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!
It looks like we have another controversy involving the last will and testament of an elderly Surprise Millionaire. This gentleman’s grand-nephew has been cheated out of his inheritance due to the involvement of some unsavory characters. Like I have said in thepastto all of you potential Surprise Millionaires out there, make your wishes known. Better yet, write a will with the help of an attorney that will stand up in the court of your jurisdiction against anyone who might file a false claim. Surprise Millionaires work far too hard to have their fortunes disbursed in a way other than what they wanted.
However, I am happy to report that those “unsavory characters” are getting their just desserts and they are learning that crime doesn’t pay!
There has been a flurry of news reports coming from the Pacific Northwest over the past few months regarding donations made from a multi-millionaire’s estate. Organizations
ranging from local museums to state parkshave received assistance from a trust set up by millionaire Elizabeth ‘Bette’ Ruth Wallace.
So who was this Bette Wallace? Was she some high society grand dame looking to leave her mark through philanthropy? Or maybe a high powered executive who had earned top dollar during her career? No, Bette was neither of those things but was still pretty grand none the less.
Bette and her husband Bryan were the owners of a small drug store that they worked very hard to make a success. Through that hard work, the Wallaces were able to grow a little nest egg. After Bryan’s passing, Bette took that little nest egg and invested in several rental properties in a northern California area to bring in some income. It just so happened that in the years that followed, that particular northern California area, the one where Bette had her little rental properties, would go on to be renamed Silicon Valley! Much to her ‘surprise’, Bette had become a ‘Surprise Real Estate Mogul’.
However despite this financial windfall, Bette never lived extravagantly and always stayed just the same person she had always been. It was this ‘surprise’ real estate empire which allowed Bette to leave such a wonderful legacy to the communities in which she had called home. It seems Bette found the right ‘prescription’ for success.
As I have done in the past, I have the unfortunate task of profiling a Surprise Millionaire who met with foul play because they didn’t have the appropriate precautions in place to keep their wealth a secret. A Columbus Ohio property ownerand landlady made it a habit to deal only in cash when collecting rent and kept a large sum of that money on her person at all times. Unfortunately, this was a situation that an acquaintance sought to take advantage of. The resulting robbery ended with the demise of this much-loved lady. Though she is no longer with us, it is my hope her story will be a word of caution to all of you potential Surprise Millionaires out there. Remember, it is best to keep your wealth a closely guarded secret known only to your closest confidants. Living a low-key lifestyle could actually be the “key” to safety.
No one would mistake today’s Surprise Millionaire, Steve Brewster, for a wealthy business tycoon. However his store, the Sportman’s Chalet, was a popular fixture in the Bellingham Washington community for over 30 years. Unfortunately, Steve found it necessary to sell his business in 2001 due to a significant life change. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) around that time, Steve had to focus all of his energy on living with and managing his disease. Which is just what he did for the next two decades. Tragically, Steve lost his battle with MS in 2017 leaving the community he loved behind.
Surely a man who had been battling a progressive disease which was both physically and financially draining would have nothing left to leave the community he loved, right? Wrong, even with the costs of managing his MS, Steve was still able to accumulate $1 million over the course of his life. Take a look at how Steve’s generous gift is helping his community.