Norma and Angus Beaton were two of my original Surprise Millionaires (you can find more like them in my book). I happened across a video regarding these fine people and the generous gift of their entire life savings left to charity. It was a real walk down memory lane for me and I hope for you too.
It seems the island nation of Singapore is now experiencing the Surprise Millionaire phenomenon. Loh Kum Mow, a local sub-accountant (i.e. junior accountant) passed away in 2016 at the age of 89. Coming from humble beginnings, this gentleman made his way in the world grasping every opportunity that came his way. By combining those opportunities with some super saving and investing, not to mention frugality, Mr. Loh managed to accumulate quite a nest egg throughout his life. So much so that his friends and loved ones were shocked to learn that this quiet, unassuming man had amassed a $20 million estate! However, Mr. Loh’s wealth accumulation skills could not outshine his giving. In addition to assisting family members throughout his life, Mr. Loh also left millions to charity. What a great tribute to a hard-working gentleman who lived an exemplary life!
One of the most rewarding things I have found while profiling Surprise Millionaires from around the world is discovering the unique characters that make up this special group of people. Today’s Surprise Millionaire is certainly no exception. From traveling the world on a budget to finding and donating extremely rare and unique books to his university’s library, Richard Lee Merritt certainly lived his life to the fullest (quite frugally of course). He and his wife never made large salaries but were still able to buy and rehab many properties in the San Francisco area (long before today’s premium prices!) and had a lot of fun doing it. This real estate formed the foundation of the multi-million dollar estate the Merritts left behind. This included the $2 million donation to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana, Richard’s alma mater and the recipient of all of those rare books over the years. This was the largest bequest ever received by the library. Taking both the bequest and the book donations into consideration, Richard had donated roughly $3 million to the library over his lifetime! Quite an accomplishment I would say.