Success Stories: From $11 an Hour to $3,000,000

Kiplinger’s brings us the story of Paul Navone. Navone works as a quality-control inspector in a glass-container factory—and has never made more than $11 an hour. But until recently, he was worth about $3 million. I say, “until recently,” because he recently gave $2 million away to two schools.

How did he do it? Real estate, frugality, saving, and investing.

At age 23, Navone “scraped together” $6,500 to buy a duplex in New Jersey. He lived in one part of the duplex, and he rented out the other part. He ultimately bought four other properties in New Jersey—and rented them out. The article does not mention what the properties might be worth today, but it notes the rental income was enough to pay for his living expenses.

His living expenses may not have been all that high. Navone has also been frugal. He owns no phone or TV; and the article reports (apart from a hobby collecting figurines), he mostly saved and invested his money:

[Navone] gives credit to “four very good brokers.” Navone invested in “a little bit of everything” and stuck with a buy-and-hold strategy. He is partial to utility stocks with their steady earnings and dividends (which he always reinvests).

Navone retired two years ago and is now 78. Even after his $2 million in donations, he has about $1 million for his retirement.

For more detail, see the June 2008 issue of Kiplinger’s.

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