It takes a certain kind of person (read: bold, sharp and witty) to single out Warren Buffett in a book title. New Orleans writer LouAnn Lofton did just that. Since its release last summer, Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl: And Why You Should, Too has been flying off bookshelves, finding permanent homes on the desks and nightstands of men and women everywhere. The premise of the book is that women invest better than men because of their thoughtful, discerning temperament.
How did Lofton become a finance guru and eloquent wordsmith? Her mother is a writer, so Lofton shared that passion from day one. But, like many success stories, Lofton’s began with a tragedy. Lofton’s father passed away when she was 14 growing up in the tiny town of Monticello, Miss. When she turned 21 she received an inheritance. “It was not a ton of money, but enough that I didn’t want to screw it up,” she recalls. “I wanted to be disciplined and learn about investing, so I took it upon myself and read a lot of books.”
When Lofton stumbled upon Buffett’s biography, she felt an immediate connection. She explains, “He invests only in companies he understands and has done obviously as well as has, so that just set the path for me.” That path led Lofton to Virginia, where she worked for a decade at The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial services company. Lofton started out as an online writer and a news editor before being promoted to Online Managing Editor in 2005. She remains a contributing writer there.
Having long wanted to write a book, she jumped at the chance to follow in the footsteps of her heroes, legendary Southern writers William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. In 2009, she moved to New Orleans – a city close to her heart as she grew up taking daytrips here and it is home to family. “I wanted to live in New Orleans my entire life,” she says. “One thing I love about being a writer is you can do it from anywhere.”
When Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl was published, her dreams were affirmed – even Buffett is a fan. These days, Lofton travels the country speaking at events and doing interviews. However, no matter where she is, Lofton’s heart is aligned with Faulkner’s and Williams’. She shares, “The ink wasn’t even dry on the first book before I was dreaming about the second.”
Mentor: My mom is a writer so I have her to blame and/or thank for giving me the writing bug. My father, too, was an enormous influence on me. He suffered from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, but to me he was the strongest man in the world. Both my mom and dad encouraged me, and it’s only now that I really realize how valuable that is for a kid.
Defining Moment: Meeting Warren Buffett made my day after my book was published, and I knew he read it and enjoyed it. He was everything that I always imagined him to be: He was funny, kind, humble, and a little bit corny. He is the sweetest billionaire you could ever imagine.
Advice to Young Women: Speak up. Speak up in meetings and speak up in salary negotiations. Also, the earlier you start investing and putting the power of compound interest to work for you, the better. Take advantage of your company’s 401K plan. Start an IRA.
Goals: To continue spreading the message of women becoming empowered investors and taking control of their financial future. In the long term, [I’ll write] hopefully many more books. I would love a chance to write about New Orleans.
Favorite Things about What I Do: I love traveling, which I’ve gotten a chance to do with this book. One of my favorite things in the entire world is just sitting in my courtyard with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and a book in my hand.