Kathleen and Robert Magowan were millionaire twins. Together, their net worth was nearly $10 million. At their death, they were secret dividend millionaires because of Robert’s investment savvy and the twin’s frugal living. Moreover, they followed a buy-and-hold investment strategy.
Kathleen was initially a nurse. But she later switched careers to teaching after obtaining her master’s degree in education. However, she had no training or experience in choosing stocks or bonds. Instead, she lived a very frugal lifestyle and relied on her brother to manage investments.
Her twin brother, Robert, was a Prudential insurance agent. Hence, he had more exposure to investing and planning for retirement. He also lived frugally. In fact, near the end of his life, he moved in with Kathleen, and they lived in the family home with minimal expenses.
The twins inherited stocks and bonds from their father. Robert managed these investments throughout their lives and seemingly added to the portfolio. Kathleen Magowan apparently had little idea of her true wealth. Reportedly, she thought she had about $40,000 when asked by her attorney to create a will. However, her true wealth was approximately $6.0 million, and her brother was worth roughly $3.5 million.
Robert Magowan died in 2010 at the age of 85. His twin sister died in 2011 at the age of 87. He left his sister his estate. After her death, Kathleen gave away nearly $6 million of the combined fortune to 15 charities, including the school system where she worked, a nursing home where she died, her church, and her alma mater. The rest was split between seven family members and a few neighbors.
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Kathleen and Robert Magowan’s Biography
Kathleen and Robert Magowan were born on July 9, 1924, in New York City (NYC). They were the children of William and Wilhelmina Magowan. Her father eventually became the chief financial officer of Ensign Bickford, a manufacturer of safety fuses used in mining. Her family moved to Simsbury, Connecticut, in 1942. Ensign Bickford was headquartered there.
Robert served in the U.S. military and was a veteran of World War II. Afterward, he was an insurance agent for Prudential. He never married and did not have children.
Kathleen attended Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut, graduating as a nurse in 1947. She worked for two years as a nurse in the pediatric unit of Saint Francis Hospital. But Kathleen changed careers after graduating with a Master’s in Education from Hillyer University, which later became a part of the University of Hartford. Subsequently, she taught first grade for 35 years in the Simsbury public school system. Kathleen retired in 1984. She never married and did not have children.
Kathleen lived much of her life in the family’s home in Simsbury. As they grew older, Robert moved into the house. He died on June 17, 2010, at the age of 85, while she passed away on August 17, 2011, at the age of 87.
Kathleen and Robert Magowan’s Stock Holdings
The twin’s portfolio was not published at the time of their death. However, some highlights were noted. They had a stock portfolio, but the constituents and total value were not provided. However, Kathleen owned Ametek, Inc, a Pennsylvania-based electric motor, pump, and instrument manufacturing company. This stock ended up being Kathleen’s biggest winner. Notably, Ametek (AME) still exists today and is a $31+ billion company, paying dividends.
Seemingly, many of the stocks and bonds were acquired by their father, which the twins inherited. They snowballed in value during the 1960s and 1970s. They brother and sister followed a buy-and-hold strategy for their stock portfolio. But Anne never really knew about the equities she owned because Robert made most of the investment decisions and tracked their portfolio.
Besides the Ametek stock, Kathleen had a life insurance policy from 1949. She also owned U.S. Savings Bonds in $50 and $100 denominations from the 1940s and 1950s stored in a Quaker Oats can. The bonds were worth roughly $183,000.
The twins did not throw much away. Other items with value included old magazines, records from the 1920s, a record player, etc. Additionally, the almost 100-year-old family house was worth $250,000.
How The Magowan Twins Became Millionaires
Both Kathleen and Robert Magowan were frugal. They both lived simple lives, and their expenses were minimal. Moreover, because they inherited and lived in their parents’ home, mortgage expenses were non-existent. Usually, a home is the main expense for people. Next, neither sibling had children, further lowering their daily living costs. Although they were frugal, the twins were not austere but probably had a high savings rate.
Good Stock Picking
Of the stocks the Magowan twins owned, we know of only one pick, Ametek. Suppose Robert bought the stock in 1960. The total return by 2011 would have been several thousand percent. Although we do not know for sure, this stock may have been a significant source of their wealth.
Not all stock picks must be successful for a portfolio to perform well. Peter Lynch has said,
“You only need a few good stocks in your lifetime. I mean how many times do you need a stock to go up ten-fold to make a lot of money? Not a lot.”
The Magowans relied on a buy-and-hold strategy for their success. However, it may have been an accident because they lived simply and frugally. They probably did not sell the stocks and bonds they inherited from their parents because they did not require the money to live.
Essentially, Kathleen and Robert Magowan bought and held the stocks for decades, reinvesting the dividends. They lived into their 80’s, shorter than other dividend millionaires. But they reached an age that let their net worth grow substantially to nearly $10 million.
Final Thoughts on Dividend Millionaire – Kathleen and Robert Magowan
Robert and Kathleen Magowan had two main advantages. First, they inherited stocks and bonds from their parents. Second, they lived frugally. As a result, they could let their wealth accumulate. However, they did not enjoy their riches like many others on this list. They collected it but never spent the wealth.
You can also read Dividend Millionaire – Anne Scheiber.
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Prakash Kolli is the founder of the Dividend Power site. He is a self-taught investor, analyst, and writer on dividend growth stocks and financial independence. His writings can be found on Seeking Alpha, InvestorPlace, Business Insider, Nasdaq, TalkMarkets, ValueWalk, The Money Show, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and leading financial sites. In addition, he is part of the Portfolio Insight and Sure Dividend teams. He was recently in the top 1.0% and 100 (73 out of over 13,450) financial bloggers, as tracked by TipRanks (an independent analyst tracking site) for his articles on Seeking Alpha.