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Top Money Minds of the 20th and 21st Centuries

Wouldn't it be great to have a corporate jet, a loyal entourage, business lunches with politicians and investors at classy restaurants, and a few billion dollars to throw around at your will?  Of course it would!  But it isn't a completely distant thought because a number of great businessmen over the last 100 years have done it, and maybe you can too.

Warren Buffet
Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway
Famous quote: "If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians"

Ask any one of the thousands of loyal investors who trek to Omaha, Nebraska each spring for the Berkshire Hathaway annual conference about who they think they greatest investor of all time is.  You'll only receive one response: Warren Buffet.  I guess when you're the 2nd richest man in the world, you would expect that kind of response.

With his love of money and his strong understanding of math at an early age, he began his ascent to uberwealth as a kid selling Washington Post newspapers.  About thirty years later, he ended up buying a considerable share of the newspaper, as well as large shares in other famous investments like ABC, Gillette, and Coca-cola.

Warren Buffet attributes his financial success to his method of investing: the value approach.  He seeks to buy shares of stock in companies that are trading at "cheap" prices relative to their underlying value.  The idea is that continued success in the business will result in a considerable increase in the stock's price.  By following this approach taught to him by Benjamin Graham, he has amassed a fortune worth $39 billion dollars!

Not only has Warren Buffet made himself a considerable amount of money; he's also made his investors a ton too!  In fact, had you invested $10,000 in Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 when he bought the textile company and turned it into a holding company, you would have $35.6 million today!

Peter Lynch
Former fund manager, Fidelity Magellan Fund
Famous quote: "I've said before, that an amateur who devotes a small amount of study to companies in an industry he or she knows something about can outperform 95 percent of the paid experts who manage the mutual funds, plus have fun doing it."

Peter Lynch is one of those incredibly successful investors who is known not only on Wall Street but throughout the world as well.  Before writing his famous books (Beating the Street, One Up on Wall Street, and Learn to Earn), he was the fund manager for the Fidelity Magellan Fund.

Using his strategies of investing in both growth and value stocks, Peter Lynch uncovered a number of gems on Wall Street.  Much of his success is attributed to his 14 years of operating on a punishing schedule, working six or seven days a week talking to company managers and brokers.

Peter Lynch took a few risks but helped grow the Fidelity Magellan Fund from $22 million in assets when he took over to nearly $14 billion when he retired at the age of 46.   Today, the fund manages so much money ($55 billion) that it has had to close itself off from taking in new investors.  Had you been one of those lucky few who invested in the fund when he took over in 1977, you would have earned a 29% annual compounded return!

George Soros
Principal Investment Advisor, Quantum Fund
Famous quote: "Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected."

Perhaps the greatest currency speculator of all time, George Soros is a legend among those on Wall Street.  His work with the Quantum Fund has been the major reason behind it being the single highest-returning investment fund in the world.

One of the greatest stories behind George Soros involves his willingness to take big risks in search of big returns.  Perhaps the most famous of these stories centers around his involvement with the British Pound in 1992, in which he shorted (betted that the currency would depreciate) the pound and netted a one day gain of $1 billion!  Even the likes of Bill Gates can't match that.

As I had mentioned, he was also principal investment advisor with the Quantum Fund.  Had you invested $100,000 (the minimum investment at the time) in 1969, you would have made $150 million in just 25 years!

These investment managers are incredible standouts on Wall Street.  Very few people have been able to match their level of success.  Very few are able to say that they have as loyal of a following as they do.  However, that's not to say that you're not the next George Soros, Warren Buffett, or Peter Lynch.  Remember, they too started with little before building their investment empires that we now see today.

 

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