The story of Adolf Merckle

Adolf Merckle was one of Germany’s richest business man. He developed his grandfather’s chemical wholesale company into Germany’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler, Phoenix Pharmahandel . He was educated as a lawyer,  but spent most of his time investing. He lived in Germany with his wife and four children.

In 2006, he was the world’s 44th richest man. Merckle’s group of companies employed 100,000 workers and had an annual turnover of 30 billion euros (around 39.9 billion U.S. dollars).

All this turned upside down after his business empire was plunged into difficulties due to the financial crisis. Merckle hit the headlines in 2008 when he suffered massive losses on investments he had made on movements of the share price in Volkswagen, Europe’s largest car company.

On Jan 06,2009 German news agency DPA reported that –  Merckle, 74, threw himself under a train at his hometown of Blaubeuren, a small town near southern Germany city of Ulm, and a railway worker found his body by the side of the track.

Before his death, he had been negotiating with banks for a bridging loan of 400 million euros (around 547 million U.S. dollars) to save his empire, which includes the pharmaceutical company ratiopharm and drugs maker Phoenix. That figure shows the depth of financial crisis he had.

The picture above shows the place where his body was found. What a tragic end to the life of one of the world’s richest man.


Here’s more -

In Jan 2009 , The national suicide preventing hotline in US reports that, calls have soared by as much as 60 per cent over the past year – many of the  calls were from people who have lost their home, or their job, or who still have a job but can’t meet the cost of living.

A 45-year-old businessman in Los Angeles murdered five members of his family before turning the gun on himself, saying in a suicide note that he had done so because of his troubling financial situation.

Karthik Rajaram, 45, who had made almost £900,000 on the London stock market, shot his wife, three children and mother-in-law in the head before shooting himself at the family home near Los Angeles.He did this after seeing his family’s fortune wiped out by the stock market collapse.

A 90-year-old Ohio widow shoots herself in the chest as authorities arrive to evict her from the modest house she called home for 38 years.

In Massachusetts, a housewife who had hidden her family’s mounting financial crisis from her husband sends a note to the mortgage company warning: “By the time you foreclose on my house, I’ll be dead. Then, Carlene Balderrama,  shot herself to death, leaving an insurance policy and the suicide note on a table.


Thousands commit suicide unable to bear the pressure and crisis, that mismanaged investments create.

Internet and newspapers report about people falling prey to financial frauds like ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes and money chains, eventually losing every penny they had earned.

Did you know that a small state like Kerala spends more than Rs 40 crores a day on lottery tickets alone?According to’s reporter Shantanu Guha Ray , Illegal lottery tickets account for atleast 60 per cent —Roughly Rs 7,200 crore — of the Rs 13,000 crore gambled every year on lottery tickets in India. All sections of the society are involved in this. I know doctors, HR consultants, engineers, stock market investors, Government officials,housewives and students who regularly put money in lottery tickets. Anyway, lottery tickets ( if you’re lucky to get an original one :) ) at-least gives you a chance to win.

There is another section of people who gets involved in money chains – where wealth gained by participants entering the scheme earlier, is the wealth actually lost by those coming later. In-spite of hearing about many schemes in which people have lost their wealth, India continues to be a happy hunting ground for such fraudulent operators. The root cause of all this can be brought under one head-Greed for money and  financial illiteracy.

This is exactly the reason why we will first discuss about the basic principles of money management . People spend lakhs to get a  doctor’s degree or a MBA from the most prestigious of  institutes. They spend a lot to pursue their hobbies such as music and salsa.  But when it comes to managing their money , they hardly make any effort to learn  at-least the basics , forget about gaining specialized knowledge !

The next chapter will take you through the basic principles of money management. These principles are important to everyone out there– housewives, businessmen,musicians, students, professionals , priests , social workers.. anyone who deals with money directly or indirectly.

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39 Responses to “The story of Adolf Merckle”

Jojo Joson

August 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm


We met today at Kaloor IT mission :) Hope you remember me.

Please publish some “inspiring” stories too – like that of Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch – to take the fear out :)

Also make sure to convey the message- “dont put all your eggs in one basket”

J Victor

September 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm

h ..

J Victor

September 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

right .. ‘putting eggs in one basket’ will be dealt with when we discuss ‘diversification of investments’.

Prahlad Mandal

October 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I have find out a good website to learn about share market basics. After reading Adlof’s story it become clear that everybody should have a knowledge on money management. Otherwise our wealth can bring danger to our life. Thank you for your good website.

Gori Shankar

October 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

best site on the web…!!!!
more intersting than FB

J Victor

October 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm

thanks !!!!!!


