With recycling tin cans as his only source of income, Curt Degerman lived frugally and invested to amass over £1.1 million.
Still think you need to earn a huge salary to retire rich?
Degerman would have made a great Monevator reader, although the now-dead 60-year old took things further than most of us need to.
- I don’t advocate readers live as a tramp to reduce their costs.
- It’s not vital to use Swiss bank accounts to avoid taxes: ISAs and careful capital gains management will do the trick.
- A shower once in a while won’t hurt, either.
There’s also the matter of where exactly Degerman would have got his Monevator fix. According to The Telegraph:
“He went to the library every day because he didn’t buy newspapers. There he read Swedish business daily Dagens Industri,” his cousin told local media at the time of his death. “He knew the stock market inside out.”
Perhaps he might have read Monevator at the library, or maybe I should make an iPad app for future Degermans?
What I won’t do is condemn him like so many have this week for his extreme tightwad lifestyle.
Yes, it seems perverse to most of us when an outwardly poor person dies with great wealth. Why didn’t he own a flat and an Xbox? Would it really have hurt to take a holiday, or to buy food instead of scrabbling in bins for leftovers?
True, but there are many ways to live in this world, and while the one Degerman chose is not for me, by all accounts he was happy. He dropped out of school early, and didn’t want to play ‘the game’. Investing seems to have been more a scorecard than a destination. I suspect that anticipation of growing his wealth made him as happy as spending it would have.
And as for his tin can collecting that’s been so ridiculed by the press, how many of us can say we left the world prettier than when we found it?
This week’s personal finance blog posts
Elsewhere, I especially enjoyed these posts:
- Warren Buffett on the lottery of birth – Get Rich Slowly
- Are you in a dead end job? – FiveCentNickel
- When should a late customer get cut off? – Investor Junkie
- Interviewing is like dating – Financial Samurai
- Why I don’t pick stocks – Oblivious Investor
- The fear close – Eliminate the Muda
- Global investing return graphs – The Digerati Life
- Three methods of finance when enough is enough – Early Retirement Extreme
- Job loss: Save money or get out of debt – Debt Free Adventure
Some good business and finance articles
- The 25 best money tweeters (including Monevator!) – The Times
- [Eek!] Jordan Belfort: The Wolf of Wall Street – The Times
- UK manufacturing grows at fastest rate in 15 years – The Telegraph
- Government bonds in the twilight zone – Buttonwood
- Why you should embrace backyard renewable energy – FT
- Chinese gold demand – FT
- South Africa’s black empowerment has failed – The Economist
- US makes huge profit on Citigroup trade – Stock Tickle
- Stephen Fry meets Steve Jobs and the iPad – TIME
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