‘Realize that you know virtually nothing’: Legendary investor Ray Dalio shares his top tips for new graduates as they ‘enter the real world’

May 26, 2023, 3:04 PM UTC
Bridgewater Associated founder Ray Dalio visits "Mornings With Maria" hosted by Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business Network Studios on November 30, 2018 in New York City.
Billionaire investor Ray Dalio has dished out some advice for new college graduates.
Roy Rochlin—Getty Images

With graduation season in full swing, much of the class of 2023 is about to take a big leap into the professional world.

For those graduating from a four-year course, their tenure as college students has seen them navigating a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and political division, the effects of which are still lingering and impacting Gen Z’s outlook on work.

Enter billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, who took to Twitter on Thursday to share his tips for graduates leaving education behind to pursue their dream careers.

“You’re about to enter the beginning of the second phase of your life which is totally different from the first,” said Dalio, who founded Bridgewater Associates—a hedge fund firm with around $125 billion in assets under management—in 1975. “Realize that you know virtually nothing about what it’s like so you need to learn what it’s like and how to be great at it.”

He added: “To be young and have all that adventure ahead of you is wonderful. Make the most of it!”

Here are some of Dalio’s top tips for new graduates:

Build strong relationships

Dalio’s first piece of advice for grads was to seek out and foster working relationships—especially with more experienced colleagues.

“Be humble and maximize your learning, ideally working in an apprentice relationship with a great boss/mentor and in a great community,” he said. “Realize that meaningful work and meaningful relationships will fulfill you and help you be more successful… Understand what you and those around you are like.”

The Bridgewater founder also noted the importance of working in the right environment.

“Pick your culture well. Make sure you always have the right to make sense of things,” he advised. “Be radically truthful and transparent so that you triangulate with others and build better relationships.”

Explore—and fail

According to Dalio, it’s important for young professionals to try out new things—and make mistakes in the process.

“Experiment a lot to explore different life paths and learn from trial and error,” he said. “Be open-minded and assertive at the same time and learn how to struggle and fail well. Remember that life is a journey in which you encounter obstacles and that pain + reflection = progress.”

Remember why you’re working

While Dalio touted pursuing a passion and getting things wrong, he also issued a reminder that we work to earn—and that money management is something everyone should be getting right.

“Make your work and your passion the same thing and don’t forget about the money part,” he said on Thursday. “Be self-sufficient plus (i.e. make more than you spend and save) because that will give you freedom and security.”

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