The Only Real “Secret” to Making Millions in the Market

Investing Strategies

Can you really get rich in the stock market?

We all see ads and pitches about secret systems that can make us rich in no time.

According to some ads, these systems have produced hundreds of triple-digit short-term winners in a row. Using these magical systems, you can make the money you need to avoid the evils of government agencies and elected officials.

I am a huge fan of avoiding government agencies and officials. I will not even live in a neighborhood with an HOA due to my “issues” with authority.

However, I am still waiting to meet the first millionaire from one of these services. To be fair, I have met a bunch of millionaires who have sold these services.

I have met a few people who have made tens of millions of dollars trading the markets.

Most of them use complex, ever-changing math formulas powered by arrays of supercomputers or some form of longer-term trend following enormous amounts of leverage. None of them would sell their strategies to the public for a few thousand bucks a year.

However, you can get rich in the stock market. It takes time, common sense, and some discipline, but people do it all the time…

Businessman watering plants on stacks of coins

If you ever find yourself in Miami and see a couple skipping along the ocean front and the older gentleman is wearing a bright red hat, chances are you are about to meet Herb Wertheim.

Herb was born in Philadelphia in 1939 to a working-class Jewish family that had escaped Nazi Germany. In 1945, the Wertheim clan moved to Hollywood, Florida, and lived over the bakery they opened after arriving in the Sunshine State.

Herb and I have a lot in common. We both found many things we would rather do than drop into high school for bothersome stuff like classes and tests.

This little quirk eventually led to Herb being arrested for truancy. The judge gave him the then-popular choice of jail or the Navy, and Herb wisely chose the Navy.

The Navy placement exams revealed that Herb was quite intelligent, but dyslexic. He studied physics and chemistry and ended up working in naval avionics.

While in the Navy, he began investing his excess cash. His first purchase was shares of Lear Jet, since, given his career field, he was very familiar with the company.

After the Navy, he attended Brevard Community College before attending the University of Florida to earn a degree in electrical engineering. He eventually earned an optical engineering degree and a Doctor of Optometry from the Southern College of Optometry.

Herb had a successful career as an eye doctor and inventor. At every step along the way, he lived within his means and invested his excess cash.

Herb is a big believer in innovation and technology, so he bought Apple and Microsoft early on and increased his stake every time they sold. He bought stocks like British Petroleum (BP) and General Electric Co. (GE) when everyone hated them.

He preferred stocks that paid dividends that could be reinvested. Herb only sold shares if the business took a prolonged turn for the worse.

He has an oceanfront home in Coral Gable, a ranch in Vail, Colorado, a place on the Thames in London, and two wine country estates in California.

He and his wife live part of the year on the World Residences at Sea.

He is a big believer in education, so the family name is all over the campus of Florida International University.

Herb had a decent business career. He got “Name on the Medical School Building, hanging out with Martha Stewart, skiing with Buzz Aldrin rich,” buying great companies at reasonable prices and never selling.

Then there is Anne Scheiber; She worked for 23 years for the Internal Revenue Service. Anne Scheiber never made more than $4,000 a year.

She lived simply, even frugally, even her entire life. She invested regularly in the stock market. When she retired in 1944, she had a whopping $5,000 to her name.

When she died in 1995, she left a fortune of $22 million to Yeshiva University in New York City. She bought dividend-paying stocks and never sold them.

I realized this is less exciting than a secret system that can give never-ending lightning-fast triple-digit winners and create seven-digit wealth in very short order.

I also know that some folks do not have another thirty or forty years to compound and must catch up quickly. You can use a variation of the theme involving smaller companies to grow wealth rapidly and help you achieve your goals before it is too late.

It is not a secret system. It is paying great prices for good companies with solid credit and holding them for a long time. It is adding as much cash as possible to the positions when markets are scary. It is not obsessing over every little tick in the market and trying to trade magic patterns.

Go look for all the patient, aggressive investors on the Forbes 400 list or wealthiest people. It will not take you long. Buffet, Icahn, Kravis, David Tepper, Beal, Singer -dozens of billionaires got rich by buying stocks and real estate when they were undervalued and holding for a long time.

Now find me the magic pattern billionaires.

I will wait right here and reread Don Quixote and In Search of Lost Time.

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