Who Is: Jim Rogers

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Usually outspoken and often entertaining, you can count on commodities guru Jim Rogers for a non-conformist perspective.

Independence of thought and an eagerness to challenge conventional thinking are often considered essential to the successful investor, and few demonstrate these traits more strongly than Rogers.

Born in 1942 in Alabama, Rogers showed a flair for business as a child, collecting discarded bottles at baseball games. After winning a scholarship to Yale, he gained a second degree from Oxford. After a stint in the army he embarked on a career on Wall Street.

It was here that he met George Soros, and together they founded the Quantum Fund in 1973. Through the 1970s, this hedge fund gained 4,200% at a time when the S&P 500 index rose less than 47%. In 1980, at the age of 37, Rogers retired.

“Retirement” for Rogers was more active than most people’s working lives. Following a period of lecturing and some television work, he set out to learn more about the world by seeing it first-hand. After motorcycling through China and Russia in the late 1980s, he started his world tour in March 1990, eventually clocking up more than 65,000 miles on his BMWautomobile.

Rogers took the opportunity to talk to as many people as he could on his travels. His adventures are chronicled in his book, Investment Biker, and typical of the author, the book is not short of opinions.

A world tour by car followed from 1999 to 2001, which he documented in Adventure Capitalist.

Investment Style
Rogers’ style is to start with the macroeconomic and political situation, and understand the major trends in the world. He’s more concerned with being right about the macro, long-term, direction of play, than with short-term movements in the markets.

But unlike many “long-term, buy-and-hold” (LTBH) investors, he is more comfortable taking short-term losses, recognizing those losses as real and accepting them, rather than assuming they don’t matter: “There is no such thing as a paper loss. A paper loss is a real loss.”