Phyllis Hanse was a fixture in her small town of Webster South Dakota. An unassuming woman, Phyllis had taught piano to thousands of children over several decades beginning in the 1950s. Even though she had no children of her own, she was a fixture at local school activities over the years. Maybe that’s why she left the $4.2 million surprise for the local school and community.
I have had the pleasure of following Dave Ramsey and his organization for quite some time. Dave is well known for helping people get out of debt and also helping them to accumulate some wealth along the way. He uses financial concepts found in biblical scripture as well as plain common sense to help people reach their financial goals.
One of Dave’s most popular segments from his podcast/radio show is the “Millionaire Theme Hour” in which regular folks who are currently millionaires call in and explain how they reached this milestone. During one of these segments I was happy to hear from a lady who we would describe as a Surprise Millionaire. This particular lady related how she accumulated her wealth by living below her means and investing wisely. It is a rare chance to hear a Surprise Millionaire in their own words so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to introduce “Terry from Denver” to my readers. Enjoy!
Pennsylvania mechanical engineer, Raymond Suckling, lived a modest life. Fond of White Castle hamburgers and the chipped beef served at his local diner, Mr. Suckling would not be described as a connoisseur of the finer things in life. That is unless you count the fine quality of his friendships and his sterling character.
Mr. Suckling’s life did start out with what one might think of as somewhat privileged. The son of a business executive, Raymond was afforded a good education even after his father’s death when Raymond was only a boy. But it appears that the “silver spoon” stopped there. Mr. Suckling’s adult life was characterized by hard work, sound investing and a frugal, unassuming character.
As you can imagine, it was quite a shock to his friends and associates when they learned that Mr. Suckling had left an estate totaling $37.1 million to a Pittsburgh area charity.
Who would have thought that the man who was fond of Velcro sneakers, drove a Subaru and loved White Castle hamburgers was the same man who accumulated $37.1 million? No one, apparently! While some reports state that the majority of Raymond’s wealth was inherited, those who knew him best indicate that it was a combination of inherited and accumulated wealth due to Ray’s unassuming frugal ways.
Regardless of the origin of his wealth, it was Mr. Suckling’s unassuming thrifty lifestyle which allowed him to make such a dynamic impact on his community and change lives for the better.
A big thank you to fiscallyfitchica for letting me know about this wonderful Surprise Millionaire!
Robert “Bob” Morin spent nearly fifty years working as a cataloger for the University of New Hampshire library while quietly accumulating a vast amount of wealth.
Mr. Morin was obviously a no frills kind of guy as evidenced in the news article below but led a very busy life:
“Morin wasn’t a big spender, but he kept busy. UNH said Morin was passionate about movies, and watched more than 22,000 videos from 1979 to 1997. He also read every book published in America between 1930 and 1940, excluding children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology, UNH said.”
By living frugally and investing wisely, Mr. Morin was able to leave a $4 million estate to the university that he loved. The funds will be used to enhance the campus career center and a host of other projects. Let’s hope Mr. Morin’s example inspires others to live frugally, invest wisely and bless others with the results!
It appears that others are discovering the Surprise Millionaires phenomena. One financial institution is even attempting to educate its customers regarding the benefits of frugality and wise investing. The article is great and right on target but the statement that really grabbed me is one that expands on an idea I have spoken about at length here at the Surprise Millionaires:
“The correlation between being a millionaire and occupation is completely random. More than what you do for a living, the manner in which you live your life will determine your financial outcome.”
In other words, “anyone can accumulate wealth”! I say it much more simply but the message is the same. Consistent, long term, saving and investing will result in wealth accumulation. And just how do you maximize the funds you are able to invest? Frugality of course!
Ninety-eight-year-old Findlay Ohio resident, Margaret Elizabeth Taylor, wanted to do something worthwhile with the $1.1 million estate she had accumulated as the proverbial Surprise Millionaire. But what she decided to do with the money was well, a little different.
She told her family that they would not receive any money from her estate because what she would do with the funds would benefit a whole lot of people. No, she didn’t leave the money to any charity that you would be familiar with. What she DID do with the money is rather shocking…
Just when I thought I had read the most inspiring story ever (last post), I came across the story of Anna Kurzweil of Kansas City. A lifelong teacher and student of learning who put faith and others first in her life.
A world traveler (working in a leper colony!) gifted educator, writer, and poet, she counted her wealth in the friends she made, the family she loved and the faith she treasured, not in her bank book. But oh how her bank book told its own story!
Upon her death, the faith-based charities she honored were stunned to learn they would be the recipients of Anna’s $2 million estate!
Another amazing life well-lived and a benefit to mankind in general and their local community.