At the peak of his career in 1929 Jesse Livermore was worth at least $100 million.
People sometimes ask how much that’s worth in today’s money.
As a rule of thumb, a dollar in 1929 was worth 10 to 100 times what it’s worth today – and Jesse’s fortune would have amounted to between 1.1 and 14.0 billion dollars in today’s money – a remarkable feat for a self-made stock and commodities trader who traded with his own money, not other people’s.
To assess Jesse’s fortune more scientifically, the measuringworth calculator gave the following results for today’s value of $100 million in 1929:
- $1.27 billion using the Consumer Price Index
- $1.02 billion using the GDP deflator
- $2.27 billion using the value of consumer bundle
- $3.89 billion using the unskilled wage
- $5.51 billion using the nominal GDP per capita
- $14 billion using the relative share of GDP
In terms of the lifestyle Livermore’s wealth bought, Patricia Livermore, Jesse Livermore’s daughter-in-law gave a fascinating interview in 1990 for a documentary about the crash of 1929. Here’s part of what she said about the Livermore lifestyle:
“They had a beautiful place on 76th Street in Manhattan on the West Side, off Central Park. They had a floor at 813 Fifth Avenue because Dorothea did not like to go to the West Side to change her clothes. They had a house in Great Neck. They had a summer house in Lake Placid. They had a house in Palm Beach. They had a private railroad car, two yachts – the only yacht that was bigger was J. P. Morgan’s. And they used one of them, the big one, very frequently when they went to Europe. They lived very comfortably.”
“Jesse Livermore had a ticker tape in every home that he owned, on his railway cars, on his yachts.
“They had several Rolls Royces, lots of chauffeurs. They had a staff of about 20 or 25 and in each place, in each house, see, and with the exception of Dorothea’s personal maid, they did not take their staffs with them. They simply kept them year-round in all their establishments.
“Oh, they lived. They really lived… Mrs. Livermore was a spender. And, of course, she loved to buy. She spent her days buying and buying and buying…””