Celebrating Dr. Bill Jervey

By BOB MUDGE

SENIOR WRITER

Want to retire at age 37? Here’s one way, though for most people it would require a time machine.

Start a business at age 9; buy your first stock at age 13; study business and economics in college before getting a Ph.D. in political science; and teach for 13 years to support your investing sideline.

Then you, too, can leave a tenured faculty position before turning 40 to concentrate on making money.

Your results may vary, but that method worked for Bill Jervey, the “mini-philanthropist,” as he calls himself, who donated a $1 million endowment to the new Venice Public Library.

There were some ups and downs along the way, but Jervey said he has never regretted his decision to quit teaching.

“It was so much more lucrative to spend time on the stock market,” he said.

‘One day …’

By happenstance, Jervey retired just before the stock market took off in what’s sometimes called the “Reagan boom.”

In less than a year, he said, he was a millionaire. He broke into seven figures on the same date that, 25 years earlier, he bought his first stock.

Then there was a market correction and he wasn’t a millionaire anymore. It took two years to recover, he said, but his net worth hasn’t dropped back into six figures since.

That the city of Venice has become the beneficiary of Jervey’s investing acumen can be attributed to his parents.

Like many Americans, the family vacationed in Florida every summer, usually on the east coast. But one year — Jervey thinks it was probably 1953 — his parents heard about a small town called Venice on the other side of the state.

They stayed at what is now the Inn on the Beach, and Jervey fell in love.

“I always thought, ‘One day I want to get back to Florida,’” he said.

It would take a while, but the next stop would be a crucial one.

 

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