Tadas had this awesome article in his Saturday linkfest over at Abnormal Returns and then the Stock Rabbi tweeted it to me so I figured I may as well post it. The introduction to New York Magazine‘s story on how centenarian Jews live so long begins with Irving Khan’s story.
As an aside, New York Mag totally misses the boat on the secret of why Jews are living so long – everybody knows it’s because they drink the blood of Christian babies, duh!
Anyway, here goes…
Except for the occasional doctor’s appointment or bad cold, Irving Kahn hasn’t skipped a day of work in more years than he can remember. And he can remember plenty of them: He’s 105.
That record is vexing to his youngest son, Thomas Graham Kahn, who though 69 and president of Kahn Brothers, their brokerage and money-management firm, is still called Tommy. (Irving is chairman.) How can he take a vacation if his father won’t?
Instead, Tommy threatens to dock his dad for his short workday, which begins around ten and ends by three and often includes a nice bowl of soup. “It’s not like we have so many employees we can afford to have him shluf off,” Tommy says.
Tommy runs the business, which has about $700 million under management. But even though Irving, with his very short stature and very large glasses, looks a bit like a horned owl peering up from his desk—a desk that features both a computer and grip bars—he is no figurehead. His is still the corner office, 22 floors above Madison Avenue. (During the blackout of 2003, he walked down.) He gives or withholds the papal blessing on investment policy and reviews every transaction undertaken by the firm’s youngsters on behalf of clients.
The world’s oldest stockbroker, he first went to work on Wall Street in 1928. “This was before the Depression,” he says, then specifies which depression, as if I might confuse it with the one in the 1890s. Both are real to him; through a chain of memory leading back to his grandparents, Eastern European Jews who settled on the Lower East Side shortly before that earlier upheaval, he can almost touch the Civil War.
Read the rest: