9 Simple Pieces of Advice from Jay-Z That Any Investor Can Use

From rags to riches, billionaire rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z knows a little about what it takes to become successful.
Updated Dec. 12, 2023
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Jay-Z is a world-famous American musician and businessman known for his iconic rapping style, being married to Beyoncé, and becoming hip-hop’s first billionaire. He’s currently among the richest people in the U.S., though his road to superstardom and mega riches wasn’t always the easiest.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jay-Z didn’t grow up a wealthy or elite individual. Instead, he had a rough adolescence that led him to use rap as an outlet and an escape. After years in the hip-hop industry, he began to make a name for himself and eventually became a household name. This was largely influenced by his decision to found his own record label and create his own success.

This attitude and determination have been a hallmark of Jay-Z’s business dealings, as most of his wealth and success have come from his decisions to invest in himself and what he believes in. Through these quotes, you can learn more about how Jay-Z has amassed his fortune and maybe use his advice to find additional ways to make money in your own life.

This is not investment advice, be sure to do your own research if you're going to invest.

“I won’t buy it until I can buy it twice.”

Investing money in something has an inherent level of risk you can’t avoid. You can’t know what’s going to happen to the market, so there’s never anything that’s going to be a 100% sure bet. So if you can’t afford to invest your money, you shouldn’t be investing.

People often buy things they can’t afford, which can easily lead down a debt-ridden path that’s hard to escape. For better overall financial success, only spend money you can afford to spend, including with investments.

“Do you know how many athletes go broke three years after they stop playing? I want to help them hold on to their money. I mean, I know about budgets.”

Do you know anyone in your life who always seems to have the same amount of debt no matter how much money they’re making? It’s common to make more money as you earn promotions at your job, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend more as well.

It’s likely that the people you know who struggle with debt also have no set spending limits for that individual or family to operate under. When you have a budget, you know what money you’re earning and what money you’re spending. You also know the source of your earnings and where the money is being spent.

If you want to invest money for your future and other financial goals, you need money available to do so. A budget can help you save money that you can use toward investments. Some of the best budgeting apps make it easy to get your savings started so you can work toward reaching financial freedom.

“Whenever inspiration won’t find you, you have to find it.”

It’s not hard to get stuck in a rut in whatever your occupation is, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get an answer on how to improve your situation just from sitting around and waiting for it. If you pick goals for yourself and work toward them, it will be easier to see what needs to be done to achieve them.

Let’s say you’re looking for ideas on how to make money so you can build your savings and invest some of it. If your main source of income is your job, you can create goals to work on getting a raise. Or you can explore some of the best side hustles and see whether they line up with any of your interests or passions.

Whenever you feel like you’re not progressing, remember to make some goals so your financial dreams can come to fruition.

“You learn more in failure than you ever do in success.”

If you don’t fail, how are you ever supposed to learn anything? When you make money mistakes, even with something like investing, it’s easier to know exactly what not to do the next time around. Failure is immediate and useful feedback that tells you what needs to be changed for a different outcome to occur.

So if you feel like a failure because something didn’t work out with your finances, be sure to learn from the experience and move on with that knowledge in hand.

“You can want success all you want, but to get it, you can’t falter. You can’t slip, you can’t sleep. One eye open, for real, and forever.”

Jay-Z wanted to get away from the poverty of his childhood and early life. He grew up in an environment in which people didn’t often become successful, so he knew it would be difficult to get out. This didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams.

Any self-made successful person will likely tell you it’s not easy to achieve success — you have to work for it. If you want to achieve any level of financial success, you need to do what it takes to get there. This attitude applies to finding your first job, getting a raise, and earning enough money for savings and investment opportunities.

“Only two things can get you through this, that’s patience and persistence.”

Investing is typically a long-term strategy. You have to consistently earn money, invest it, and then have the patience to see your investment pay off. There’s no shortcut to financial success. This is why so many people don’t often achieve what they want with their finances — they simply don’t have the patience and persistence to get there.

“I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about.”

People aren’t born being the most knowledgeable individuals around — they have to learn to know anything. So even if you don’t know much about investing or saving for retirement right now, you can easily learn more about these things.

Try to keep an open mind about learning new things and constantly seek to gain knowledge. This will pave the way for you to hit your financial goals because you’ll be more prepared for both potential obstacles and opportunities throughout your journey. Remember, the world is always changing, so it’s best to continue learning every day so you can adjust to the changes.

“Jealousy is a weak emotion.”

Don’t get caught up in the lives of other people. Yes, it makes sense to learn from successful people, but there’s no point in wishing for the things they have unless it’s motivating you to do something. Don’t be jealous or envious of what other people have. Instead, focus on what you need to do to get to a similar position in life yourself.

You might miss out on some good financial opportunities that other people chose to get involved in. This especially may happen as you’re learning more things or building up your finances, but you can’t dwell on those alternate routes in life. Keep your own goals and your own path at the forefront. Work toward your goals as much as you can and you’ll eventually reach them.

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”

Jay-Z learned a critical lesson early on that he still applies in his life today. When he wasn’t catching a break like he wanted in his music career, he decided to create his own opportunity by forming a record label himself. Later on, he continued to invest in himself by creating more businesses and focusing on the things he was most passionate about, like music and sports.

If you break it down, it’s simple to see how investing in yourself can prove to be a smart decision. Invest in gaining more knowledge and invest in the things you’re interested in. As you learn and gain more knowledge, you’ll find opportunities opening up for you to have financial gain while doing things you enjoy.

Bottom line

It’s easy to look at a successful person when they’re in the middle of their success, but what about considering everything they went through to get there? If you can emulate some of Jay-Z’s financial know-how, you’ll be well on your way to learning how successful business people and investors work and live on an everyday basis. This will help you understand the mentality and work ethic needed to plan for your successful financial future.

"Jay-Z" photo courtesy of Daniele Dalledonne (CC BY-SA 2.0)

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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