Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant and janitor, proved you don't have to earn a huge amount of money to become wealthy. He recently died at the age of 92, with an $8 million fortune.
Read's investments included shares of AT&T, Bank of America, CVS, Deere, General Electric and General Motors. "He only invested in what he knew and what paid dividends. That was important to him," his lawyer, Laurie Rowell, told CNBC
Most of Read's riches will go to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, Vt.
Many investors can learn a thing or two from Read's approach, says financial adviser Chris Hogan of Ramsey Solutions. "It's a matter of living a certain way, keeping your lifestyle under control and being committed," he told CNBC.
Investors would have to save approximately $300 a month to attain the same $8 million fortune as Read in 65 years, assuming an annual return of 8 percent, Hogan noted.
To be sure, don't look at that 8 percent return as a sure thing. Star mutual fund manager John Hussman
, president of Hussman Investment Trust, predicts a 1.7 percent annual return during the next 10 years for a portfolio with "anything close to a standard mix of equities, bonds and cash."
He expressed his concern in a market commentary.
"We continue to observe dispersion in market internals, a widening of credit spreads and other features of market action that . . . convey a subtle but measurable shift toward risk-aversion among investors, in an environment where risk premiums remain razor thin," Hussman explained.
"Speculative yield-seeking has driven asset prices higher in recent years to the point where many asset classes now provide no risk premium at all." The best equity valuation measures stand at more than twice their pre-bubble norms, Hussman noted.
The S&P 500 carried a trailing price-earnings ratio of 20.03 as of Feb. 6, up from 17.08 a year ago, according to Birinyi Associates.
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