Personal Finance Posts

How 3 Famous Investors Got Their Start

When you read about famous investors in the news or in books, it is easy to forget that behind every successful individual is a long story of small successes and even more significant failures. Each person has a story that is important to consider when understanding them as individuals.

3 Famous Investors and Their Start

Warren Buffett, Barbara Corcoran, and Peter Thiel are three famous investors who have fascinating stories. For those interested in investing, these three success stories will give you an idea of how smart investing can lead to success for anyone.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is easily the most prominent of famous investors of our time. There is a reason why he is currently worth over $90 billion and is the 3rd richest person in the world. Born on August 30, 1930, in Omaha, Nebraska, Buffett was in the perfect position to take on the financial world. His father was a U.S. congressman who later became a stockbroker. On top of getting the lucky draw at birth, he was exceptionally gifted at math and soon showed his natural business intelligence.famous investors, stockpile

During his childhood, Buffett spent a lot of his time with his father at his stock brokerage shop.  At just 11 years old, Buffett made his first investment. He bought 3 shares of Cities Service Preferred at $38. Shortly after his purchase, the shares dropped by almost 30%. Instead of panicking, he waited and hoped that the price would go back up. Finally, he sold his shares at $40 for a small profit. The stock eventually went into the hundreds of dollars, and that is when he learned a critical lesson about investing — the importance of patience.

From this point on, Buffett pursued many entrepreneurial ventures, attended the University of Pennsylvania to study business, and saved the equivalent of about $100,000 by the time he graduated at the age of 20. After earning a master’s degree in 1951, he worked at two different companies for the next five years and then formed his own firm in 1956. The investing technique that led to his firm’s success was to identify undervalued companies to invest in and wait until their share value met their actual value.

One of the companies he did this with was the textile company Berkshire Hathaway. He eventually invested enough money to take over that business, and over the next 60 years turned it into a corporation with a market cap of over $530 billion. The corporation is now invested in a diverse range of companies.

Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran, the famous Shark Tank investor and real estate mogul has a story that is much different from Warren Buffett’s—and in some ways, more impressive as one of our famous investors. Although she is not nearly as wealthy as Buffett, she was not afforded the same privileges as him during her early years.

She was born on March 10, 1949, in Edgewater, New Jersey. Her life growing up was pretty ordinary. In 1971, She graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College with a degree in education and started teaching. She soon realized teaching was not for her, and she started jumping from job to job, including being a waitress, while trying to figure out what to do. Eventually, she took out a $1000 loan from her boyfriend to co-found a real estate investment company called “The Corcoran-Simone.” Seven years later, she started her own firm called The Corcoran Group

These days, The Corcoran Group is worth billions. Outside of her real estate company, she is a successful media personality, commenting on business through columns and books, and is of course probably most famous for being on the reality TV show Shark Tank. She is now actively investing through this medium, and has even had success turning reality TV business ideas into real-life companies. 

Peter Thiel

Lastly, we will look at the tech entrepreneur and one of the most famous investors Peter Thiel. Thiel was born in Frankfurt, Germany on October 11, 1967. He moved to America at an early age and eventually graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in philosophy. In 1992 Thiel graduated from Stanford Law and went on to work a few different legal jobs until he became a derivative trader at Credit Suisse. He then founded Thiel Capital and shortly after that co-founded Paypal in 1998.

After exiting Paypal as a billionaire, he created Clarium Capital, launched Palantir Technologies, and made investments in Facebook and other big-name tech startups. His $2.5 billion net worth is primarily comprised of his holdings in Palantir, which is valued at around $20 billion. Thiel is also a current board member at Facebook and is involved in many other tech startups.

Investing In Your Future

For these three famous investors, spending was just one part of their success. Intelligence, determination, risk-taking, and even luck are all factors that may lead to one’s triumph. Whether you are investing traditionally through the stock market, or are investing in a friend’s startup because you believe in their product and skills, it is always worth taking a calculated risk because you never know where it can take you.

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