American Way You and your company have
been very active civically. Why?
SchwabI think it's incumbent upon successful
people - it's their responsibility. Helen [Schwab's wife] and I
spend zillions of dollars in not-for-profit activities, whether
it's on the homeless in San Francisco, addiction problems, or The
Museum of Modern Art. It's incumbent upon successful people to
offer support. That's why the government gives, in tax policy,
encouragement for making contributions.
American Way When you got out of Stanford
Business School, what attracted you to being entrepreneurial?
SchwabI guess I've always been entrepreneurial. I
was running a chicken operation when I was 12 [Schwab raised
chickens, sold eggs, and peddled chicken droppings for use as
fertilizer]. When you look back at that, it might have given you a
clue that this kid was destined for something [laughs]. I was
always a pretty enterprising kid.
Some of that comes out of having come out of the Depression years.
Certainly my parents did. They emphasized to me how difficult the
Depression was for them. I wanted to be different from that. I
didn't want my whole life being driven by fear, and there was only
one way to do that - which is hard work.
American Way What's the big issue in
SchwabWhom do you trust? That's a significant
issue for investors. People you once trusted you might not trust
anymore. What do you do now? Whom do you trust today?
The only way you can really under-stand whom you can trust is
through your own education. You've got to be involved. You need to
do research, reading, and arrive at your own understanding of key
issues. Talk to people; read newspapers and magazines.
Ask yourself, Who are the successful investors over a long period
of time? There's a wide range of people who are in business to
provide helpful, useful advice about portfolio diversification and
asset allocation. What would be success for me? You have to put
your expectations at reasonable levels, and you need to take a
long-term approach, where you understand what a successful
investment outcome over a lifetime means.