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Trading Shuffleboard For The Big Board

Irving Kahn, the oldest living stockbroker at age 107, loves his work. Shouldn't we all?

I found myself going back to a neat interview on CNN recently. 

Irving Kahn, who began investing in 1928, is still at it, 85 years later, at the age of 107. 

My initial thoughts after viewing were:  1) If I am still going in to work 50 years from now my wife will kill me and; 2) Good for him.

His longevity is remarkable. 

The Founder and Chairman of Kahn Brothers for over 30 years, Mr. Kahn describes himself as a value investor, holding 20 or so stocks for clients over the (in his case really)long haul.   In his office a Bloomberg terminal gathers dust.   He owns a cell phone, “So I don’t forget my number.” I am sure he has outlived most of his clients, and many of their children.   Two of his own children who worked for him are retired. 

One of Mr. Kahn’s sons says what Dad values most is “an office, a job and responsibilities.”

I found that compelling.  It’s clear that much of Mr. Kahn’s identity is tied to his career, but it is his deal now.  As a middle aged father I look forward to the day that work is purely on my terms and that I go in because I want to, not because I have to. 

I am also struck by what the video doesn’t explicitly show.  For example, besides the clients he has helped reach their dreams, I can’t imagine how many people he has mentored in the business.

We all want to have a voice and a life with meaning, both personally and professionally.   I love my career for two reasons: 1) No two days are ever the same, with each day an opportunity to learn and meet new people; 2) Everything that goes on in our world relates in some way to the financial markets, from the toys my children use to the cars my neighbors buy. 

Everyone has a story.  Our business is about collecting stories in the hopes of being able to connect with clients and say, “I have been there, here’s how I can help.”

Guys like Irving Kahn have two lifetimes of stories.  I would love to hear more. 

And hopefully I am around to tell more.

Thanks for reading and I would enjoy hearing from you either in the comment section or at wlg@trustcoil.com.

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