Timeless Advice From Wall Street’s Sage Henry Clews

Timeless Advice From Wall Street’s Sage Henry Clews by John Maxfield, The Motley Fool, Via USA Today

Warren Buffett might seem one of a kind — and, of course, he is — but he is not the first famous financier to be held in universally high esteem by peers on Wall Street, politicians in Washington, and the typical person on Main Streets throughout America. That accolade goes to Henry Clews, a New York-based broker and investment banker who got his first break marketing federal bonds during the Civil War.

While Henry Clews went on to amass a fortune, he never lost the ability to offer advice to both policymakers and other investors/speculators in a folksy style mirroring that of the modern-day Oracle of Omaha. Nowhere is this more apparent than Clews’ memoir,

Fifty Years in Wall Street. Published after the infamous Panic of 1907, the book traces the tumultuous financial history of the Gilded Age and includes lessons and anecdotes about the stock market that are no less valuable today than they were over a century ago

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Here are eight of the most prescient pieces of Henry Clews’ wisdom that I believe can help people become better investors still today:

1. What it takes to be a great investor/speculator

There is no mental discipline more severe and exacting than that of speculation. There is no pursuit in which a man can less afford to indulge in whims, or prejudices, or pet theories, than that of stacking his money against the prospective changes in financial values. He must be as calm and as impartial as a judge, not less in respect to the risks he incurs than in regard to the integrity of his own judgment. I should lay it down as the first rule necessary to success, that the judgment be not warped by any natural idiosyncrasies; this being secured, a man may succeed in spite of his constitutional defects.

Full article here USA Today