Billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman keeps his life simple.
- 5:10 AM: Wakeup
- 5:45 AM: Leave house in New Jersey.
- 6:40-45 AM: Get into the office in midtown NYC.
- 5:30 PM: Leave office.
- 6:00 PM: Dinner with a client or company.
- 8:00 PM: Go home. Take a shower. Log into Bloomberg terminal to check on China, Japan, Eurodollar, Dollar/Yen, and other headlines. Go to bed.
“This is my life,” Cooperman told Bloomberg View’s Barry Ritholtz on a podcast. “I said earlier on, ‘Do what you love. Love what you do.’ You can’t possibly work at this pace and this engagement if you didn’t like what you did.”
Cooperman, 72, explained that even if he retired he would still be doing the exact same thing.
“You know what I say the difference with me and retirement would be one word — and that one word would be ‘investors.’ If I did not have investors, I would do exactly what I’m doing now, but I probably couldn’t afford, not probably, I couldn’t afford it because I’m too cheap … No, I say it seriously.”
$3.7 billion. He’s someone who grew up with very little and worked hard. He’s just not a materialistic kind of guy.
He owns two homes — one in Short Hills, New Jersey, and one in Boca Raton, Florida. (It looks like he sold the Boca home last month. He’s building a new home there.) He also noted that he actually spends a lot of time working in Florida.
He also owns a total of four cars and they’re all old or used.
At the Florida home, he has a 2002 Lexus convertible and a 2002 Lexus sedan. Back in Jersey, he keeps a 2008 Lexus all-wheel-drive sedan, and he just bought a used Volkswagen Passat. The used Passat has Bluetooth and it makes him “feel like a rich man” because his other three cars can’t do that.
Ritholtz pointed out that he could just replace those cars.
“I don’t drive a lot, and I’m told that a 2002 Lexus LS430 was the best Lexus they made. I’ve got 80,000 miles on it. It drives like a new car. And I’d rather give the money to charity.”
He said he wouldn’t tell Ritholtz how much he gives away to charity every year, but he noted that it’s “millions of dollars.”
He said at the end of the day, he doesn’t place “much value” on things like new cars.
He doesn’t need flashy clothes either.
“I’m not a clothes horse. For obvious reasons, I’m overweight. And you know, I have the clothes I need … I dress properly. I dress adequately. Though, I laugh … [SkyBridge Capital’s] Anthony Scaramucci said publicly somewhere that I was the ‘worst-dressed billionaire’ he ever met. And I said to him, ‘multi.’ He jokes about that all the time. I actually think I’m pretty well dressed.”
It makes sense why Cooperman, the 462nd richest person in the world, has this mindset. It goes back to his background.
He grew up poor in the South Bronx. His father was a plumber.
His parents were also immigrants, and he was the first of his generation to graduate from college. He attended Hunter College in Manhattan and later graduated with his MBA from Columbia.
When he finished school, he had no money, student loan debt, and a wife and 6-month-old baby.
He ended up going to work for Goldman Sachs, where he stayed for 25 years and became a partner and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
After Goldman, he founded hugely successful hedge fund, Omega Advisors.
He has also donated millions to charity and to his alma maters. Cooperman and his wife, Toby, a recently retired teacher who taught special-needs children in New Jersey for 25 years, have also signed Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ “Giving Pledge” — a promise to donate a majority of their wealth to charity when they die.