Sylvia Bloom was a legal secretary who spent most of her professional life working closely with lawyers in New York.
Born to Eastern European immigrants, family and friends knew her as a frugal lady who used the bus and trains rather than buy herself a car to travel from her modest home to her workplace.
Bloom grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, went to public school, and studied for her degree at night.
However over the course of 67 years, she worked for the Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton law firm, and in that time Bloom had slowly amassed a fortune.
The frugal secretary, who died in 2016, quietly amassed a fortune of more than $9 million through a string of savvy investments, according to The New York Times.
Bloom never had children of her own and often spoke of her wishes to help students achieve their dreams via university scholarships.
In her will, she left $6.24 million to the Henry Street Settlement, a local social services group, along with another $2 million split between Hunter College and a scholarship fund.
Like most of us, she was never taught anything about investing. But one day her boss asked her to have a particular stock purchased in his investment account. He did that many times, and Bloom started buying a few shares of whatever he bought for herself, on the side. Like many of us, she learned about investing on her own, largely by just doing it. (It’s better to read a lot about investing first, though.)
Her niece described her as “not spendthrift” and says she remained humble about her earnings to the end – to the point where they speculated that her husband, who died in 2002, might not have known about the fortune she had amassed.
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