A True Lady and Surprise Millionaire

Helen Banas lived a quiet life during her retirement years in Laguna Woods California. Ahelen-banas widow for more than 50 years, Helen was fond of the simple things in life such as eating bonbons and enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather from the balcony of her modest townhome.

Known as a frugal sort, Helen did not spend money on things she did not need but rather chose to invest her income and watch it grow.  And grow it did!

Upon her death in 2012 Helen left a whopping $27 million to both local and national Alzheimers charities.   It turns out that Helen’s mother had suffered from the disease years earlier and she wanted to provide funds for research and the care of those affected. This multi-million dollar Surprise Millionaire is a great example of what can happen when you invest wisely over an extended period of time.  The results can be astounding!

The Quiet Man

BROWN-061615-01.jpgA quiet man in Chicago whose death didn’t really make the news certainly made the news recently.  James A. Flavin, a man who wore old clothes, drove a beat-up car and lived in a small home in a poor neighborhood was thought to have an estate worth about $53,000.  But then they opened that safe deposit box…

 

 

 

My 100th Post: Why Millennials Will Never Be Surprise Millionaires

The Surprise Millionaires

To celebrate my 100th post, let’s discuss the millennials from their perspective.  This post features my first guest writer: my daughter, Kelsey McDowell.

Saddled with student loan debt and a perceived inability to invest, I am far from the profile of the frugal outlier chronicled on this blog. When my father initially asked me to write for The Surprise Millionaire, I was quite unsure what I could possibly contribute.

Lucky for you, I am not here to provide any lasting financial advice. Rather, as a self-proclaimed expert on my generation, I am here to support an argument made in his last post: the millennial will never be a surprise millionaire.

That’s awfully generalized and negative, isn’t it? “Never a surprise millionaire? I’m going to be showing all you boomers just how awesome and unique and successful and UNIQUELY SUCCESSFUL I am… or will be! Someday!” cries the millennial from his urban coffee shop. Yes, the millennial fervently believes in his potential. Is that not how he has been raised, though?

If you were to stop 100 millennials on the street, I can unscientifically guarantee most of them would claim that they possess the potential to be a millionaire. The millennial believes in himself, which is certainly half the battle. But will this confidence translate into consistent and gradual wealth accumulation? Probably not.

The millennial, with his inflated sense of self and conditioned need for instant gratification, is in for a life-long battle. Will his immediate perceived needs outweigh the wise advice to invest for the future?

While the millennial can certainly become a millionaire, he will likely take a path much different from our surprise millionaire. Where the surprise millionaire slowly accumulates his wealth through frugality and sometimes doing without, the millennial will harness his innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and follow a vastly different timeline.

The surprise millionaire will always be an outlier, but it appears that his breed will become even more rare.