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!
I think few would argue that Montana is a state called home by many rugged individualists. People who make their own way in life on their own terms. What a perfect place to produce a Surprise Millionaire!
LeRoy Beckman was just such a person. Raised in poverty by a single mother, Mr. Beckman went on to amass an estate totaling $3 million simply by virtue of his frugality and wise investing.
An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Beckman’s estate created a wildlife preserve to ensure that a large part of Montana’s vast terrain will remain unspoiled and accessible to the public for years to come.
Ninety-eight-year-old Findlay Ohio resident, Margaret Elizabeth Taylor, wanted to do something worthwhile with the $1.1 million estate she had accumulated as the proverbial Surprise Millionaire. But what she decided to do with the money was well, a little different.
She told her family that they would not receive any money from her estate because what she would do with the funds would benefit a whole lot of people. No, she didn’t leave the money to any charity that you would be familiar with. What she DID do with the money is rather shocking…
Just when I thought I had read the most inspiring story ever (last post), I came across the story of Anna Kurzweil of Kansas City. A lifelong teacher and student of learning who put faith and others first in her life.
A world traveler (working in a leper colony!) gifted educator, writer, and poet, she counted her wealth in the friends she made, the family she loved and the faith she treasured, not in her bank book. But oh how her bank book told its own story!
Upon her death, the faith-based charities she honored were stunned to learn they would be the recipients of Anna’s $2 million estate!
Another amazing life well-lived and a benefit to mankind in general and their local community.
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…
I came across an article about a quiet man in Baldwinsville New York who left an estate of $750,000 to local charities for the benefit of his community. This man has become my new hero; not for the wealth he accumulated or what he left for charity (which are wonderful things), but for how he lived his life.
The article goes into a lot of detail about this gentleman’s life story but I believe it can best be summed up by this quote from a neighbor and friend:
“He kept his place very, very neat.” said John Kerniski, Ryder’s friend and neighbor since the early 1970s. “His house and storage barn were methodically organized. And he was always well-dressed and well-mannered. I think he took pride in being well-presented.”
And there it is; a man who took pride in his home and property treated people with respect and strove to be well-presented in everything he did. If we all tried to live in this way I am sure that the world would be a much kinder and saner place!