A millionaire on an extreme savings regimen

From the LA Times:

David Moehlman, a 44-year old fourth grade teacher, has more than $1 million in various savings and mutual funds, plus half a milllion or so in real estate.   After the market crashed, he begain purchasing condos that once went for $250k – $350k for $70k – $118k, paying cash.  Today, he nets $2,750 from the rental income.  That plus his teaching salary of $80,000, he regularly puts away $38,000 into a savings account.

He eats almost exclusively from the dollar menu at restaurants, a diet that does not contain any fruits or vegetables.  He maintains that he has never eaten a grape in his life.  (??)

At this rate, he will have $3.5 million by the time he plans to retire at age 55, with the plan that he will begin a new, more exciting chapter, but his life is so plain and structured – I can’t imagine he’ll be able to change his spending habits at all. I believe in saving money and living frugally, but that you still need to spend on things that make you happy occasionally.  He seems to have completely missed that part of the lesson.

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12 thoughts on “A millionaire on an extreme savings regimen

  1. Hehehe, I don’t think the man’s going to live long enough to spend his three and a half million dollars. I know – here in Hong Kong, we have lots of people like him. And their money often gets left to the sardines…

    Personally, my savings rate is roughly 25% of my income – it could have been more but, then again, Hong Kong is a ferociously expensive city. Back in London, I managed to save around 50%, mostly because I saved early in my career to own my own home there (rather than blowing cash on gadgets and accessories) and ride a motorbike (which saves on fuel). But I don’t skimp on food (yeah, I’m a skinny glutton, so sue me!). Life is for living (and some saving), but not like that man’s doing.

    Having said that, I congratulate him on being able to buy into a burst real-estate market and profit from it. Shame that he’s not quite really enjoying his profits from it, though.

  2. Kudo’s for that guy for having the cash to jump in the housing market at just the right time. I don’t think that eating from the dollar menu is for me, either. And like you, I would want to enjoy some of my money before I turn 55.

  3. Grace says:

    I have to say that while I certainly admire his savings habits, it also seems like he’s mildly mentally ill–maybe Aspergers, maybe OCD. He seems happy enough and he’s not hurting anyone (except maybe himself with that diet!) so more power to him.

  4. I don’t want to be that person, but I do acknowledge that Grace is right — it could be a disease. That kind of extremity is similar to people who say that they can only eat hamburgers or pizza and nothing else. “Extreme eaters”

  5. LOL! No, he won’t change his habits at 50 (assuming he lives that long). But so what? He’s happy. What more does a man need? 😀

    Hey…waitaminit! He earns 80 grand teaching the fourth grade? Really? Even in California that doesn’t sound right. In our parts the lifetime max a high school teacher can earn is $50,000, and elementary teachers are paid significantly less.

    • I thought $80k sounded high, too! I have friends who are teachers in CA and they don’t make nearly as much, especially with all the layoffs. Maybe it’s a typo.

  6. Annie says:

    Seriously, I could live for the rest of my life and be happy with a million (estimating a life span of 100 years). That would actually be a higher standard than I am currently living at and I eat veggies all the time.

    I guess he sacrificed healthy food for stuff like fancy cars and houses, but seriously, I could live like a queen on his rental income alone and STILL save a fortune!

    To each their own…

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