I recently became aware of a Surprise Millionaire who created quite a sensation a few years ago by the name of Matel “Matt” Dawson, Jr. more affectionately known around Detroit as the “forklift philanthropist”.
Born in Shreveport Louisiana, Mr. Dawson spent his formative years surviving the great depression and the inequality of that time. He wasn’t able to go to high school as he had to work to help support his family, but that didn’t mean he was opposed to scholastics.
On the contrary, Mr. Dawson believed that education was a tremendous thing and wanted young people to pursue their dreams without the worry of financial strain. This Detroit forklift operator who worked more than 60 years at his job gave a total of $1.25 million in scholarship money over his lifetime to deserving young people. He lived frugally, invested wisely and was able to help many others in the process. Another inspiring Surprise Millionaire story!
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!
A 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…
The Pittsburgh Press – Jan 23, 1978
Reverend Vertue Sharp was a Methodist minister and farmer who lived his life by the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 in which we are taught that whatever we do for the “least of these” we do for him.
Reverend Sharp sought to live out this teaching by leaving his estate of $2 million to two eastern Tennessee area hospitals upon is death in 1999 at the age of 94. Reverend Sharp accumulated his wealth thanks to wise investing, frugal living, and the sale of his farm.
Thanks to Vertue Sharp and his selfless generosity, many of eastern Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents will receive the care and attention they need to live healthy and happy lives. Another Surprise Millionaire lives out their life’s mission by helping others in their community.
This story of a Surprise Millionaire in Omaha is a cautionary tale about keeping your perspective. Being frugal and building wealth to provide for a comfortable retirement or to help others is a wonderful thing. However, when that wealth isolates you from the rest of the world it is time to reevaluate your priorities…
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