If you’re interested in investing in the stock market, it’s important to know the greatest investors of all time—these are the people who have made massive amounts of money by trading stocks and other financial instruments over the years. These top 10 greatest investors of all time didn’t just pull their success out of thin air; they analyzed market patterns, diversified their portfolios, brought up cheap stocks before they shot up in value, and more—and you can do the same if you learn from their methods! Here are the top 10 greatest investors of all time.
1. Benjamin Graham
The author of the classic investment classics, The Intelligent Investor, and The Intelligent Investor II, Ben Graham was a superb investor and financial educator. Also universally recognized as the father of two fundamental investment disciplines, security analysis and value investing.
According to Graham, value investments should be substantially more valuable than what an investor has to pay for them. As a fundamental investor, he sought out companies with strong balance sheets, or those with low debt, above-average profit margins, and plenty of cash flow.
2. John Templeton
According to legend, John Templeton was a contrarian who bought low during the Depression, sold high during the Internet boom, and made a few good bets between the two. Templeton has created some of the world’s largest and most successful international investment funds. His Templeton funds were sold to the Franklin Group in 1992. Money magazine called Templeton, a naturalized British citizen living in the Bahamas, “arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century.” For his many contributions, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Templeton in 1999.
3. Thomas Rowe Price Jr.
Known as the father of growth investing, Thomas Rowe Price Jr. spent his formative years struggling with the Depression, and the lesson he learned was not to stay out of stocks but to embrace them. He viewed financial markets as cyclical. Not the most enthusiastic of crowds, he tended to invest in great companies for the long term, which at this time was unheard of. His investment philosophy was that individuals should be more focused on long-term stock-picking. His discipline, process, consistency, and fundamentals helped his investment career grow.
4. John Neff
Warren Neff began his career at Wellington Management Company in 1964 and would later be given the opportunity to manage three of the company’s funds. He is best known for his philosophy of picking up pennies in front of a steamroller through investment in low-price, popular industries which lead to profitable opportunities that generate high earnings and attractive dividends. He ran the Windsor Fund for 31 years (ending in 1995) and returned 13.7% as opposed to 10.6% for the S&P 500 over the same time span, halfway there this equals an investment increase of over 53 times.
5. Jesse Livermore
Livermore had no formal education or trading experience. However, he was self-made and did learn from his wins and losses. After these successes and failures Livermore was able to understand trading ideas that can still be found throughout the market today. He began trading for himself when he was in his early teens and by the age of sixteen, he had reportedly produced over $1,000 in profits. This was an enormous sum at the time. During the next few years, he made a good living by betting against bucket shops that lacked legitimacy in the eyes of the public and accepted side bets for fluctuations in the market price of stocks.
6. Peter Lynch
From 1977 to 1990, Peter Lynch managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund, which rose from $18 million to $14 billion in assets.
further, Lynch apparently beat the S&P 500 Index benchmark in 11 of those 13 years, averaging 29% returns annually.
Peter Lynch went from style to style depending on what worked at the time, but when it came to picking specific stocks, he stuck to what he knew and/or could easily understand.
7. George Soros
As an investor, Soros was a short-term speculator, making huge bets on market directions. His approach to economic analysis enabled him to translate broad trends into highly leveraged, winning plays on bonds and currencies. George Soros founded Soros Fund Management in 1973, which later evolved into Quantum Fund, a company widely known and respected. It is reported that he was in charge of this aggressive and successful hedge fund for almost two decades, producing returns in excess of 30% per year on two occasions and exceeding 100% in another.
8. Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is known as the Oracle of Omaha and is considered one of the most successful investors in history.
Consistent with the ideas of Benjamin Graham, he amassed a billion-dollar fortune through the purchasing of stocks and companies on behalf of Berkshire Hathaway. People who invested $10,000 in Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 have an average account of over $165 million today.
Buffett’s style of disciplined, patient, and value-seeking investing has outpaced the market for decades.
9. John (Jack) Bogle
Bogle founded the Vanguard Group in 1975 and took it from a small, unknown company to one of the world’s largest and most respected companies. He did this by inventing the no-load mutual fund and campaigning for low-cost index investing. This person was responsible for inventing the first index fund, Vanguard 500, in 1976. He advocates capturing market returns by investing in broad-based index mutual funds that are low-cost, low-turnover, and passively managed.
10. Carl Icahn
The activist investor Carl Icahn uses his ownership positions to increase the value of publicly traded companies to force changes to increase the value of his stocks. It was not until 1985 that Icahn began to actively engage in corporate raiding in earnest, resulting in his hostile takeover of TWA. This is the Wall Street catchphrase that describes the upward movement of a company’s stock price that occurs when Carl Icahn starts buying the stock of a company he believes is poorly managed.