Robert Read, a former (deceased) janitor from Brattleboro, Vermont, had a keen eye for picking out stocks. Known outwardly as a frugal and unassuming penny pincher, the local residents of Battleboro were shocked when news of his $8 million dollar fortune came to light. Indeed, his most expensive (outward) purchase was that of a $5,000 Toyota. He lived frugally and often wore the same clothing.
It was later learned upon his death that Read invested thousands of dollars in almost 100 stocks over the past 65 years, garnering a fortune for himself.
Read had also left a hefty legacy of $4.8 million dollars to the local library and a further $1.2 million donation to the local hospital. The rest of that money was left to his step-children and charitable organizations.
Even Read’s step-children were left in the dark as to how much money he was actually worth.
Although Read passed away at the age of 92 and left behind a wonderful legacy, is it worth keeping $8 million dollars a secret for that long?
It may have been possible for Read to have enjoyed that money in his old age, spending it on travel, friends and family, while still having enough left over to donate to charity.
What would you have done with $8 million dollars? Read wasn’t alone; we’ve previously written about teachers, cab drivers, and other individuals working otherwise ordinary jobs, amassing a several fortunes, and leaving their money to charities, schools and hospitals. In some ways, that is the ultimate way to give back — ordinary people dispersing their assets and estate to those who need it the most. When we read about the outrageous wealth of certain individuals, we are sometimes left dismayed by how much is splurged on extravagant stuff, so reading feel-good stories about ordinary people giving other ordinary people a boost, giving back to their communities, etc. are all nice to read about.