Over the weekend I received this email from a client:
My recently departed friend, George B. of Putney, Vermont was a volunteer driver delivering lunches to Meals on Wheels clients in the Brattleboro area. Ronald Read was on his route. George was stunned to learn that Mr. Read had accumulated so much wealth.
Thought you might find this of interest. Also, George was a fellow grad of Northeastern University, 10 years before me.
David had read about Ronald Read in Dick Young’s Intelligence Report of May 2015. Dick wrote then:
Pumping Gas to the Tune of $8 Million
Hard to even comprehend, but this great story, courtesy the WSJ’s Anna Prior, recounts how Ronald Read accumulated an estate valued at almost $8 million. Mr. Read, who passed away at the age of 92, made a modest living pumping gas for many years at a Gulf gas station in Brattleboro, Vermont.
A Five-Inch Stack of Stock Certificates
How did Ronald Read manage to become a multi-millionaire? Mr. Read invested in dividend-paying blue-chip stocks. As Ms. Prior writes, Mr. Read took delivery of the actual stock certificates and “left behind a five-inch-thick stack of stock certificates in a safe-deposit box.” At his passing, Mr. Read owned over 90 stocks and had held his positions often for decades. The companies he owned paid longtime dividends. And when his dividend checks came in the mail, Ronald Read reinvested in additional shares. Apparently Mr. Read was the master of the theory of compound interest. Not surprising, his list of stock holdings included such dividend payers as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), J.M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM), and CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), all names I write about for you here. No high flyers for Ronald Read, and certainly no technology names.
Protect, Preserve, Patience, Perspective
Obviously Ronald Read had been a staunch practitioner of my PPPP theme, featuring the basics—Protect, Preserve, Patience, Perspective. This WSJ feature article hit the press at the perfect time for me and you, as I’ll now explain. For the first time since I created my Monster Master List—well over a decade ago—I have given the Master List of common stock names a complete overhaul. I have spent weeks in the process with the goal of giving you not only a roster of dividend payers but also a list where every core company has increased its dividend for a minimum of 10 consecutive years. I have rounded out the core list with a handful of special situation dividend payers.
As you can see with Read’s story, compounding works. There’s no better way to put time to work for you.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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