As she nears 100, Irene Bergman has some advice for enjoying a long career on Wall Street: Don’t do anything stupid.
“The longer you’re in the business, the more pessimistic you get,” Bergman said in her soft voice, noting she currently thinks shares are too expensive. Still, “I’m able to get bullish, because when I look at a stock, I can imagine where it was 40 years ago.”
As one of the oldest working professionals in an industry run by men half her age, Bergman offers a rare perspective. She recalls the small private firms founded by German Jews of the 19th century that came to define Wall Street before their partnership model gave way to public listings, and honor succumbed to an ever-fiercer push for profit.
“The way of doing business has changed,” she said. “It’s much more competitive, much more knives-in-the-back.”