The son of a jazz musician, Ray Dalio grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y., in the ’50s and purchased his first stock at the age of 12 with money he earned as a golf caddy. That stock was Northeast Airlines, and his shares would quickly triple in value.
It’s no wonder that he was interested in more investment opportunities as he got older. He went to Long Island University and clerked at the NYSE before attending Harvard Business School. Early jobs included working for Dominick and Dominick LLC and Shearson Hayden Stone.
In 1973, Dalio started Bridgewater Associates, his own hedge fund, out of a small New York City apartment. Today, 46 years later, it’s the largest hedge fund in the world with a portfolio value of more than $12.5 billion.
According to Forbes Magazine, Dalio’s net worth was $18.6 billion as of January 2019.
“While you can have virtually anything you want, you can’t have everything you want,” Dalio describes in his 2017 book, Principles: Life & Work.
“Life is like a giant smorgasbord with more delicious alternatives than you can ever hope to taste. Choosing a goal often means rejecting some things you want in order to get other things that you want or need even more.”
In other words, you need to give up some things in life to take chances at the things you really want, and this was a philosophy the financier has practiced all his life.
He also self-published a 123-page volume, Principles, which outlines his philosophy of investment and corporate management based on a lifetime of observation, analysis and practical application through his hedge fund.