Helzberg Hall Kansas City Symphony

Mozart, Money Problems, and Voltaire

The spouse and I spent the evening at the Kansas City Symphony, with Rameau’s Suite from Dardanus, Mozart’s Number 31, and the Fauré Requiem on the program, all conducted by Bernard Labadie.  The first two, particularly, were marvelous, especially from our seats (we were in the center, third row).* As Mozart’s “Paris Symphony” reverberated throughout the hall, I…

Bust of Voltaire

Voltaire the Investor

How One of History’s Greatest Thinkers Amassed a Fortune

One of the people upon whom I have based the way I live my life is Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire, or Voltaire for short. Born on November 21st, 1694, he passed away on May 30th, 1778 after a long and extraordinarily successful life pushing for social reform and a more enlightened society, harshly criticizing superstition and slavery.  Besides the fact that we can thank him for heavily influencing the American Revolution and later, the French Revolution, we can look to his example for investing wisely.

Voltaire Generated Significant Sums of Passive Income Each Year from International Investments

As a young man, Voltaire was wise enough to realize that he would need to become financially independent if he were to speak the truth and remain unencumbered with the chore of making a living.  Thus, he purposely cultivated friendships and relationships with the Paris brothers and other wealthy bankers, who taught him how to invest, speculate in currencies and commodities, and manage his money.  As a result of his wisdom, Voltaire was a millionaire by the time he was 40 years old and maintained investments in ships that sailed the globe as part of international trade, art, and direct lending to customers (he was, in essence, a bank).

Furthermore, Voltaire stashed significant sums of money in many, many nations around the world, all earning profits, dividends, and interest in the local currency.  He did this so he could continue to live in comfort if he had to escape due to his political and social ideas, plus to protect himself against dependence upon any one economy.  In fact, he caused an enormous scandal because he betrayed his friend, the King, who had forbidden foreign bond ownership.  Voltaire was loyal to his own financial house, first and foremost.