Business

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Several weeks ago, Irving Kahn was invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. The occasion was his 100th birthday. Kahn has been working on Wall Street since 1928, right before the stock market crash.

Mr. IRVING KAHN (Certified Financial Analyst): My first trade, I sold 50 shares of (unintelligible) copper, because the copper starts usually at the peak of the bubble. And they all told me I'd lose my $300 but I didn't, I doubled it. I don't say that because I was smart, I wasn't smart. But even a dumb young kid could see these guys were gambling and they were all borrowing money and having a good time and being right for a few months. And after that, you know what happened.

WERTHEIMER: Early in his career, Kahn was an assistant to the legendary writer and teacher Ben Graham, who influenced a whole generation of investors, including Warren Buffett. Kahn still believes in Graham's principles of value investing.

KAHN: You've got to control your investments according to what's behind the stock, in hard cash or whether they have very little debt, or whether they have smart management or stupid management, and above all, whether the managers themselves have any of the stock. If they don't, keep away from it.

WERTHEIMER: Kahn still comes to work every day at the investment management firm started by his family. On warm days he walks to work from his apartment in Manhattan. Longevity runs in the Kahn family. He has a younger brother, who is 95 and an older sister, she's 104. Another sister passed away last year at 100.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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