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Wayne Rogers

From Actor to Investment Manager


Who is Wayne Rogers: As another example of why working in financial services is attractive, Wayne Rogers is notable in two respects. First, he turned a deep interest in personal finance into a second career as a money manager. Then he leveraged the fame and contacts that he acquired in his first career as an actor to succeed in his new line of work.

Biography: Wayne Rogers was born in 1933 in Birmingham, Alabama. After years of minor roles in TV and movies, his first really big break as an actor came in 1972 at age 39, when he was cast as Dr. Trapper John McIntyre in the new TV series M*A*S*H. Though Rogers left the show after only 3 seasons, this is still the role for which he is best remembered. M*A*S*H became a huge hit that lasted 11 seasons, and which has been constantly airing in syndication since. In retrospect, Rogers acknowledges that his leaving the show, sparked by a dispute over his prominence in the scripts compared to co-star Alan Alda, was a mistake. Wayne Rogers' acting career went into immediate decline after this very brief peak.

The sputtering of his acting career was not ruinous, since Wayne Rogers had leveraged his earnings as an actor into vastly more wealth through highly successful investments, first in California real estate, then in stocks and bonds. Years before M*A*S*H, Rogers had shared an apartment with the more established Peter Falk, who lost a large sum through malfeasance by a business manager. This, plus other examples of even bigger Hollywood stars' losing vast sums through their own lack of financial acumen, reinforced Wayne Rogers' determination to take control of his own finances. In time, while still pursuing his own career as an actor, Rogers was managing money for friends in the business, notably Peter Falk, James Caan and Jack Webb.

By the late 1980s, Wayne Rogers' acting career essentially had ground to a halt, prompting him to focus full-time on investing, including setting up his own money management and investment advisory firm. With his reputation as an ace stock picker, as well as his residual fame as a TV star, he is a regular guest on cable TV programs devoted to money and investing, and he also frequently is the subject of articles and interviews in the financial press.

Lessons: The life of Wayne Rogers indicates how an interest in personal finance can lay the groundwork for later success in the financial services industry. Additionally, it shows the importance of focusing on saving and investing as a way to protect yourself against setbacks in your principal line of work, whatever it may be. When acting offers dried up, Rogers had ample wealth to make this turn of events at worst an inconvenience, and definitely not a crisis. Indeed, he turned it into an opportunity to launch what is arguably a much more successful second career.

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