To become a successful investor, one must have a unique approach to the market. As pointed out in William Green’s 1999 Money article, John Templeton’s approach to his personal finances and investing both relate to thrift:
Templeton’s attitude toward money has always been distinctive. . . . Templeton calls tithing the “single best investment” anyone can make and claims to give away $10 for each dollar he spends on himself. Obsessively thrifty, he boasts that he still flies coach: “I’ve got a lot of better ways to spend my money than on a bigger seat.” As a fund manager, he was famous among his employees for writing notes on scraps of used paper, which he’d staple together into notepads: “I never thought it was wise to waste anything. After my education I had absolutely no money, and neither did my bride. So we deliberately saved 50 cents out of every dollar.”
Templeton employs the same philosophy when he invests. . . . It was Templeton’s miserly eye for a bargain that led him into foreign markets other Americans spurned. In the 1950s, when Japan’s economy was reeling and many Japanese stocks were trading at a P/E of three, he figured it was the world’s cheapest market. He snapped up unwanted gems like Hitachi and Fuji Film, betting 60% of his fund’s assets in a country ridiculed for producing cheap knockoffs. By 1980, exuberant investors were piling into Japanese stocks, and Templeton, looking for cheaper buys, had almost entirely cashed out. He’d quintupled his money.