Remember the book The Millionaire Next Door? Our office enjoyed this popular book because it highlights the traits that show up in many successful families who will never be in the spotlight. We were reminded of some of these same lessons when we revisited a “tortoise and hare” story shared by financial writer Morgan Housel. In it, Housel compares the investment success of business secretary Grace Groner with the supposedly bad breaks that befell business executive Richard Fuscone.
Groner lived a modest life, with a sturdy but quiet career. She reportedly bought $180 worth of her company’s stocks in the 1930s … and never sold them. When she passed away in 2010 at age 100, her net worth was $7 million, which she left to charity. Granted, she was lucky to select a successful investment, but we would suggest her true success was grounded in her steadfast investing.
In contrast, Fuscone is Harvard-educated and a former vice chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Latin American division. And yet, in 2010, he declared personal bankruptcy, reportedly stating, “I have been devastated by the financial crisis which came to a head in March 2008 … I currently have no income.”
We share Housel’s sentiments, when he says, “These stories fascinate me. There is no plausible scenario in which a 100-year-old country secretary could beat Tiger Woods at golf, or be better at brain surgery than a brain surgeon. But – fairly often – that same country secretary can out-finance a Wall Street titan. Money is strange like that.”
Enjoy this short (true) story by one of the great personal finance writers of our time. *No need to read the full report unless you really get inspired.