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Dr. Winston Allen

5/5/16

Dr. Allen has written a second book entitled “A Purposeful and Meaningful Life”.  In that book he advocates pursuit of something you are passionate about and really want to do.  He cites his own history as an example of such a course. 

Dr. Allen grew up in Harlem. His initial exposure to education was at a totally dysfunctional elementary school.  A salvation was his home schooling and later attending the New York School of Music and Art where he was a piano major.  Still, music was not a long-term goal, but making money was.  This led him to NYU where he majored in economics and earned a master’s degree. 

  Notwithstanding this advancement in his education, Dr. Allen felt he needed exposure to the world outside of New York.  He applied for a Fulbright Scholarship and won it, which allowed him to study at the Sorbonne in Paris France.  Some travel difficulties with the originally planned transportation to France were resolved when he and fellow Fulbright scholars flew over arriving five days earlier than scheduled.  

The Fulbright administrators filled in the extra time with trips to Omaha Beach as well as other interest spots around France.  This instilled in Dr. Allen a thirst for travel, which was accommodated by the introduction of the Euro Pass.  This allowed him to travel extensively for the modest fee of thirty dollars a month.  Dr. Allen attributes this to opening up his eyes to the various and differing ways that cultures deal with economic issues.

A happenstance meeting with a friend in Paris introduced him to the monetary advantages of securities trading.  He pursued it when he returned to the U.S. and obtained a license to operate as an independent broker-dealer.  When he began to use his license, he discovered that he had a knack for selling and steadily grew his business.  Eventually, the business volume became too much for one person so he advertised for trainees.  After obtaining suitable candidates he gave them a crash course to help them pass their Series 7 securities examination.  All of them passed and Dr. Allen started a business called Creative Investor Services.  This too grew until there were fifty traders by 1968 and Dr. Allen not only headed up the firm but was teaching as a college professor at Fordham University.  This resulted in a New York Times feature article about him in the Times business section.

After the Times article he was contacted by Xerox Corporation and eventually offered the position of head of its training facility.  He held this position for ten years while still maintaining his outside business.

After leaving business he became interested in real estate as a possible item to trade like securities and started the first real estate syndications.  This business lasted until the change in the tax code in 1985/86, which resulted in the loss of tax advantages that had been a major selling feature.

Dr. Allen attributes his success in these ventures to his high motivation in each instance.  He states that change is inevitable, but motivation is crucial.  

Q&A

Q.  What was your greatest take-away from your experience at the Sorbonne?

A.  It taught me that the world is so much larger than you could ever imagine based on your personal history and that there are so many differing factors that affect the economy.

Q.  Is Ruby your partner in making decisions?

A.  Ruby is my partner in everything.