Here’s an interesting story about a Seattle man who recently passed away and left behind $188 million to charity. Even though Jack MacDonald was immensely wealthy, he carried himself like a
commoner poor person. Despite having more money than he knew what to do with, he still cut coupons and wore faded clothes with holes in them. His hobbies? Watching the stock market…
“Our family has lived with the ‘secret’ of Jack’s generous fortune for more than 40 years, all while being amazed at his frugal lifestyle and modest demeanor. He was quirky and eccentric in many ways, and always stayed true to himself by acting on his convictions to do the most good with his wealth,” said the stepdaughter, Regen Dennis.
What Would I Do?
Honestly, I don’t think my life would change that much. Right now, I sort of feel like living frugally, or below my means has been ingrained into the fabric of my very being. At this point, I doubt it would be so easy to change… and I’m not sure I would even want to. I kind of like the perspective I have on life now — focus on the experiences and memories, not the frivolous spending.
If I had more funds, of course I would retire early so that I could begin focusing on the things that really mattered to me. Money would simply be my ticket out and buy me my freedom. However, I wouldn’t start off the next chapter by needlessly indulging in fancy cars, yachts, McMansions, etc… No, there’s more to life than that in my eyes.
The most obvious thing I could see myself indulging on would be food and travel. Again, this has more to do with experiences, but I definitely see expenses rising in this area. Also, if I started engaging in new hobbies, I could see how spending would easily rise here. For instance, if I was to start training for a tri-athlon, or in martial arts, I would use the extra money to invest in quality equipment, instruction, nutrition, etc. The mentality wouldn’t change — I wouldn’t be spending more just for the sake of spending more, but in hopes of being able to maximize performance/progress/results.
What about the rest of the surplus? I would set aside a LARGE portion of it and keep it invested in stocks, bonds, savings, etc. (wouldn’t want to end up like one of those famous celebrities/athletes who crashed and burned). I would be tempted to take out a smaller portion (at some point) to help me launch/build my own real estate company. Even without a surplus, this is something I still want to do someday…
Like Jack, I wouldn’t feel the need to flaunt my riches, or success. I can still see myself going out in public wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. 🙂 On occasions, I’m sure I’d dress up a little, but for the most part, I wouldn’t want to look the part. I’d rather keep it discrete and not draw unwanted attention.
When all is said and done, I’d also give away most of it to charity, or to a good cause. It’s not like I can take it with me anyway…
What About You?
For those who are on the quest to early financial independence, tell us, what would you do if you just so happened to stumble upon a windfall such as this? How would your lifestyle change? Right now, a lot of us on this journey are forced to be extra frugal (savings ratio over 50%) because we need the extra capital to invest. Supposed for a moment that you didn’t, though. If you were able to reach the end game today (financial independence), and had all this surplus of cash ($188 million), would you go on a shopping spree? Would you say, “screw it” with living frugally and make up for lost time, instead? Or, would you continue going on your merry way (like Jack did), and STILL have an interest in monitoring the stock market on a daily basis?