Are You An Optimist Or A Pessimist? Lessons From Sir John Templeton

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Are You An Optimist Or A Pessimist? Lessons From Sir John Templeton by Consuelo Mack, WealthTrack

Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist? How does it affect your investment outlook and decisions?

One of the greatest investors of all times, Sir John Templeton was an unfailing optimist. Founder of the Templeton Funds, and a pioneer in international investing, his Templeton Growth Fund was one of the first to enable individuals to invest all over the world.  And it delivered extraordinary results, 14.5% annualized returns while he ran it.

When Sir John Templeton died at the age of 95 in 2008 The Wall Street Journal editorial page titled his obituary “Maximum Optimist” and wrote:

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As an investor, he always had confidence his picks would improve over the long term. Appropriately, the same ‘enthusiasm for progress’ as he put it, also made him one of the world’s greatest philanthropists.”

For those of you not familiar with Sir John, he devoted the second half of his life to promoting the discovery of what he called “new spiritual information”, applying science and method to the spiritual realm which still continues with the Templeton Foundation & Prize.

Why the reference to Sir John Templeton? I recently came across a newsletter which reminded me of Sir John’s positive outlook.  It is called Nick Murray Interactive and it talked about the amazing progress the world and markets have made in the last four decades, a large chunk of the investing lifetime for many of us.

From 1975-2015 the world has experienced wars, terrorist attacks, assassinations, hurricanes, tsunamis, market crashes, financial crisis, you name it.  However, as Murray points out, global population is up nearly 80%, and in the U.S. real GDP more than tripled on only a 50% population growth, meaning real GDP per capita has soared. The S&P 500 rose more than 20 times, on an earnings increase in excess of fifteen times and a dividend boost approaching twelve times, yet consumer prices have risen scarcely more than four and a half times.

As Murray commented: “Surely this is the greatest accretion of real wealth by the greatest number of people in the history of the world.” Murray also talked about the perfect healing power of the equity market.

I decided to call him.

Murray is the Editor of Nick Murray Interactive, a newsletter for financial planners which he launched in 2001. He started his career as a stock broker/advisor in 1967, worked at several of the then major Wall Street firms, and in 1991 wrote a how to book for financial advisors called Serious Money, which became an industry best seller.

That was a turning point.  He left Wall Street in 1992 to help financial planners with their careers.  He has written 11 books in total, including just one for individuals Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth, now in its fifth edition.

Like Sir John, Murray is a great believer in the inevitable progress of humankind. One of his guiding principles is that “optimism is the only realism.”  We will discuss why.

In my EXTRA interview with Murray, available exclusively on our website, I asked him how he found his calling, and made the move from stockbroker to advising financial advisors. If you have comments or questions, please connect with us via the Contact Us link on our website.

My best wishes for a happy Mother’s Day weekend! Make the week ahead a profitable and productive one.

Best Regards,


Sir John Templeton