December 15, 2012 at 1:07 am

Being a fresher i was reading this lesson with very excitement.But now,to b very frank i am really shocked !!! It might be happen that in most cases peoples would become failure due to so many reasons but if the lesson could have been started with lots of enthusiastic or motivational story it might b helps us a lot……thanks


December 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hi got good information, but i didnt understand your principle. First you said that investing in banks will be a great loss due to inflation and tax and altlas you are saying savings is important ? Can u explain me ?

Leonard D'lima

January 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

nice article

J Victor

January 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm


Ashwin D

March 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Good stuff… You should write a book…

Jeevananth Ab

March 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Yes, completely agreed with point , that Indians have little or no financial literacy. We can know cause if we turns pages of Indian History. In Indian spirituality, it would be sin if you are looking for money. As of that, people thinks i would be spoil their life. But in turns, lack of financial literacy made the life of people more worst than anythings.

This is a great site for People who want to come out of Darkness of Financial illiteracy.
Thanks !! Great Work !! Keep it high :)

Nammi Srinivasa Rao

March 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Nice introduction to money management, I fully agree with the author about average indian’s financial illiteracy, and need to be educated about the subject.


March 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

Mr. Victor,

Till date I was in impression that I am investing money but after reading ur bloggs I realize that it wasnt investment but most of them was thrown on a land which may spring out in a tree or will be vanished… Bcoz nobody has shared a through knowledge of investment like you are doing…

As I found ur bloggs and after reading it I found it is more useful to every beginners who want to be wealthy from their money..
You lesson teach us how to use resource (money) efficiently and effectively..

So for you and your knowledge sharing kindness I salute you and thanking you..

Simply Hat’s off…

Vishwas Sutar

April 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

If I had been seen these articles before, I might have few more bucks now a days which I have lost before. Let it be, “der aaye durust aaye”
Keep writing bro, I will definitely keep watch on it…

Sameer Singhania

April 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

Ur work for money management just like ur name……..victor for victory

Vinayak Naidu

June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Really very helpful article.. thanks for teaching :)


August 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I heard some stories like this before. I didn’t believed its true until I read this web site.


September 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

Great work…..


February 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Really very helpful……i want to know about sharemarket but i had nothing to start….but here i can see all the way clearly…thnks victor sir…..great job……


February 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm


sourav saha

May 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Really helping me a lot in gaining knowledge about howto manage capital.


May 16, 2014 at 11:57 am

Why dont you give link of next chapter at end of article. Before comments Start. Its easy navigation !!

J Victor

May 19, 2014 at 7:35 am

Sure. The new version of the site that’s coming soon will incorporate your suggestion. Thankyou.


May 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

A website for everyone related to share market directly and indirectly. FOr the beginners and the most experienced too. Short crisp and very informative. Great work Mr. Victor


June 8, 2014 at 3:16 am

best site on the web…!!!! Easy to understand……..!!!!!!must read for naive


June 8, 2014 at 3:16 am

best site on the web…!!!! Easy to understand……..!!!!!!must read for naive…!!!


July 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Eureka! Found a real educative website. Read and Heard a lot of things from other websites. This one beats it all. Kudos Victor


October 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Very good site with a lot knowledge

sanjay chauhan sam

February 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm

very interesting for a fresher


March 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Thank you for the website


April 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Request u to also add a download option for every chapter. would be easy to download material when online and read it later some time may be when travelling or away from home. anyway you doing a great job…cheers!!

Srikanth G

May 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Hi Victor, you are doing a great job educating people like me. Please implement this small suggestion from me.
Please add a link at the bottom of article to next article. this will be helpful. thanks.

J Victor

May 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

he new version of share market school is on the way. we have included your suggestion too. There will be a link at the bottom pointing towards the next post.
thankyou !


June 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Nice article and good message for all


September 2, 2016 at 11:06 pm

I don’t know why people put abusive words here after reading this article,, This Article gives perfect examples. Life is valuable than money.. But Death far more good than living in frustrated life and which is due to financial reason..

This article gives examples of those who did investment wrong way ….

Ankur Agrawal

November 12, 2016 at 11:44 pm

Financial Literacy is a must. Each and everyone should know the basics of economics, how capitalism works and how companies work.

I am extremely fortunate that I have read the Peter Lynch Trilogy “Learn to Earn”, “One up on Wall Street” and “Beating the Street” in the very early stage of my life. These books are like Bible of Investing for me.

I was shocked to hear such a tragic event. I couldn’t have imagined that such a successful person could commit suicide.


December 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Starting my financial literacy , from your posts. Appreciating your knowledge quest and would love to make it my passion.


September 7, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Thanks a lot for sharing such an alarming ground reality about financial illiteracy even among richest persons of the world and emphasising the dire need to learn about money management.

A great and magnanimous job indeed!!!


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