YOU don’t always need a six figure job to become a millionaire, as seen in the life of a Vermont based gas station attendant and janitor.
When Ronald Read passed away at age 92 in 2014, his family and friends were shocked to learn that the frugal man they knew was worth $8 million.
At the time, his step-son Philip Brown told the Brattleboro Reformer that he was “tremendously surprised” to find out about the hidden cash.
“He was a hard worker, but I don’t think anybody had an idea that he was a multi-millionaire.”
“He lived frugally,” Brown told the outlet.
“Some of us knew he had some investments, but obviously he had a whole lot more that we didn’t know about.”
Ultimately, the majority of Read’s wealth was bequest to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Brooks Memorial Library.
During his life, Read served in World War II in North Africa, Italy and the Pacific theater, according to the Reformer.
Upon returning home to Vermont in 1945, the Veteran worked at Haviland’s service station at the corner of Green and High Streets.
After nearly 25 years at the gas station, Read retired – albeit briefly.
Soon, he picked up a job as a janitor at JCPenny, where he worked until 1997.
Even by not working high-paying jobs, Read was able to accumulate his immense wealth through what appears to be these three steps.
Read’s family and friends knew him as a man careful with his money.
Laurie Rowell, his attorney, told the Reformer in 2015 that the Vermonter never spent money unless it was necessary.
His hesitancy to spend his wealth even had some neighbors convinced Read needed financial help.
“People were stunned that he had that much money,” Ruth Marx told the outlet.
“I bought some old fence wiring from him once because I thought he could use the money.”
At the same time, Read kept himself entertained with simple hobbies, such as cutting wood or investing.
“He had two lifelong hobbies: Investing and cutting wood,” Read’s attorney said in 2015.
“The generous bequests to the Brooks Library and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital attest to his skills at investing. The well-stocked woodpile in his garage attests to his love of cutting wood.”
A year later, friend Mark Richard emphasized this to CNBC saying, “I’m sure if he earned $50 in a week, he probably invested $40 of it.”
By the time he died, Read owned 95 stocks, according to the Washington Post, including many Blue Chip investments.
His stocks included Procter & Gamble, JPMorgan Chase, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical as well as J.M. Smucker and CVS Health.
Rowell told the Reformer that during his life, Read enjoyed picking different stocks.
As a result, these investments “grew substantially” over time, she said.
The largest factor that contributed to Read’s substantial wealth appears to be the longevity of his life.
Living to 92-years-old allowed his stocks to compound and grow over time.
Additionally, Read was a widower by the time he passed away, according to the Washington Post.
As such, his wealth was not subject to federal estate tax.
While no one can predict how long their life will be, staying in the market as long as possible can provide higher returns.