Some of the most famous financial advisors include legendary investors who share their knowledge with the masses, television celebrities who write books and infamous swindlers. Ten of them are discussed below.
Benjamin Graham is known as the father of value investing. His 1949 book “The Intelligent Investor” is considered to be a must-read for all asset managers and stock traders. He did not teach investors how to pick the latest hot trends. Instead, his approach relies on diligent research, thorough financial analysis and patience. Graham’s disciples include many of the most successful investors of the last 70 years.
Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha," is one of Graham’s most famous followers. However, the one rule of Graham's that Buffett does not follow is to diversify. He prefers to concentrate investments in companies based on strong opinions. After providing significant profits to his original partners, Buffett went public with the acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) in late 1964. A $1,000 investment in Berkshire Hathaway in 1964 is worth more than $11.6 million today, for an annual growth rate of 20.04%.
Peter Lynch managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund (“FMAGX”) from 1977 to 1990. During his tenure, he provided investors with a 29% annual compounded rate of return. After leaving the fund, Lynch wrote three best-selling books detailing his investment philosophy and stressing that small investors are capable of doing better in the stock market than large asset managers.
Dave Ramsey is a radio and television personality who has written five best-selling books. On "The Dave Ramsey Show," he takes calls from people with financial problems and talks them through the solutions. His underlying philosophy is debt-free living. He counsels people on concrete steps to get out of debt and never get into debt again.
An Emmy award-winning television host and best-selling author of multiple books, Suze Orman is known for her brash and pushy style that she delivers with a smile. One of her trademarks is to explain to people wanting to make a major discretionary purchase that they just can’t afford it. Her television show, appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Today Show," and column in "O" magazine, have made her one of the most famous and recognizable financial advisors of all time.
As a commentator on CNBC and host of "Mad Money," Jim Cramer is known for his ability to have an opinion on any stock or economic matter at a moment’s notice. Mad Money is a loud and very fast-paced show. In the midst of the seeming chaos, Cramer dispenses solid practical information mirrored in the content of his best-selling books.
The author of the best-selling book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is a frequent guest on many television shows. He has sold more than 10 million books. His philosophy is to create passive streams of investment income and grow them until they can support you.
The well-known actor and host of Comedy Central’s "Ben Stein’s Money" is a former economist and law professor. His Hollywood persona makes him a sought-after guest on various financial news shows. His advice and opinions are straightforward and to the point.
Charles Ponzi did not invent the pyramid scheme. His version of the pyramid scheme was based on the international trading of coupons and postage stamps for profit, raising money from new investors to pay returns to old investors and pocketing a significant portion of the proceeds for himself. His multimillion-dollar theft was so audacious for its time that all subsequent scams of a similar nature bear his name.
Bernie Madoff is Charles Ponzi’s most infamous disciple. Madoff ran a legitimate securities firm and was chairman of the NASDAQ for three years. He used this as a front for the creation of a hedge fund division that was a total fraud. His story was so good that thousands of wealthy and famous people invested in his fund. Some of the largest investors were other hedge funds. A liquidity crisis brought on by the 2008 financial crisis exposed the fund as being a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.