Bernard Baruch was born to a Jewish family in Camden, South Carolina on August 19, 1870 to Belle (nee Wolfe) and Simon Baruch, a physician. He was the second of four sons, including brothers Herman B. Baruch, Sailing W. Baruch, and Hartwig N. Baruch.
In 1881 the family moved from Camden to New York City, where Bernard and his brothers attended local schools. He studied at and graduated from the City College of New York. Baruch married Annie Griffin, an Episcopalian, of New York. They had three children: Belle Baruch; Bernard Baruch Jr.; and Renee Baruch.
In his two-volume 1957 memoirs, My Own Story, Baruch left us with the following timeless rules for playing the game:
“Being so skeptical about the usefulness of advice, I have been reluctant to lay down any ‘rules’ or guidelines on how to invest or speculate wisely. Still, there are a number of things I have learned from my own experience which might be worth listing for those who are able to muster the necessary self-discipline:”
Bernard Baruch: 10 Rules of Investing
- Don’t speculate unless you can make it a full-time job.
- Beware of barbers, beauticians, waiters — of anyone — bringing gifts of “inside” information or “tips.”
- Before you buy a security, find out everything you can about the company, its management and competitors, its earnings and possibilities for growth.
- Don’t try to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. This can’t be done — except by liars.
- Learn how to take your losses quickly and cleanly. Don’t expect to be right all the time. If you have made a mistake, cut your losses as quickly as possible.
- Don’t buy too many different securities. Better have only a few investments which can be watched.
- Make a periodic reappraisal of all your investments to see whether changing developments have altered their prospects.
- Study your tax position to know when you can sell to greatest advantage.
- Always keep a good part of your capital in a cash reserve. Never invest all your funds.
- Don’t try to be a jack of all investments. Stick to the field you know best.