First Jobs of Financial Geniuses

Everybody starts somewhere — and usually it’s not at the top of the food chain.

In fact, some people start at the bottom of one, like Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson.

He says:

My first job, like so many of my fellow Americans, was slinging hamburgers at McDonald’s. Fun fact: Burgers were 15 cents and, if memory serves, I was making $1.65 an hour.

Reuters took a look at the humble beginnings of four “Wall Street legends,” and I rounded out their list with a few more names you know:

  • T. Rowe Price chairman and chief investment officer Brian Rogers started as a retail stock boy for a greeting card and stationery store called Suburban Quality Shop. He says his first raise (15 cents) was “way better than my best bonus at T. Rowe Price.”
  • Ariel Investments vice chairman and director of research Charles Bobrinskoy began his career selling cups of Coke at Chicago Cubs games. He eventually got promoted to selling peanuts and hot dogs.
  • Metropolitan Capital Advisors co-founder and president Karen Finerman’s first gig was as a gofer for Creative Artists Agency, which she says “basically involved a whole lot of nothing.” At least it wasn’t an unpaid internship. She made $5 an hour.
  • Drexel Hamilton president Jim Cahill’s entrepreneurial spirit manifested around age 12, when he started shining shoes for a dime and selling 2-cent newspapers outside bars and restaurants with a 150 percent markup.
  • New York City mayor and Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg paid his college tuition partly with a job as a parking lot attendant.
  • Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and fellow billionaire T. Boone Pickens both got their start running newspaper routes.
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates has probably the most predictable first job on the list: At 15, he was a computer programmer for a company called TRW, which built spacecraft.

As for me — not that I’m a financial genius yet, but just for posterity’s sake — my first job was also at 15, as a stock boy for a local shoe store. What was yours? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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