The secret stock market dividend millionaires I have written about all seem to share similar characteristics. Firstly, they were all ordinary people. None were highly paid or were entrepreneurs themselves. But they did know and understand the wealth generating power of business and thus aimed to be partial owners in big blue chip companies via stock ownership. Secondly they had high savings rates ensuring they could sock away every dime they had in to the stock market. And thirdly, they had patience. A lot of it. They did not trade in and out of stocks. Instead, they were mainly buy and hold investors who understood the power of compounding. They let the businesses they owned do the heavy lifting.
The latest edition – the story of Sylvia Bloom – ticks most of those boxes.
For one she had an ordinary job. She worked as a secretary for 67 years at New York City law firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. From this we can glean that she never made more than the average American. So it came as a shock when she died in 2016 and left $6.24 million to the Henry Street Settlement social services organization- the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history. In total, she had amassed $8.2 million over her life. All from a simple secretarial salary.
And before you think she inherited this money or married into wealth than you’d be mistaken. She was born to eastern European migrants and her husband was a fireman and later a schoolteacher. Nothing out of the ordinary.
So how did she come to amass a seven figure net worth? The stock market of course. She understood the wealth generating ability that businesses posses and took full advantage of it. And it’s not like she had any training to do this. She simply did it with observation.
According to her niece Jane Lockshin “She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss’s lives, including their personal investments. So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary’s salary.”
And that was it. No highly paid money manager to run her money. No exotic portfolio allocation decisions. Just simple stock buying decisions.
I would be willing to bet that like most of the other secret stock market millionaires in this series, Sylivia Bloom was a buy and hold investor. She simply bought stocks in good companies and then did nothing. She let the companies do what they do best and she simply went along for the ride all the while increasing her net worth.
It’s a real shame that during my research process I haven’t come across the holdings Ms Bloom had in her portfolio. But I wouldn’t be surprised if she held stocks in similar blue chip companies like our other dividend millionaires.
One important lesson that can be deduced from Syliva’s story is that everyone can become rich. If Ms Bloom could do it be observation, what’s stopping us with all the information that we could possibly need at the touch of our fingertips.
Another lesson that can be taken away from Ms Blooms is the importance of savings. She was a child of the depression era and made savings a priority. She brought a packed lunch with her every day and, despite being wealthy enough to fund a chauffeur-driven limo, insisted on using public transport on all occasions, including on the day of the 9/11 attacks, when she took the bus home.
Sylvia Bloom never earned more than a Secretaries salary yet she still manage to sock away money month after month as she knew the power of the stock market and the compounded returns it can produce.
Sylvia Blooms story should be inspirational to us all. To think about it, we probably have the same ability to amass a lot of money as she did: We have access to free information, we have decent brains, we have some income to invest (via a relatively ordinary job), and we have time in front of us to let our money compound.