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Sunday, July 19, 2015

The World's most unlikely Billionaires

I have just heard the amazing statistic that in my country of Bermuda, population 65,000, there are at least 21 Billionaires. The truly outstanding factoid is that most are locals, and most are wholly unintentional.

During my early life, Bermuda was a quiet little island. The second world war brought many American, Canadian and British forces to our shores, and after the war many returned as tourists with their families. Locals made an industry from this, and with savings many people bought land. I know a couple of such people who purchased several plots of land throughout the whole island.

Then they started to build homes. As time rolled on they added on to those one family homes which became multiple apartments. The law, (now changed) restricted home ownership to 100 per person. Therefore, those families hold 100 in each member's name. Then, Bermuda was discovered as a wonderful place to conduct international business and the real estate market suddenly rose in value with the demand for accommodation for foreign workers. The combined value of  real estate holdings, market value plus rental income is just staggering I actually know three people who are in this bracket. One is a woman whose father was a builder and holder of a vast holding. She is an only child. Both her parents have now passed so that she has inherited everything from them.

She married a builder, who like her father held a huge holding, and she also inherited when he passed. I am unable to estimate her wealth, neither in terms of capital value of her holdings or in her monthly income. She is certainly secure, and she passes her time in simply managing her properties.

There is a man who drives a taxi to pass the time. He too is very secure in his portfolio of properties. He limits his time in his taxi to giving tours of the island to visitors. He is a person who has the most warm and welcoming personality, so for those visitors who respond to him in a friendly way, they can find themselves in for a tremendous surprise He lives with his wife on a hill-top splendid home, and he has been known to invite his passengers to his home for lunch, prepared by his staff. He has made many life-long friends this way.

Another man is in the water trucking business. Serving his own properties is enough to keep him fully occupied. He is well respected throughout the island community as a person who gets involved in projects, and he is a leading light in his church who is responsible for the funding of much of the church's building.

I grew up during that same period of time and I did purchase a property that is well positioned in today's market. But, I only purchased the one. I travelled the world with my other savings, so from that standpoint I am rich in experience.

If only we had the certain foresight to know the future!

Copyright (c) 2015   Eugene Carmichael