The Market is a Fickle Mistress
Coming out of a family that lived through the Depression, Charles Schwab was taught the importance of frugality at an early age. With this motto, Schwab knew by his late-teens he wanted to get involved in investing.
In 1963, he launched Investment Indicators, a mutual fund based out of San Francisco. By 1967, his company saw marked growth and he began venturing out to other states. Texas was particularly unimpressed by this and ordered him to stop since he wasn’t registered to do business there. Schwab fought, but ultimately lost and had to reimburse each Texas investor. This was around the time the economy collapsed, leading to his financial ruin. The early 1970s were not particularly profitable years for Schwab. He had two more ventures fail. But 1975 resulted in a policy shift that forever altered the investment world. Brokerage houses now had control over the transaction rates they charged. He took his company, First Commander Corp, a traditional brokerage house, which he opened in 1971 with $100,000 borrowed from his uncle, and reconstructed it into Charles Schwab & Co. He claimed a new identity as a discount broker, dedicating himself to building a reputation as an ethical, reliable, and trustworthy individual and business. This positive image worked, and Schwab saw yearly profit growths of approximately 40%. Despite his many early failures, Schwab took them for what they were: learning experiences.