Jon Rohr of tiny Limon Colorado was a wealthy man but you couldn’t prove it by his lifestyle. The manager of the local electric cooperative, Mr. Rohr was known for driving an old car without air conditioning and preferring to shop at thrift stores instead of the local shopping malls. It was this frugal lifestyle which gave the townspeople the impression Mr. Rohr was not a “man of means”. Imagine their surprise when this same gentleman left a multi-million dollar estate to benefit the community!
As we discussed last week, one of the most important things a Surprise Millionaire can do is to make sure their wishes are known prior to their passing. Unfortunately, I have stumbled upon another story with a Surprise Millionaire’s will, this time from the United Kingdom. Retired mid-wife and nurse, Joan Edwards thought she had done it completely right. She contacted her local solicitors and had a last will and testament drawn up making (she thought) her last wishes known. It appears that even with all of this preparation, the specifics of the will’s bequest were still open to interpretation. It was unfortunately left to the government (and its political parties) to sort it all out. I guess I need to amend my cautions on this subject to include, “make your wishes known, make them legal and make them very clear.
I just stumbled across a video concerning one of the original Surprise Millionaire’s I profiled in my book, Mr. Ronald Read. It appears some financial professionals were discussing just how Mr. Read, a one-time janitor, amassed his multi-million dollar portfolio. If you would like to verify that the Surprise Millionaire lifestyle of living below your means and investing wisely is the key to success, just listen to what these experts are saying:
I always love it when Surprise Millionaires get their time in the spotlight and business blogger Joshua Kennon has done just that. Joshua has caught on to the Surprise Millionaire phenomenon of people with average incomes amassing large amounts of wealth. He has also caught on to the not so secret fact that steady investing over a long period of time is the key to success. Joshua’s article even mentions a few of the Surprise Millionaires featured in my book. Most surprisingly, his article was written in 2014! Where have I been? I always make it a point to be on the lookout for Surprise Millionaire “moments”. Oh well, better late than never, enjoy!
No one would call her an influential person … until now. Lucille Taylor lived her entire life in and around the small town of Middleton Wisconsin. During her formative years, she worked on her family’s fruit and dairy farm. Having left school after the eighth grade to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings, she didn’t have the opportunity for an advanced education that might help her land a job paying more than minimum wage .
She soon married a young man of similar background and they proceeded to make their way in the world with her cleaning houses and he driving trucks. Besides their meager circumstances, this young couple also endured the additional heartache of never being able to have the children they so wanted.
The Taylors persevered through these circumstances living the classic hard-working life typical of many americans. However, never let it be said that the Taylors didn’t know how to enjoy life! Throughout their lives they managed to travel to nearly all 50 states and even did some international travel as well.
However, even with their frequent travels the Taylors never failed to save and invest a portion of their limited income with the hopes of having a nest egg for their retirement years.
This brings us to 2013 when the now widowed Lucille wanted to use a portion of that “nest egg” to enhance the lives of the children of Middleton. After considering several options, she settled on a $100,000 donation to begin work on a city park with more to follow over the coming years! The people of Middleton were shocked by this wonderful gesture.
But wait, there’s more. The local business community was so impressed by Lucille’s vision and spirit of giving that they stepped up as well to raise additional funding to get the park properly launched. As a result, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harvey John & Lucille Taylor Memorial Park was held on May 11, 2015 with Lucille as the guest of honor!
And the accolades just kept on coming! Lucille was subsequently honored with the Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association’s 2015 Fellowship Award once again as the guest of honor.
We could all learn a lot from the life of Lucille Taylor. She is the perfect example that living below your means while saving and investing could make any of us wealthy some day. More importantly though, following these concepts could give all of us that same opportunity to become an influential person in our own communities just like Lucille.
If you were to ask her friends and neighbors, 93-year-old Queenie Cunningham was a very nice lady who was considered an asset to her small Scottish highland town. The retired secretary who suffered from the after effects of polio and had spent time in an iron lung as a young woman, never let her disability slow her down. She grew her own vegetables, was an ardent animal lover and never missed an episode of her favorite soap operas. All in all she was quite the character.
These days Queenie is more known for the amazing gifts she left her favorite charities after her 2017 passing. Most of her secret 2.2 million pound estate is currently shared by such organizations as the Salvation Army, the British Red Cross and Highland Hospice.
While the fact that Queenie was so generous upon her passing surprised no one, the fact that she was a multi-millionaire certainly did! This humble, quiet and most generous woman should be an inspiration to us all.