I asked a wealthy client about the beginnings of his fortune. As a child, he accumulated $600 through odd jobs and gifts. While in college in the early 1960s, he invested this savings into the stock market. By the time he got out of school he had multiplied his stake into enough cash to support himself for years, travel to Europe, and finance his first business.
I remarked, “Even in the go-go bull market of the 60s, that is an amazing return. You must have made some very smart investments. Why didn’t you continue onto a career in investing?”
My client is not a modest or self-effacing man, but he does see events clearly. He replied, “I did make some good investments, but I was smart enough to know I was lucky.”
Maybe this is why we use the same word, fortune, for both “chance” and “wealth.”
See also, The Lucky Rich on this blog.