Herbert Wertheim: A keen eye for good deals

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That investors can also be eccentric is proven by Herbert Wertheim. With his striking red hat, he quickly demands all the attention. But who is this yet relatively unknown investor and what makes him so special?

Who is Hertbert Wertheim?

Herbert Wertheim was born in 1939, in Philadelphia and built his fortune without the help of wealthy parents. That not everything came naturally shows his eventful childhood. His parents fled from Nazi Germany to the United States, where Herbert was thus born. He was dyslexic and truant and was abused at home by his father, so Herbert decided to run away from home (temporarily). As punishment for truancy, he had to choose between the Navy and disciplinary school, eventually choosing to join the Navy at the age of 17. He then decided to join naval aviation, which had a great impact on his subsequent career. While in the Navy, Herbert’s self-confidence grew and he became very ambitious. He was the smartest in his class,

“They give you tests all the time to see how smart you are, and of the 135 in our class, I think I was in the top – especially in mechanics and organization.” 

and so he decided to combine the Navy with two studies: physics and chemistry. In addition, this period was during the Cold War when aerospace stocks soared. Herbert used his knowledge gained from the Navy to buy his first stock: Lear Jet. After the Navy, he decided to become an Optometrist and opened a private business, where he continued to work for 12 years. At the same time, he developed a chemical neutralizer that could be used to bring your tinted lenses back to their original color. With this he earned the money he later started investing seriously.  

What makes Wertheim unique as an investor?

Like Warren Buffett, Wertheim emphasizes that you should only invest for the long term and in companies you understand. In addition, Mr. Wertheim looks for companies with strong management and prefers those that pay regular dividends.

Thanks to his technical background, he managed to invest in Apple, Microsoft and aircraft parts developer Heico during their IPO. His investment in Heico grew his wealth the most, an initial $5 million stake has grown to over $900 million. What makes Wertheim unique as an investor is that he is primarily focused on the patents a company holds. This is one of the reasons for buying shares in so Heico, as well as Intel, IBM and 3M.

“If a stock keeps going down, and you believe in it and have done your research, you buy more. You actually get a better deal.”

An extraordinary outlook on life

That Herbert Wertheim is so fortunate is due to several things. Although he has been investing in stocks since his 18th birthday, achieving financial success was never his end goal. By his own admission, he has always strived simply to have more free time. In fact, he calls free time “the most precious thing there is.”

In addition, Mr. Wertheim believes you should use your wealth for positive purposes. “Making life on earth better” is therefore his life motto. This is especially reflected in the foundation he founded with his wife Nicole Wertheim. Through this foundation, the couple has made large donations mainly to universities. For example, he made a donation of a whopping $50 million to the University of Florida. This astronomical amount was used to build an engineering innovation building, among other things. He also gives away money to students in the form of scholarships and regularly works with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to raise money for charities.

In conclusion, what can we learn from Herbert Wertheim?

Stay positive: Despite having a difficult childhood, Herbert Wertheim continued to believe in a better future.

Start as young as possible: Because he started investing at a relatively young age, he was able to take advantage of compound interest, which increased his wealth to great heights later in life.

Gain as much knowledge and experience as possible: Through the knowledge Herbert gained in the Navy and through his studies, he gained knowledge that was essential to his success as an investor and entrepreneur.

From sharing, no one gets poor: Finally, the lesson that most typifies Herbert Wertheim. Wealth represents much less if you keep it to yourself. Through his foundation, Herbert was able to make a big impact on many people.