The financial wellness secret Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary learned from his mom

Kevin O’Leary only learned about a secret investment account after his mother passed away, but the real lesson came from how she chose to invest that money.

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Kevin O'Leary with his mother Georgette in June 2007 in the backyard of their family home in Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Kevin O'Leary. 
As Kevin O’Leary explains in this episode of the Financial Grownup podcast, he got an unexpected call after his mom passed away. It was about her estate. The executor called him and informed him that his mom, who had been married twice, had a secret bank account that she kept from both of her husbands.

Kevin had always wondered about the source of her money, but it had remained a mystery up until that point.

He learned that she has a very specific investing strategy focused on security and and creating income. She had always saved more than 10 percent of her paycheck when she was young.

Photo courtesy of Kevin O’Leary

She invested half of the money in large cap dividend paying stocks. That created security and a steady stream of income. The other half of her money was in telecommunications bonds. Her reasoning was that no one would ever let their phone get disconnected by not paying their bills. O’Leary said his mother’s portfolio outperformed everybody else in the family over 50 years.

O’Leary also points out on the podcast that 70 percent of the returns of the stock market over the last 50 years have come from dividends, not capital appreciation. O’Leary says he never buys a stock that does not pay a dividend.

Her financial wellness mantra: never spend the principle, only the interest.

For more from Kevin and his mom, including his take on his mother’s wardrobe investments, listen to his episode on the Financial Grownup podcast.  
Photo in image courtesy of Kevin O’Leary

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