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5 Questions With Jim Rogers

Global investor and author Jim Rogers answers five questions posed to him by CNBC on life, his investments and the lessons learnt from the Asian financial crisis.

Q: What's the best investment you've ever made?

A: My family. I came to parenting and family late after decades of thinking it was a terrible waste of time and money. Boy, was I wrong! I now know what a good investment I have made.

Investment guru Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, speaks at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on January 19, 2009
Mike Clarke | AFP | Getty Images
Investment guru Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, speaks at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on January 19, 2009

Q: How about the worst investment decision and how did it end up?

A: This is way back in 1970, when I was still new to markets and the business.
I had all my money in puts in January, which people thought was nuts. I sold my puts the day the market hit bottom and tripled my money.

Two months later, I sold short several companies — but in the next two months, markets kept rallying, stocks kept going up.

I was wiped out and lost everything. Interestingly, the companies I'd short also went bankrupt over the next two years, but I was wiped out first.

This episode taught me that i didn't know enough about markets and market timing.
I thought I was smart but I didn't know better.

Q. Do you think markets are becoming increasingly risky for individual investors?

A: No. The markets have changed little in the basic underlying situation.

Q: What were some of the key lessons learnt during the Asian Financial Crisis?

A: Do not borrow short and lend long. Beware of excess borrowing and excessive consumption.

Q: Who / what has been the biggest influence in your life?

A: Education. I came from a small town in Alabama, it was education that gave me what I have now. I did well enough to go to Yale, and then got a scholarship to Oxford. My education took me away from the small town where I'd grown up. Otherwise, I wouldn't know what I'd be doing now.

Jim Rogers is a successful global investor and author of several books, including 'A Bull in China', 'Hot Commodities' and his latest - 'A Gift to My Children'. He was co-founder of the highly successful global Quantum Fund in the 1970s, which gained 4,200 percent over a 10-year period. Rogers now resides in Singapore with his family.
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Watch Jim Rogers' Past Interviews on CNBC:

  • Gold Could Exceed $2,000: Rogers
  • More Upside for Euro-Dollar
  • Investors Must Own Real Assets: Rogers