When we think of rich people, we think of them living a glorious life of luxury or even reaching out to those less lucky than them to offer help but that’s not always the case. Many millionaires are millionaires because they don’t spend like millionaires.
Henrietta Howland Robinson
We all know someone who’s reluctant to put their hand in their pocket when the bill arrives or somehow never quite gets around to stumping up the petrol money they promised. There are many different names for people like this including penny pincher, pinchpenny, cheese parer, scrooge, meanie-bo- beanie but perhaps the most well-known of them all is a miser.
According to the definition of miser means, a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible. Following that definition, there is no miser more infamous than the legendary Henrietta Howland Robinson also known by the names “Hetty Green” and the witch of Wall Street.
Henrietta Howland Robinson was a shrewd businesswoman with a nose for investments and a cool head for stocks and shares. In 1864, she inherited 7.5 million dollars about 107 million pounds in 2010 but barely touched it. Relying on her own banking prowess instead that and extreme stinginess helped her earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the world’s greatest miser.
Allegedly, she never turned on the heating or hot water, never washed her hands, consistently wore one old black dress which was only ever washed at the hems to save on soap and apparently spent an entire evening searching her old carriage for a lost and worth two cents. She even wore the same underwear daily until the underwear was unwearable.
The most outrageous tale of her thriftiness though is surely that of her son and his broken leg. She initially refused to pay for medical treatment, resulting in a condition that later required amputation.
She is wrong at her place
There’s always going to be an argument that people can do what they like with their money. Some people may spend their fortune on aiding others and some people may spend their fortune on really rare collectibles. Some people may be billionaires but live on $12,000 a year and some people may earn a minimum wage but overspent.
So, surely one thing you will do if you’re minted, look after your loved ones there was no need for Henrietta to let her son get ill and yet she did, all in the spirit of saving money.
Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the blue and yellow home where mecca Ikea. He has a net worth of six billion and once upon a time, he had even more than that. Back in high Ikea the long distant past of 2007, he had a staggering net worth of 33 billion.
In briefly, the average household American income as of 2016 is fifty-nine thousand thirty-nine dollars. Purchasing the Chicago Cubs will only set you back a cool 1 billion so, Kamprad could have bought them 33 times over but he chose not to live such an extravagant lifestyle.
Despite his enormous wealth, he avoided a lifestyle of Golden Jet-Skis, private jets and champagne on tap and is widely regarded as something of a skinflint. He drives a 19-year old car and demands IKEA employees write on both sides of a piece of paper so, he doesn’t have to pay for more. He recycles tea bags and allegedly pocket salt and pepper packets at restaurants instead of paying for his own.
A man like this could afford to eat at the finest restaurants in the world, the sublimation in Spain is the most expensive eatery on the planet and over 2 grand per person for just a few hours of dining. This is an experience only the very wealthy can afford.
Many foodies in the world over dream of one day getting a chance to even smell what the sublimation is cooking. Ingvar Kamprad could eat there on a regular basis but chooses not to. Instead, he’s been known to visit his own IKEA stores to eat their cheap meatballs.
John scarf, the miserly antagonist of the 18th century classic novel by William Harrison Ainsworth, the miser’s daughter. The cold-hearted Christmas hating penny pincher who is so loathed by his local community.
Scrooge McDuck, the carl banks created duck who is so obsessed with hoarding his own money, he’s turned his coin into a personal swimming pool, so he can enjoy writhing among his own earnings. These are three of the most famous fictional cheese parers and all three were based on the same real-life man, the most miserly of misers – john Elwes, dubbed Elvis the miser.
John was an 18th century MP and Berkshire Great Britain, a politician being selfish, despite inheriting huge sums on two separate occasions enough that by today’s standards would equate to 15 million pounds or 19 million dollars. Elvis would wear ragged clothes, walk in the rain, eat moldy food and on one occasion he ate a rat head dragged from a river.
Elvis’s health was limited by expense in common with many misers, he distrusted physicians preferring to treat himself in order to save paying for one.
is he correct at his situation?
On second thought maybe he wasn’t stingy, maybe he was just gross, it said that he and his uncle would spend evenings lambasting other people’s extravagant lifestyles, all while sharing a single glass of wine between them. We do not wish to judge, how others choose to spend their money. Saving is very good for you, it can help you out later in life especially on your post-retirement.
