Financial Technology

Financial Technology

August 12, 2013

6 Men Who Changed How We Think About Investments

Investing is both a skill and an innate talent, and some investors are changing the way the industry operates. These game-changers apply unique approaches, exhibit an eye for a good thing, and have amassed fortunes seemingly with ease. Some of them are happy to share their techniques and talents, while others stay quietly in the background as they take huge risks for massive gains.

In the world of investing, it's instructive to keep an eye on the most influential players. They may hold the key to solid, sound investing for newbies. Here are six who are changing the investment landscape, and can teach newcomers a thing or two. How have they changed the game?

1. Warren Buffett

Easily the most famous investor of our time, Buffett has a knack for sensing trends long before anyone else. An early entrepreneur, he created his own "business" as a child, picking up and retrieving golf balls. He had his first small business before he was out of college. Now Buffett is worth about $46 billion.

His approach is to look for undervalued stocks and get in on the ground floor. Most recently, Buffett's been investing in traditional print newspapers.

2. John Bogle

He may have become (in)famous by demanding non-stop media attention, but there's no denying that Bogle is a savvy investor. He led his company, The Vanguard Group, to become the second biggest mutual fund in the world. He's also made a name for himself writing about index funds, and how they're superior to traditional funds. Bogle has a history of excellence and ambition, standard traits of successful investors.

3. Julian Robertson

Robertson got his success the old-fashioned way: hard work. He went to public school, served in the Navy, then began his career as a sales trainee. He worked his way up the ladder at Kidder Peabody & Company, but he retained a soft spot for philanthropy. Robertson brought his firm's net worth to $22 billion at the peak, and now he's primarily an activist. A natural leader, he's an investor who's enjoyed a drama-free career.

4. Michael Steinhardt

Steinhardt is another do-gooder who's arguably the most successful investor on Wall Street. He's particularly drawn to Jewish non-profit efforts and boasts a hedge fund that averages a 24 percent return rate. Personally worth more than $500 million, Steinhardt phased out of the industry in the mid ‘90s.

The son of a big gambler, Steinhardt struggled to crawl out from under his father's shadow his entire life. However, his father's ill-gotten gains are what started Steinhardt's investment career, via envelopes full of $10,000 handed to Steinhardt to invest.

5. Tim Sykes (News - Alert)

The golden boy of penny stocks, Sykes is an investment prodigy who turned his bar mitzvah money into more than a million by the age of 21. He's an aggressive investor, and committed to branching out beyond penny stocks. He operates a successful education and training program that's attracted aspiring investors in 60 countries. He's also dipping into the beauty pageant arena, hosting a competition to find a spokesmodel for his brand.

6. John Templeton

Templeton made a name for himself by being the pioneer of globally diversified funds. His Wall Street career began in the 1930s, and he sold his own company in the ‘90s for $440 million. He made billions during his career and, like others, became a philanthropist. Templeton was knighted by the Queen of England and enjoyed retirement in the Bahamas until his death in 2008 at the age of 95.

When it comes to investing, getting in on the ground floor and trying the (right) new thing is paramount to success. There's plenty of room at the top; it's just a matter of getting there.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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