Many of you are familiar with the story of Ronald Read featured in my book. For some reason, the media latched on to the story of this Surprise Millionaire and how the one-time gas station attendant, janitor, and wood cutter amassed an $8 million stock portfolio.
As you know, we do not offer investment advice here at the Surprise Millionaires. Our passion is to extol the virtues of hard work, frugality and consistent long-term investing as a pathway to financial success. However, I thought it might be worth sharing this overview of Mr. Read’s investment holdings as a reflection of the man and what he accomplished. Remember, anyone can accumulate wealth!
Helen Banas lived a quiet life during her retirement years in Laguna Woods California. A widow for more than 50 years, Helen was fond of the simple things in life such as eating bonbons and enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather from the balcony of her modest townhome.
Known as a frugal sort, Helen did not spend money on things she did not need but rather chose to invest her income and watch it grow. And grow it did!
Upon her death in 2012 Helen left a whopping $27 million to both local and national Alzheimers charities. It turns out that Helen’s mother had suffered from the disease years earlier and she wanted to provide funds for research and the care of those affected. This multi-million dollar Surprise Millionaire is a great example of what can happen when you invest wisely over an extended period of time. The results can be astounding!
A big thank you to fiscallyfitchica for letting me know about this wonderful Surprise Millionaire!
Robert “Bob” Morin spent nearly fifty years working as a cataloger for the University of New Hampshire library while quietly accumulating a vast amount of wealth.
Mr. Morin was obviously a no frills kind of guy as evidenced in the news article below but led a very busy life:
“Morin wasn’t a big spender, but he kept busy. UNH said Morin was passionate about movies, and watched more than 22,000 videos from 1979 to 1997. He also read every book published in America between 1930 and 1940, excluding children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology, UNH said.”
By living frugally and investing wisely, Mr. Morin was able to leave a $4 million estate to the university that he loved. The funds will be used to enhance the campus career center and a host of other projects. Let’s hope Mr. Morin’s example inspires others to live frugally, invest wisely and bless others with the results!
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.