Saturday, June 30, 2007

What has Bar Mitzvah to do with investment and finance?

Michael Steinhardt
Retired hedge fund manager, current philanthropist

Today I am going to introduce Michael Steinhardt, who is a generation older than Tim Sykes. However they have one thing in common. They both are traders who get started in finance and investment with their bar mitzvah gift money.

Remember last time I asked you what is bar mitzvah? Let’s take a look at it.

Bar Mitzvah
On bar mitzvah day a Jewish child becomes an adult fully responsible to God for becoming a better person.

According to Jewish law, a boy is deemed a "bar mitzvah" when he turns 13 and achieves the status of adulthood. A Jewish girl becomes a "bat mitzvah" when she turns 12.

Bar and bat mitzvahs are typically celebrated with a festive meal, with the family and friends of the bar mitzvah boy or bat mitzvah girl on hand to celebrate their entrance into adulthood.

The meal is often accompanied by speeches from friends and relatives who encourage the bar or bat mitzvah to undertake their new role as a full-fledged Jewish adult with joy, and to strive to add spirituality to their lives.

When I was first invited to a bar mitzvah, I had totally no idea what it was. No matter what, with a well-designed sophisticated invitation card, I knew it must be something serious. I dressed up for the ceremony and got ready a gift. When I asked the bar mitzvah boy’s mother what to give, she said ‘cash’. After all, I found that cash and stocks were the most popular bar mitzvah gifts. Perhaps “financial management” is one of the most important roles of an adult.

Bar Mitzvah vs Wealth
That’s why Tim Sykes got $12,415 to start his online trading business at the age of 17. Michael Steinhardt received from his father 200 shares of Penn Dixie Cement and Columbia Gas System stock, valued $5,000 for his bar mitzvah. Since then he started studying brokers’ reports and parlayed his bar mitzvah gift into a multi-million dollar hedge fund.

All about bar mitzvah

Michael Steinhardt - Bio
1940 – Born
1953 – Began studying brokers' reports
1960 – Graduated from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance
1967 – Founded hedge fund company Steinhardt, Fine, Berkowitz & Co
1979 – Rename as Steinhardt Partners, after Berkowitz and Fine withdrew their partnership
1995 – Retired
2000 – Made historic gift of US$10 million to NYU's School of Education
Now – Philanthropist

Conversation with Michael Steindhart

More about Michael Steindhart

Start Young – if you want to retire young and retire rich
How young shall I start investing? Well, as young as 13 or 17, like Michael and Tim did.

If you are not from a Jewish origin and don’t have bar mitzvah gift to be your investment capital, build an investment banking career at any of the Wall Street firms, and see if you can outperform Michael or Tim.

Chinese Wealth Management Philosophy
Take care of yourself when you are poor, take care of the world when you are rich.
Liang Qichao (1873 -1929) - a Chinese scholar, journalist, philosopher and reformist

Michael and Tim are outstanding executors of Liang’s philosophy. Mike dedicates most of his life to philanthropy and keeps giving what he has. Tim is only 26, his Daytrading Award is just a start.

The Timothy Sykes Daytrading Award for the Talented

Michael Steindhart’s historic gift of US$10 million to NYU

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