Millionaire Janitor Donates Fortune To Charity Upon His DeathAlbert Einstein is credited with saying, “Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” Whether or not he said it, it should be something everyone adopts to heart when thinking about saving. Compound interest is what made Ronald Read, a Vermont-based janitor, the millionaire he was.
Ronald Read grew up in Brattleboro, Vermont. He graduated high school in 1940 and went to serve his country in World War II. When he returned home from duty, he worked as a gas attendant and then as a janitor for J.C Penny. He married and had two stepchildren.
Read lived a simple life in Brattleboro, Vermont. He was a frequenter of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Café. From Fox News in Brattleboro:
"He always had a cup of coffee and and English muffin with peanut butter. That was it," said friend Ellen Smith. Smith said Read told her about an incident in which another man paid for his breakfast because he thought Read wouldn't be able to afford it. "You'd never know the man was a millionaire," his lawyer, Laurie Rowell, told Reuters. "The last time he came here, he parked far away in a spot where there were no meters so he could save the coins."
Read never spent money he didn’t need to spend. This was one of the simple secrets to his financial success. At the time of his death, Read owned 95 stocks which he had held for decades. He donated 1.2 million of his fortune to the Brooks Memorial Library and 4.8 million to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Vermont.
The hospital and library are using the money to improve their operations. They're also taking a leaf out of Read’s book by investing some of the money to make it last. "Being a self-made man with his investments, he recognized the transformative nature of a library, what it can do for people," said the library's executive director, Jerry Carbone.
Watch a video tribute to Ronald Read after the jump!
H/T fox25boston.com, palmbeachpost.com, cnbc.com