Warren Buffet & Jesse Livermore started investing full time in their teens (Warren started at 8 but the track record starts later maybe late teens or twenties, Jesse started at 14 I began the track record estimate at 16), George Soros started in his 30s, Jim Simons started in his 40s and his monstruous medallion fund was launched on his 50th year.
For Jesse Livermore I looked at Dow Jones dividends reinvested returns from 1893 to 1930 which were about 11%, and he managed to grow to 10k in 1893, made 100 million in 1929 (so he had 100,000k + x) so he made at the very least 30% a year... Why I placed him at 18-19% over the stock market returns, but it is possible he made more than this. In any case he got better results than Soros.
Special mention: Carl Ihcan got returns of 26% from 1968 to 2011 versus Buffet 20% (or at least that's the book value of Berkshire), while the S&P with dividends reinvested over that period produced 9.5% so Buffet overperformed by a little over 10% and Ihcan by 16% putting him above Warren Buffet (but for less long) and close to Jesse Livermore & George Soros. But since then Ihcan has done terribly, so Warren Buffet is still numero .
Jim Simons secretive medallion fund made 66% a year over 30 years so that's an overperformance of pretty much 55%.
This is not where all his money is, and the fund is capped so there won't be growth futher (for medallion fund, but overall he'll still make lots of money via medaillion flat gains & his other funds).
The overrall perf is so off the charts anyway that in any case he is clearly number 1.
In the game we got:
- An overwhelming majority of sheep shadowing the stock market and making sure they perform same as the rest of the herd every quarter
- Alot of fundamental investors (including short sellers like Jim Chanos I guess)
- A couple of value investors
- A handful of speculators (why bother if you can't beat the stock market anyway? Investors that speculate on the side to reduce portfolio not included)
- A herd of retail traders that look at oversold indicators, fight obvious trends, and think they'll beat Livermore that could read & write at 3 years old
- 1 secretive mathematician/geometrist/pattern recognition master (wink wink) that finds patterns in enormous amounts of data
- Hundreds of day trading educators that claim they can massively outperform a one in 100 million genius that gets his edge from seeing things others cannot
At 38-39 he turned 145,000 into at least 3 million in 1 year playing the market perfectly buy when it went up and shorted as it went down (1916), so that's a 2000% return via speculation.
In the years before 1916 he went broke and even got big debts, he said that this period was very bad "no money to be made" "flat markets".
We might have more markets now but everything is correlated, some periods there are plenty of easy pickings, some periods it's going to be buy & hold a low return asset at best.
Since the inception of stock markets there are a lot of people saying it is impossible to make money anymore because of this and that. The thing is, it is nowadays easier than ever to learn finance and the markets for yourself using the internet and all it offers (and I do not mean those YouTube fake gurus). Knowledge is available everywhere at nearly no cost and trading platforms got so cheap to trade on everyone can try it. That means there are a lot more possible good traders to compete with you. Times change. You cannot compare the early 20th century or even the 60s, 70s, 80s to today. The digitization changed the world and thus the way people trade and the stock market behaves. That does not mean there won't be opportunities or it will be impossible to live off it. The only real problem I see (and that is not only valid for the stock markets) is AI. AI will be better in every fucking aspect of human life and labor including creative stuff like music and art. And I do not mean the current machine learning basic AIs. I mean Artificial General Intelligences which are still 2-3 decades away. That is the only possible problem I foresee for markets.