At the age of 92 Ronald Read died, letting his secret come to light. Although he was a janitor, the man was in fact also a stock market specialist and had accumulated more than £6.5 million thanks to his successful investments.
Ronald Read was a man of simple appearance whom everyone knew to be very thrifty. After working in a gas station, the man became a janitor in a Vermont residence in the United States. With his outdated style and old cap on his head all day long, no one expected him to be hiding a secret such as this.
It was through his will that his lawyers discovered the real life of Ronald Read, a man passionate about the stock market, and who had decided to make a profit from it.
‘If he could save a penny, he would.’
His neighbours still cannot believe the revelation made to them after the death of Ronald, the man they used to see every day without giving him a second thought. ‘If he could save a penny, he did,’ says one of his acquaintances.
The only extravagance the man allowed himself was to have breakfast every morning in an establishment he used to frequent. There was nothing blatant in Ronald Read's life that would make it possible to suspect the wealth he enjoyed.
‘We knew he was involved in the stock market but not to that extent.’
The secret was therefore revealed when lawyers consulted the man's will. ‘We knew he was involved in the stock market but not to that extent,’ says Claire John, his executor. Ronald Read had accumulated more than £6.5 million in stock market funds, and had planned everything to the last penny. The man therefore decided to leave £3.7 million to a hospital and £980,000 to a library that he loved.