Rekenthaler Report

The Investment Miracle That Wasn’t

John Rekenthaler

The Millionaire Next Door
Sunday's New York Times profiled Sylvia Bloom, a longtime secretary who died holding $9.2 million in assets. Learning that Ms. Bloom had amassed so much wealth was "an oh my God moment," said her estate's executor. The article then discussed other modestly paid multimillionaires. For example, a Wisconsin shopkeeper who had accumulated $13 million; an Illinois woman with $7 million who lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

(Upping the ante considerably was the mild-mannered academic couple that compiled $750 million. That account, I confess, took me aback. How could such a thing happen? The answer: By growing up in the right neighborhood. The couple invested mostly in the shares of a company that was run by a friend from Omaha. Yes, that friend.)