At the time of his death in 1525, German banker Jacob Fugger was worth $400 billion, which represented a whopping 2% of Europe’s GDP at the time. This according to a recent article in MarketWatch.
The article outlines some of the billionaire’s secrets:
- Invest when others fear. In backing Archduke Sigmund of Tyrol when the duke’s usual bankers turned him down, Fugger “locked up the concession for the largest silver mine on earth.”
- Be indispensable. Too big to fail, the article says, “isn’t a modern invention.” Fugger’s borrowers knew that he could access large sums of money in short order and, while they didn’t like his terms, they “couldn’t live without him.”
- Know the facts. Fugger “understood the value of good information.” He created the world’s first news service and used it to find out about market-moving events before others.
- Get a good education. Fuggar spent years in then-capital city Venice to gain knowledge, experience and business connections.
- Keep cool. When faced with precarious business situations, Fuggar kept his powder dry.
- Give something back. Fuggar is well known, the article says, for creating the “world’s first affordable housing project. He thought anyone who worked deserved to have a roof over their head.”