Bill Rancic: Anchored in research

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America Now

Although Bill Rancic was the first winner of “The Apprentice,” he well remembers a time when he didn’t have the savvy that he has developed since, and it’s a lesson that he hopes you can take to the bank.

About a year out of college, Rancic, who now co-hosts the daily syndicated “America Now,” was approached by a friend who had just received his stock-brokerage license. The friend wanted Rancic to invest in the “Dogs of the Dow.” This strategy involves investing in the 10 Dow Jones Industrial Average companies that have the highest dividend yields each year and dropping those that fall out of the top 10.

Rancic gave his friend all of his savings—$5,000. He lost half of his money. Rancic says he still remembers the feeling and says the experience shows the danger of making a choice that’s based on a friend’s urging. Rancic also says you should understand clearly how much commission is involved, because you ultimately will pay it. 

He lives his advice: Do your homework and don’t “make decisions from the gut.” That experience shaped his risk profile to be more akin to that of someone who is getting ready to retire, he says. Aside from real-estate investments, which he had before his “Apprentice” win, Rancic keeps 45 percent of his savings in cash and the rest in bonds and in stocks of large-capitalization companies, including Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE [ADR]: RDS.A; Price: $69.64).

S. Berg