The Wall Street Whiz Kid. I believe every person is the direct result of the sum total of his or her life experiences. Where we have all been in our lives has a lot to do with where we are today and how we view the world.
I didn’t grow up in an educated family; my parents didn’t introduce me to Wall Street or investing at an early age; we didn’t even have much money. In essence, I am probably the most unlikely person to someday be called “The Wall Street Whiz Kid.”
I’m from New York. To anyone who has ever met me or heard me on TV or radio, that’s a no brainer. I
sound New York … specifically, Bronx.
I was born in Manhattan in 1956, and, when I turned seven, my family moved north to one of New York’s more family- oriented boroughs. My sister, who was eight years older, left home the following year to marry her childhood boyfriend.
The couple moved to Brooklyn which, although it sounds close, is a long train or bus ride away, so for the next ten years I saw her only once or twice a year.
As a result, I basically grew up an only child. While my mother, Esther, worked constantly—mostly at secretarial jobs—my father spent much of my childhood unemployed. When he did work, it was often as a chauffeur for some big- named singers like Simon and Garfunkel and a sportscaster named Chris Schenkel. He’d occasionally find odd jobs doing other things, but was not working more than he was working.
The problem was: Dad was a gambler. Not to the point of loan sharks knocking on the door, but whatever money Dad managed to earn he gambled away at cards, the track, or the casinos. Gamblers, I have learned, are generally lazy people. That’s why the thought of hitting it big on a bet is such a high for them. It’s a way of beating the system and avoiding work. That describes my dad.