and nerves are more important to me.

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