We are often fond of saying here at The Surprise Millionaires that, “anyone can accumulate wealth”. I have observed this to be true time and time again even for people who live in the most humble of circumstances. That is why this gentleman and his story really touched me. The very fact that he was able to accumulate so much based on his meager income is completely amazing. However, it is nothing compared to the amazingness of his giving heart. This just goes to show that if you have a goal worth pursuing and the frugalness to live well below your means that anyone can truly accumulate wealth!
That’s right, it’s ANOTHER Surprise Millionaire from the United Kingdom. That’s three recently if you are keeping count. This gentleman was a retired railway worker who saved his wages and pension in order to leave a legacy to his local medical community.
I don’t know for sure but we might have another British Invasion on our hands. But we should welcome this one since the Surprise Millionaire mantra of living frugally, saving and investing wisely is great for everyone on both sides of the pond!
Mrs. Jane Hutton from Aberdeen Scotland was known as a very frugal sort. This animal lover and one-time secretary was never showy or sought to be in the spotlight. In fact, she always took the background parts in the theatre group she belonged to. No, Jane was content to spend her time with friends and enjoying low-cost and fun activities in her Northen Scottish city. Thus she had all of the makings of a Surprise Millionaire!
Sylvia Bloom was a legal secretary who was described as a consummate professional by those who knew her. She worked for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at the ripe old age of 96! But Sylvia the consummate professional had a secret. During her early years, Sylvia’s job as a secretary included making personal investments for the partners of her law firm. Whatever the law partners invested in, Sylvia invested in as well (in a smaller amount of course). This turned out to be a great investment strategy, to the tune of $9 million!
No, don’t let the title fool you. The millionaire in question was not some corporate titan or Hollywood celebrity flying the friendly skies in first class. Oh no, this millionaire was the flight attendant who served them!
Read more about her legacy at the York County Community Foundation (YCCF).
Here at the Surprise Millionaires, we often report on an individual who has recently passed indicating that their bequests will result in a lasting legacy. Today, we have the opportunity to see that legacy come to its fruition.
This past January, the final sum of Surprise Millionaire John A. Johnson’s twenty year trust was delivered to the Salvation Army of Chautauqua County, New York. Mr. Johnson, a quiet and frugal Swedish immigrant, had left an estate worth $7 million back in 1996 to the people of Chautauqua County and specifically to his hometown of Jamestown.
Mr. Johnson had been a factory worker and carpenter throughout his life and was also a shrewd investor. He was known to be a follower of the “buy and hold” strategy. Once he bought a stock, he never sold. That strategy certainly paid off for him!
For the past twenty years Mr. Johnson’s millions have stayed right in the community he loved and benefited the human services programs administered by the Salvation Army. The ripple effect of Mr. Johnson’s legacy cannot be measured! What a blessing he was to his community!