From debt-ridden student loans to billionaire: the story of Leon G. Cooperman
Billionaire Leon Cooperman has come a long way since being the son of working-class immigrants from Poland, growing up in a one-bedroom apartment in the South Bronx. His father was a plumber. He was the first generation in his family to be born in the United States, and he was the first to go to college. He attended Hunter College where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He got a job as a quality control engineer at Xerox after college, then went to Columbia for his MBA and graduated. in 1967. After graduating from Columbia, Cooperman accepted a job with Goldman Sachs. He had a six-month-old child, student loan debt, and no money in the bank. Wall Street seemed like the best option for him to extricate himself from the proverbial bootstraps. Cooperman had negative net worth in 1967.
He spent 22 years in the Investment Research department. In 1989, he was appointed CEO and Chairman of the Asset Management department of Goldman Sachs. After 25 years at Goldman, Cooperman retired in 1991 to found his hedge fund Omega Advisors. In 2016, he was charged with insider trading by the SEC. He denied the charges and agreed to a $ 4.9 million settlement with the SEC. He converted Omega Advisors into a family office in 2018 and retired, realizing he was done chasing the S&P 500 in search of even more money.
These days, Cooperman has a net worth of $ 3.8 billion from his decades of work at Goldman Sachs and Omega. In a recent interview, he said he was voting his stocks, not his wallet in the 2020 presidential election. Cooperman mainly donated to Republican causes and criticized Democratic policies. He then admitted that he would be richer if Donald Trump were re-elected, but he voted for Joe biden independently.
Cooperman signed the Giving Pledge in 2010. In doing so, he said, “I made a lot of money, I give it away. It’s the American Dream. I want to empower others to live the American Dream. “