Who Is The Best Investor In History?

The United States is nearly 250 years old, and every minute of that history is marked by innovation, daring, and determination. American ingenuity is no myth – it is the guiding force that transformed a handful of colonies into the most powerful country on earth.

The late 19th century and the entire 20th century were defined by entrepreneurs and risk-takers who invested heavily in building the infrastructure and businesses that made it possible for the US to become a world leader. Many of those investors created tremendous fortunes along the way. How did they do it? And who is the best investor in history?

Who Is The Greatest Investor Of All Time?

There is no single answer to who is the best investor in history. It depends on who you ask and how you measure “best.”

  • Is it the investor who made the most money?
  • The investor who generated the largest returns?
  • The one who developed the most effective investment strategies?
  • Or perhaps the investor with the longest streak of beating the market?

These are some of the greatest investors of all time – and any of them could easily be considered the best investor in history.

What Does Warren Buffett Invest In?

Warren Buffett is often the first name that comes to mind when considering the best investors of all time. He learned everything he could from Benjamin Graham, then went on to perfect Graham’s system of value investing to create a fortune for himself and his investors. Warren Buffett’s net worth is $106 billion, and the value of his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has a market cap of nearly $670 billion.

Through Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett invests in companies that have wide moats – his term for competitive edge. He buys when stocks are available at bargain prices, and his “favorite holding period is forever.”

Warren Buffett Quote: “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”

How Did Peter Lynch Get Rich?

Peter Lynch, net worth $450 million, didn’t just generate above-average returns in his personal portfolio. Lynch managed Fidelity’s Magellan Fund for 13 years, and in that time, annual returns averaged more than 29 percent – nearly twice the S&P 500’s return for the same period.

Investors who put $10,000 in the Magellan Fund when Lynch took it over in 1977 had a portfolio valued at $280,000 when he left in 1990.

Lynch wrote a collection of best-selling books that taught readers at all levels of experience how to maximize their portfolio growth. He encouraged taking a long-term view on investing with a constant focus on the underlying companies’ fundamental values.

Peter Lynch Quote: “Go for a business that any idiot can run – because sooner or later, any idiot probably is going to run it.”

What Is Benjamin Graham’s Investment Strategy?

Benjamin Graham is best known for developing the comprehensive value investing strategy that has formed the foundation of many portfolios in the decades since his book The Intelligent Investor was published.

Essentially, Graham taught his readers to identify and purchase undervalued stocks – those that traded below their intrinsic value. He recommended ignoring short-term changes in stock prices and choosing companies based on fundamental features and characteristics instead.

It’s worth noting that billionaire Warren Buffett credits Graham’s mentorship with much of his success, and Buffett still applies many of Graham’s value investing principles today.

Benjamin Graham Quote: “Wall Street people learn nothing and forget everything.”

Who Was John “Jack” Bogle?

John “Jack” Bogle might be considered the best investor in history because he made the biggest difference for average consumers.

He developed low-cost index funds and offered them through the firm he founded, The Vanguard Group. These funds allowed investors with limited experience to participate in the market without losing money to fees.

Since Bogle’s first index fund launched in 1975, The Vanguard Group has grown its family of funds to nearly 170. The firm has more than $2 trillion in assets under management, and it is widely regarded as an industry leader.

John Bogle Quote: “Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack.”

Who Is The World’s Best Investor?

Some of the most fascinating characters in the financial world won’t go down as the best investors in history, but they deserve an honorable mention for their unique contributions to the industry.

What Is David Swensen Known For?

Outside of the academic community, few people have heard of David Swensen. However, if you ask anyone associated with Yale University, David Swensen (net worth $1.5 billion) was the best investor in history. His personal fortune wasn’t his greatest claim to fame. Swensen is known for his exceptional management of the Yale University Endowment Fund.

In 1980, Swensen graduated from Yale with a Ph.D. in Economics. After working with several notable investment firms, he returned to Yale in 1985 and took charge of the University’s endowment.

Over the 30+ years he was responsible for the fund, his annualized returns came in close to 14 percent – a full four percent higher than the larger market.

Swensen contributed to the industry’s understanding of investment strategy by introducing new methods of portfolio management – the ones most commonly in use today. Specifically, Swensen demonstrated that diversified exposure to multiple high-return asset classes offered the highest likelihood of long-term success.

David Swensen Quote: “Most active mutual funds are more interested in collecting fees than in boosting returns for investors.”

Is Cathie Wood A Billionaire?

Cathie Wood is a relative newcomer to the list of top investors. She founded the ARK Invest firm in 2014. Before long, she was making headlines for the astonishing returns realized by ARK Invest’s family of tech and innovation funds.

Cathie Wood’s net worth has fluctuated between $150 million and $250 million over the past year, as she primarily invests in tech stocks. The entire tech sector lost a tremendous amount of its total value in 2022, which had a significant impact on Wood’s fortune.

Wood might not be a billionaire yet, but her followers are quite certain that she will cross that threshold over the next decade. Wood’s investment strategy is entirely focused on the technologies of the future. She and her team work to identify which companies are going to disrupt existing industries, and she pours all of ARK Invest’s assets under management into supporting those disruptive innovators.

Cathie Wood can’t be considered the best investor in history but she still belongs on the list as someone to watch. Decades from now, she is likely to be at the top of every roundup of the world’s greatest investors.

Cathie Wood Quote: “Corrections are good, they keep us all humble.”

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