Like my dad, Anthony Ralys was from Massachusetts, joined the Army Air Corp during World War II and served on a B-24 bomber.
Also like my dad, Ralys was a first-generation American. Ralys' parents emigrated from Lithuania, while my dad's parents emigrated from Armenia.
After the war, Ralys returned home, married, and ran the local barbershop for 38 years. He died on June 16, 2014, at age 89. This month, it was discovered that Ralys left $1.4 million to his hometown library in Athol, Massachusetts.
Everyone who knew him was stunned to learn he had an investment account -- let alone one that was worth seven figures. According to a local newspaper, Anthony and his wife started investing in municipal bonds early on in their lives.
It was unusual for people like my dad and Anthony Ralys to invest when they were young. According to a census conducted by the New York Stock Exchange in 1952, only about 4.2% of Americans owned stock. But even that small group was mostly made up of well-heeled individuals. The wealthiest 10% of families owned 83.2% of stocks (based on value) in the 1950s. And my dad and Ralys were hardly top 10%-ers back then.
The "Get Rich Slowly" Club Is Bigger Than You Think
I learned about Anthony Ralys because I ran across the newspaper story about his generous donation to his local library. It's the same way I learned about Grace Groner, the woman who bought just three shares of stock in her life -- and ended up donating $7 million to Lake Forest College. You couldn't ask for a better demonstration of the power of dividend reinvestment.
The newspaper is also where I learned about Anne Scheiber, who didn't start investing until after she retired. She started with $5,000 -- and left Yeshiva University $22 million when she died.
But here's what I've discovered since I started my premium investing advisory, The Daily Paycheck: It isn't that unusual for people to become millionaires by investing in dividend-paying securities. It's just rare that we get to hear about it. For instance, if Anthony had left his entire estate to his niece and nephew, who would be the wiser?
The biggest hurdle for any investor is just getting started.
One of the questions I get asked the most is how do a start a dividend reinvestment portfolio with $20,000, $10,000 -- or even less.
Back in February 2015, I advised my readers on the kind of portfolio that I would use if I were starting out with a smaller investment bankroll. In honor of Anthony Ralys, who started from a small investment so long ago, I decided to update my "$20,000 (or Less) Portfolio."
If you're starting off with a modest amount, I would focus on funds. Funds offer a diversity that would be hard to accomplish with individual holdings. For my latest $20,000 (or Less) Portfolio -- geared especially for beginners -- I've selected nine funds that I especially like for people who are just starting out.
I shared my updated beginner's portfolio with my existing subscribers earlier this month. But I am also offering it to new subscribers as a special report.
The vast majority of the recommendations are already also current Daily Paycheck holdings. But I have many, many more in my newsletter -- from fast dividend-growers to high-yielders to rock solid payers you can sleep well at night owning, no matter what.
It's this kind of diversification that has allowed me to collect more than $90,000 in income over the life of my portfolio -- a figure that continues to grow with each passing day.
If there's one takeaway I want you to walk away from today's essay, it's this... Achieving a million dollar-plus portfolio doesn't have to be hard. All it takes is a broad basket of quality dividend payers, reinvesting those dividends to buy more shares -- and patience.
Everyone deserves the chance to have a story like Anthony Ralys, Grace Groner or Anne Scheiber. That's why I've created a special call to action that details how despite everything workers and savers are up against these days, it's still possible to achieve these a financially secure retirement -- and more.
To learn how to get started, simply follow this link.