The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

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Wads
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The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Wads » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:04 am

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features ... ire-hermit

A true ERE type saved for years but never set up his will.

Jason
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Jason » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:39 am

Great read on a number of fronts. I lol'd at his financial advisor breaking down, probably needed to hang up before crying "No more fees!!!!" Very fortunate he was hermit because this could have just as easily ended up with the "Dead man found in desert last seen at strip club" type of ending.

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unemployable
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by unemployable » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:48 pm

Story could've been a bit more complete. It didn't mention how much the one relative the guy did talk to (Evans) received. A few more details would've been interesting, such as how much the house was worth.

I don't sense he was very hands-on with his investments, or even what I'd consider market-savvy. Those funds sound terrible for asset growth purposes, especially run by a fee vampire like Merrill Lynch, although they did jibe with his conservative lifestyle in all the other aspects. It does illustrate that when you let money sit there long enough -- he died around 96 and I doubt he touched it once his merchant marine pension kicked in -- you get the graph of e^x. But exponential graphs stay low for a long time, and you're also much less inclined to spend the money in your old age. What was the guy supposed to do, move to Beverly Hills?

One moral is if lawyers ever contact you out of the blue about an inheritance, negotiate the fee down if you don't simply plan on going pro se.

Here is a similar article about government workers sifting through an estate, although the guy wasn't as rich.

SavingWithBabies
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Location: Midwest, USA

Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:25 pm

Those probate fees. Then the one inheritor spending it on a Caddy and motorcycles :(. Good reminder to make a will.

Jason
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Jason » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:30 pm

I got the feeling that his relationship with his financial advisor was his main personal connection and went on for many years. For a person of his generation, that was how things were done back in the day. You had a financial guy. It most likely tethered him to the process and maybe even reality. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. He was not inclined or capable of moving into the internet/index/ETF era. He had no one around to trust to move him in that direction either. And it demonstrates it's better to be a great saver than investor. You can make a case that there is something "wrong" with these types of people. That level of isolation. But he obviously had options and this is what he chose.

EdithKeeler
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by EdithKeeler » Wed May 01, 2019 7:22 am

That’s an interesting story—thanks for posting the link. Good reminder to make a will—I don’t have one.

What a cool job—public administrator. I’d love to do that!

Campitor
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Campitor » Wed May 01, 2019 7:50 am

Jason wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:30 pm
...And it demonstrates it's better to be a great saver than investor...
I wholeheartedly agree. I think people would be less stressed and live better if they were more frugal. It's not what you make - it's what you save.

Jason
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Jason » Wed May 01, 2019 8:16 am

It started a conversation in our house about a will. I like the charity idea but my issue is that organizations change over time and the money often goes to the organizational infrastructure of the charity and not the people its ultimately intended for. We don't really like anyone alive, but why give lawyers a taste before it gets to them any ways?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markeghrar ... 2520403ab2

I agree if this dead hermit was a Bogelhead, he would probably would have had died with another million in his filing cabinet, but I think that was not part of the equation. But maybe it would have made him feel financially secure enough to splurge on a bed.

Campitor
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Campitor » Wed May 01, 2019 7:59 pm

I was slept on a cushioned lawn chair for approximately 1 year in a friend's attic storage room. I slept like a baby. Sometimes a traditional bed is optional.

fiby41
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by fiby41 » Fri May 03, 2019 4:00 am

Jason wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:16 am
We don't really like anyone alive, but why give lawyers a taste before it gets to them any ways?
There are websites similar to Charity navigator that tell how much percent goes actually to the cause and what percent is used up by administration and management.

Frita
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Re: The Mystery of the Millionaire Hermit

Post by Frita » Fri May 03, 2019 7:52 am

My dad died when I was a kid, so I have had a will since being a young adult. DH and I haven’t updated ours in the past ten years and need to do so. Our sticking point is when to “upgrade” to a trust.

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