They’re out there. Lurking in our midst. Frugal, seemingly modest-living people, that are quietly hiding their secret.
What’s that secret? They’re millionaires.
I came across this story from The Seattle Times that was yet another example of a stealthy millionaire. This particular example was of a lady who recently passed at the age of 98.
We often hear about people who made their millions in seemingly typical ways: business, fame, inheritance, etc. But we also hear stories about everyday people that become millionaires through frugal living. Some of these can be quite boring, yet inspiring. Work at a job, do a 401k rollover when moving to each new job, and let the money accumulate and compound. Yet other stories, inevitably, are inspiring and compelling.
This one I find to be of the latter variety. This lady did not just live within her means, it would appear, but would go well out of her way to pinch pennies:
- She bought a coat for $2, then used the zipper to lace her shoes (why pay for shoe laces?)
- She never went to a salon; rather, she cut her own hair or used a wig
- She would heat her home with wood she hauled in with a wheelbarrow, even into her 90’s; she didn’t want to pay to heat her home
What she also did, besides living within her own means, was become knowledgeable about investments. She apparently studied finance on her own, and became self-taught in the subject, though she held such hard jobs as picking cranberries, shucking oysters and filleting fish. Is a million dollars not enough? Maybe to her that’s the case!
So, this is a lady who:
- Lived within her means
- Worked to grow her income through investments
The result was a $4.5 million nest egg, of which she left $1.o million for the local school district and $3.5 million for her town to build an indoor swimming pool. Very interesting choice, with the pool, but I give her credit – she did it her way. Kudos to her.
I’m a proponent of trying to live with an income minus expense gap that facilitates saving, having a sound stock investment strategy, and also trying to grow the top line through career management. While there wasn’t career management involved here, she followed the general framework of saving and investing.
A compelling story, odd yet inspirational in its own way. An ordinary person who successfully saved money, and left for causes dear to her. As long as someone doesn’t hide their wealth to mislead or take advantage of others, why not be private if you choose?
What do you think? Is this inspiring to you, or just plain quirky?