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Sir John Templeton

Sir John Templeton was a famous investor and philanthropist who was born in Tennessee and later became a British citizen. He was born on Nov. 29, 1912, and died on July 8, 2008.

Expanded Definition

Sir John showed the way when it came to investing abroad and was a model for discipline and patience when it came to confronting gut-wrenching volatility. He famously started building his fortune when he purchased shares of 104 companies in 1939 amid World War II-induced market panic -- all of which were trading for less than $1 per share and some of which were in bankruptcy. But because he diversified, focused on their future earnings power and not on market pessimism, and was willing to hold for the next five-plus years, Templeton's bets paid off big. He was one of the first foreign investors to focus on Japan, and he tread early into Russia.

This story and Templeton's life's work have influenced generations of international investors, including all of the advisors and analysts at Motley Fool Global Gains, and the book Investing the Templeton Way is recommended reading for every stripe of investor.

Sir John succeeded as an investor because of sound, fundamental research, the patience and discipline to hold stocks for years, a commitment to diversification, and a willingness to look where other investors would not.

Two of his most famous quotes are: "The best time to invest is when you have money. This is because history suggests it is not timing the markets that matters, it is time."

"To buy when others are despondently selling and to sell when others are avidly buying requires the greatest fortitude and pays the greatest ultimate rewards."

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