From WWII Vet and Janitor to Millionaire

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I stumbled across this article on CNN* and had to share: Vermont man known for frugal ways donates millions.

Ronald Read of Vermont was a World War II veteran, gas station attendant, and janitor known for his frugal ways. He passed away last summer at the age of 92 and left his local library $1.2m, the hospital $4.8m, and friends and family the rest of his approximately $8m fortune.

Of course we don’t know everything about Mr. Read, but one can assume he did very well for himself over his 92 years, although it appears he never had a “high income” profession. According to the article he was extremely frugal and loved investing, specifically in dividend producing stocks.

I did some simple math and it appears he was born in 1922. Even if he began investing at age 30 in 1952, the S&P 500’s average return including dividends was 12.41% through 2014. That means Mr. Read’s money using the Rule of 72 would have doubled every 5.7 years for a total of over 10 times during his 62 years of investing!

If this doesn’t light a fire under your frugal, investing butts, I don’t know what does!

-FF

* I also referenced this article: Janitor bequeaths millions to library, hospital

8 thoughts on “From WWII Vet and Janitor to Millionaire

  1. Debtless in Texas

    This is a perfect example of what being frugal and investing can do! Good for him, being able to be so generous after a full life must have felt good for him. That motivates me to cut costs and push more into investments even more.

    Good share.

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Yeah it’s crazy how a little story like this about a stranger in Vermont can be so motivating. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Mrs. Maroon

    Heart-warming story. Makes me wish someone had been privy to his fortune ahead of time so that the man could pass along what I can only assume is a wealth of knowledge about the world, finances, and life in general. What a life to lead!

    Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      MM – I bet he was a treasure trove of information, and those who were close to him most likely benefited greatly, and I’m not even talking monetarily! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Exactly! This guy had no formal business or finance training and didn’t go to college, yet understood what investing, dividends, and compounding returns can do. That’s taking control of your financial destiny right there!

      Reply
    1. Fervent Finance Post author

      Badass is a perfect way to describe it. Also makes people who say “I only make $80k a year, how do you expect me to save” look foolish. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

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