Billionaire Leon Cooperman started with nothing: ‘I had negative net worth’

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman wasn’t all the time wealthy.

The Omega Family Office chairman/CEO was born to working-class Polish immigrants and grew up in a one-bedroom residence in New York City’s South Bronx neighborhood. His father was a plumber.

“I’m the first generation in my family born in America, first generation to go to college,” Cooperman, 77, mentioned in a CNBC interview on Tuesday evening.

“All of my education is public-school-based.”

He graduated from Hunter College, a public school that’s a part of the City College of New York, and went to Columbia Business School, because of a National Defense Act pupil mortgage. He received his MBA in 1967 and landed his first job at Goldman Sachs.

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“I started my career on Wall Street with a 6-month-old kid [and] a negative net worth because I had student loans and no money in the bank,” Cooperman mentioned.

After 25 years, he left Goldman Sachs and in 1991 started his personal hedge fund, Omega Advisors.

In 2018, he converted it right into a household workplace, saying he did not wish to spend the remainder of his life chasing the S&P 500. The 12 months prior, Omega Advisors agreed to a $4.9 million settlement with the SEC after allegations of insider buying and selling. Omega admitted to no wrongdoing.

These days, Cooperman has a net value of $2.5 billion, in keeping with Forbes. He additionally mentioned he solid his vote for former Vice President Joe Biden for president.

“I’m voting my values, not my pocketbook,” mentioned Cooperman, noting that he’d turn out to be richer if President Donald Trump wins reelection and would turn out to be poorer if Biden wins. A day after Election Day, the race remains to be up within the air.

Cooperman can also be dedicated to giving a whole lot of his cash away. In 2020, he signed the Giving Pledge, a dedication by rich philanthropists to donate a majority of their wealth to charity. The pledge was organized by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

“I made a lot of money, I’m giving it away,” Cooperman mentioned.

“That’s the American Dream,” he added. “I want to give others the opportunity to live the American Dream.”

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are traders in Acorns.

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