Sir John Templeton

Sir John Marks Templeton was born in the small farming town of Winchester, Tennessee in 1912. The first person from his hometown to attend college, Templeton worked his way through Yale University along with the help of scholarships and graduated at the top of his class with a degree in economics. He then attended Oxford University for two years on a Rhodes Scholarship.

Upon completing his studies, the 24 year old Templeton set off on a tour of 35 countries with James Inksetter – a fellow Christian from Oxford. Through creative thrift the friends were able to complete their trip on a very modest budget. He was shocked by the degree of poverty he witnessed in Hong Kong and Calcutta.

Began his career at the Wall Street firm Fenner and Beane. Templeton held stocks for an average of four years and looked for bargains that were largely ignored.

In 1939 Templeton made his first major investment, borrowing money to buy 100 shares of each penny stock selling at $1 or less per share. His investment almost quadrupled in the space of 4 years.

Templeton married his first wife, Judith Folk, at the age of 25. He and his wife set a goal of saving 50% of their income – saving enough to allow Templeton to open his own firm.

In the 1960’s Templeton gave up his U.S. citizenship and moved to the Bahamas, where there is no income tax or investment tax.

Templeton prefered to use fundamental analysis rather than technical analysis in his investment decisions. He is famous for making investment decisions counter to what the herd is doing. For example, during the technology bubble of the late 1990’s, he is said to have made $86 million shorting Nasdaq stocks before the market crashed in 2000.

The Templeton Growth Fund, launched in 1954, was a pioneer in the global nature of it’s investments. The fund achieved annualised returns of 15 per cent a year until Templeton retired in 1992. That same year he sold his firm to the Franklin Group.

Templeton, an active philanthropist, set up the Templeton Prize in 1972 and the John Templeton Foundation in 1987, the same year he was knighted. He died at the age of 95 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Sir John Templeton Quotes

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on scepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.”

“An investor who has all the answers doesn’t even understand the questions.”

“Diversify. In stocks and bonds, as in much else, there is safety in numbers.”

“…success is a process of continually seeking answers to new questions.”

“People are always asking me where is the outlook good, but that’s the wrong question…. The right question is: Where is the outlook the most miserable?”

“If you begin with prayer, you will think more clearly and make fewer mistakes.”

“Focus on value because most investors focus on outlooks and trends.”

“Sell when you find a much better bargain to replace what you are selling.”