When the recession hit the United States in 2008, the stock market plummeted, people lost their savings, and many people lost their jobs as companies failed on insidermonkey.com. It was said that things had not been so bad since the Great Depression, which decimated the country in the 1930s, after the prosperity of the 1920s – famously known as the Roaring 20s. In a lot of ways, the prosperity of the 1990s was the front-runner to this downturn of the market, but people did not predict that it would happen. In any case, the recession made things very tough from an economic standpoint, and only the best were able to make it through unscathed.
That’s what makes Citadel LLC’s Ken Griffin on turtletrader so impressive. In his 40s, he’s already one of the richest men in the country. He’s been on the move for years, and he seems to have made it through the recession without missing a beat. Sure, he did have some losing ventures at that time, as everyone did, but he by no means allowed it to destroy the financial empire he was creating. Now, with things getting better again, it stands to reason that he’ll be able to renew his growth at an unprecedented rate.
Even more impressive is that Griffin works in finance and investing. After all, Citadel LLC is a company known as a hedge fund. It helps other investors protect themselves and increase their own wealth. This emphasis on protection was huge in 2008. Hedge funds often gain more than standard investments, but what they really do well is that they tend to lose far less. They’re set up to never fail, even if that means not taking as many risks as some investors would like. In 2008, when the market fell so quickly, these protections were what really made hedge funds helpful.
Griffin, knowing perhaps better than anyone how this worked, was able to protect his own fortune. He was able to stride through the hard economic times and come out the other side with seemingly very little trouble.
In fact, he did so well that he’s lately been giving away some of his money. This is a time when most people are saving as much as they can, but Griffin gave around $150 million to Harvard, the school that he used to attend. He didn’t give it to them to get anything back – though they did name a building after him – but just to provide scholarships to other students. This was a huge and helpful offering, but what it really does is to underscore just how well he is doing. He’s making so much that he can give away more money that most people will ever be able to earn in their lives.
There are many lessons to be learned from Griffin’s example, both in building wealth and protecting it. Anyone who is trying to get started in this industry – perhaps by attending Harvard – would be wise to study exactly what he has done.