5 financial lessons from the life of a university librarian worth $4 million

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It’s been a banner week for eccentric millionaires who bequeath large sums of money to beloved institutions!

First we had the story of Ronald Read, the late janitor who was secretly a millionaire and left $1.2 million to the Brooks Memorial Library and $4.8 million to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in his native Vermont. Both institutions were places where Ronald spent time living during the peak of his life and also during his waning years.

Now comes the story of Robert Morin, a librarian at the University of New Hampshire who left a $4 million fortune to his beloved school when he passed away at age 77. 

Robert spent five decades working at the school’s Dimond Library, a place and a job he cherished. What can we learn from the life of this most uncommon librarian and how can it benefit our financial future? Read on…

Read more: Janitor, secretly a millionaire, donates fortune after his death

Shop secondhand

Reports say that Robert rarely bought clothes. In fact, the Boston Globe notes that library staffers had to periodically persuade Robert to go clothes shopping with them.

Clearly, Robert was a man who understood the value of a dollar and felt it was squandered needlessly on new threads. While it’s not documented, we’re willing to bet he would have favored used clothing.

Men’s dress clothes are a great buy at thrift shops. They’re usually in fantastic shape because few men dress up for work anymore. Instead, today’s standard office outfit usually includes khaki pants and a golf shirt.

The flip side of that is you probably won’t find good men’s casual clothing at a thrift shop because guys tend to wear their casual clothes until they’re threadbare.

Used clothing is one of nine items Clark says you should always buy used.


Drive an old used car

One recent estimate put that cost at nearly $79,000 over 15 years economy car like a Mazda 3. Imagine what it would be for a fancier car.

Chances are Robert was also familiar with the idea of depreciation when it comes to new cars. Simply put, depreciation means that when you buy a new car, the value drops like a rock the minute you drive it off the dealer lot.

The smart money knows it’s far better to let someone else take that hit upfront and to buy a used vehicle instead!

Read more: How to buy a used car

Reduce what you pay for groceries

There are plenty of ways to have a fresh diet with a lot of fruit and veggies without breaking the bank if you know the right way to shop. And bonus, it doesn’t even have to include clipping coupons!

Keep working beyond retirement age

We know that Robert retired in 2014 when he was in his mid 70s. The fact that he worked beyond age 65 speaks volumes about a key strategy to boost your retirement savings: Continue working past traditional retirement if you’re able.

Doing so will boost your Social Security check and allow you extra time to build more savings. Plus, it just gives you an all-around great reason to keep getting up in the morning!

Always keep reading!

According to research done by author Tom Corley, 58% of wealthy people he surveyed read biographies of other successful people.


Robert was no exception to the rule. He is reported to have had an insatiable appetite for reading and he devoured thousands of tomes during his life to prove it.

Want to save even more money as you read yourself to wealth? Get those books from your local library. Robert would be proud!

Read more: 7 most common financial regrets

The steps one many took to retire at 33

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