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Goodbye Sir John! Sir John Templeton – 1912 to 2008

Despite the fact that I never intended this to be a financial blog, given the recent market turbulence we have been financially-focused. Accordingly I would be remiss not to acknowledge the passing last week of Sir John Templeton, the brilliant contrarian who founded The Templeton Growth Fund and ran it until he sold it in 1992.  Here is a stat that will make your mouth water in this market:  $10,000 invested in The Templeton Growth Fund when he founded it in 1954 would have returned over $2 million by the time he sold it! 

Templeton had a talent for recognizing true value.  He bought Japanese stocks in the 1960’s when the Japanese brand meant “cheap and disposable”, and sold technology stocks in 2000 when others were still rushing in, correctly surmising that the market exuberance was not based on real value.

After he sold his fund he used his big brain to concentrate on philanthropy, eventually endowing his foundation with over $1.5 billion dollars to study what scientists and philosophers call “the big questions”.

And today’s investors might find Sir John’s words particularly insightful in the current market. “The time to buy is at the point of maximum pessimism”.  

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