If you didn’t spend every waking moment of your younger years indulging in PlayStation games and comic books but when your life is so miserable that you’re splitting one glass of wine between two people and eating that rats have dragged from a river. If you’ve got the money to live a tiny bit better why not do it, some people live lives that impoverished because they have no choice.
This was the case for the Englishman Daniel dancer, his whole family for generations back celebrated the fine art of keeping the purse strings tight. He came from a long line of self-described misers. So, he was well versed in how to be as thrifty as possible, despite inheriting 3000 pounds a considerable sum in the 18th century.
His clothes and meal
Dancer rarely bathed or clothes until they were ragged and once allegedly, used a partly decomposed sheep for two weeks worth of dinners. He took only one meal a day consisting invariably of a little baked meat and a hard-boiled dumpling, a sufficient quantity of which to last the week was prepared every Saturday night.
His clothing consisted mainly of hay bands which were swathed round his feet for boots and round his body for a coat but it was his habit to purchase one new shirt every year. After his sister’s death in 1766, he used a fraction of her bequest to buy a secondhand pair of black stockings to put himself in decent mourning.
His redeeming feature was his love for his dog but fearing a costly lawsuit if it attacked anyone, he paid to have the poor mutts teeth removed. He was so worried about having to spend a fortune in the future, he paid a small amount in the short term to prevent that from happening.
The Collyer Brothers
Mystery surrounds this pair of brothers even to this day. Homer Collyer and Langley Collyer became famous in Manhattan for their bizarre eccentricities and compulsive hoarding. They were rarely seen in public, preferring to stay in the booby-trapped home they shared in Harlem but occasionally venturing out at night to forage for food and pins and abandoned junk that picketed their interest.
The brothers lived in squalor and would heat their house with a single kerosene lamp but in 1942, when the pair found themselves in trouble for refusing to pay their mortgage, Langly wrote a cheque for 6700 dollars means 95 thousand dollars in 2012 paying off the entire mortgage on the spot.
If they were so poor to be living in such squalor where exactly did that sort of money come from, the answer is they weren’t poor not at all. They were filthy, stinking rich but they were so stingy that they’d rather just be filthy and stinky than to live like they were rich.
What changed their life?
Once upon a time, the brothers had been relatively high on the social ladder. Homer was a law practitioner while Langley was a piano dealer but all that changed when hemorrhages in the back of Homer’s eye caused him to lose his eyesight.
The 30s weren’t exactly easy for the disabled people and in need of constant care, Langley left his law career behind to become a full-time carer for his brother.
Their secluded life
As the years rolled by, this proved to be the catalyst for their future seclusion, with each passing year they became more and more isolated from the rest of the world. In the time in which they remained house based, there were significant changes in the neighborhood, changes that they in their ignorance were intolerant of.
The effects of the Great Depression meant that more and more African Americans were moving into the area. Even the nicest of white people in the 30s were pretty racist. In keeping themselves to themselves for so long and not mingling or communicating with others, the Collyer brothers grew to be even more intolerant of those they deemed to be different than most.
In their seclusion, they grew strange and they grew stranger. They rarely stepped outside in their home became an absolute cesspit, a celebration of junk, nowadays with a better understanding of conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder.
They would most likely be diagnosed as serious hoarders but to their neighbors of the time, they were merely eccentric but that was enough to warrant attention. As rumors about their brothers’ unconventional lifestyle spread throughout Harlem, crowds began to congregate outside their home.
The attention caused the brothers’ fears to increase along with their eccentricities. After teenagers threw rocks at their windows, they boarded them up and wired the door shut.
About their money
After unfounded rumors spread throughout the neighborhood that the brothers home contained valuables and large sums of money, several people attempted to rob the home.
In an attempt to exclude burglars, Langly used his engineering skills to construct booby-traps and tunnels among the collection of items and trash that filled the house. The house soon became a maze of boxes, complicated tunnel systems consisting of junk and trash rigged with tripwires. Homer and Langley Collyer lived in nests created amongst the debris that was piled to the ceiling.
Following their deaths, even though their home was buried under an estimated 130 tons of hoarded junk. Their estate was valued at in today’s money, roughly 1 million eighty-four thousand five hundred dollars.