CEO Worth More Than $1.4 Billion Once Worked as a Caddie

October 20, 2015

Kids, it pays to be a caddie.

CEO Mario Gabelli has golf to thank for sparking his initial interest in the stock exchange, OneWire reports in an interview. As a kid growing up in the Bronx, Gabelli worked as a caddie for businessmen who’d come to the course to talk stocks.

Despite being only 12 years old at the time, the golf club assumed he was old enough to work. Gabelli, now 73, listened in on the financial conversations of the men he caddied for, sometimes hitchhiking to get home so that he could stay there longer. Those conversations led him to make his first investment—at the age of 13.

Gabelli is the CEO and founder of GAMCO Investors and graduated from Fordham University and the Columbia Business School. Believe it or not, being an underage caddie wasn’t even his first job. Gabelli, who earned upward of $80 million last year, says he joined the workforce at six, as a shoe shiner at the train station.

Lessons: Always tip your caddie well, and that 12-year-old might be your boss one day.