Phyllis Stone

Dividend Millionaire – Phyllis Stone

Phyllis Stone became a millionaire by mainly owning an oil and natural gas stock for decades. She also reinvested the dividend, like dividend growth investors. Her net worth reached about $6 million. Few people knew she was wealthy at her death, making her a secret dividend millionaire.

This story is about luck, frugality, and staying the course. Phyllis came from a reasonably affluent family. Reportedly, she and her two siblings inherited money from their parents. Ms. Stone may have even inherited some stock from her parents and grandparents. Additionally, she lived a modest life without spending extravagantly. However, Phyllis was not austere, enjoyed Grateful Dead concerts, and was friends with Jerry Garcia. She also had a box at the Saratoga Racecourse.

Her investment in Mobil Oil stock, a company she worked at for many years, allowed her to build wealth. Mobil stock split many times, and the dividend grew. Eventually, the company was acquired by Exxon, a well-known dividend growth stock. The combined firm became Exxon Mobil (XOM). She probably held tens of thousands of shares worth about $2 million. The remainder of her wealth comprised other equities, bonds, home, and properties.

Phyllis Stone died in 1996 at the age of 91. After her death, she bequeathed most of her wealth to local not-for-profit organizations and social service agencies. Ms. Stone gave $885,642.89 million each to the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the United Way of the Greater Capital Region. Other organizations received lesser amounts. She also gave her driver $250,000 and the car.


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Phyllis Archer Stone’s Biography

Phyllis Archer Stone was born in New York state on June 8, 1921. She was 91 at the time of her death. She was one of four children of Curtis and Bertha Stone. Her siblings were Gordon, Jamon, and Mildred.

Little is reported about Phyllis’ education. However, in the 1950s, she worked at the former Sterling Winthrop pharmaceutical laboratory in East Greenbush, New York. Subsequently, she commenced a 35+ year career in the real estate division of Mobil Oil in the firm’s Albany office.

She never married and had no children, a common trait of the secret dividend millionaires. She also owned a few cats.

Ms. Stone lived in her home on Washington Avenue in Albany, New York, for at least 50 years. She also owned property on Madison Avenue and in Ballston Spa. She died on January 10, 2013, at the age of 91.

Phyllis Stone’s Stock Holdings

Most of her portfolio consisted of Mobil Oil Corporation’s stock. Exxon acquired the oil giant in a stock transaction completed on November 30, 1999, and the combined firms became Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM). The two firms were the largest successor companies of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Phyllis Stone reportedly owned tens of thousands of shares of Exxon Mobil when she died. However, the exact quantity is not known.

Exxon Mobil’s share price was about $40 on November 30, 1999, and it paid a split-adjusted $0.44 per share. By the time Ms. Stone died, the share price was ~$88, meaning her wealth more than doubled from capital gains alone. Further, the quarterly dividend rate was about $0.57 per share. Thus, the dividend payment was $5,700 per quarter for every ten thousand shares she owned.

Clearly, Phyllis Stone’s wealth was snowballing in the last few years of her life. If she owned 50,000 shares, her quarterly dividend income was about $28,500; annually, it reached $100,000+. Moreover, she seemingly reinvested most of her dividend income.

Besides Exxon Mobil, Phyllis had other stocks and bonds in her portfolio. She owned shares of Ballston Spa National Bank. Additionally, she owned her primary home and additional properties.

Related articles About Exxon Mobil on Dividend Power

How Phyllis Stone Became a Millionaire

Luck

Ms. Stone had the good luck of working for Mobil Oil and buying stock. She did not know ahead of time Mobil’s share price would rise. Moreover, she had no inclination that Exxon would buy Mobil, and the combined companies would grow dramatically and focus on shareholder returns. Phyllis was in the right place at the right time, allowing her wealth to compound.

Frugality

Most secret dividend millionaires live frugally. They often live in the same house for decades and drive the same car for years. In addition, they tend not to buy fancy clothes or other items. Phyllis Stone was not an exception to this rule of thumb. She had minimal expenses and her clothing was described as frumpy.

Staying the Course

Phyllis Stone followed a buy-and-hold strategy and stayed the course for decades. Whether she intended to or followed the method because of inertia is difficult to ascertain. However, people have described her as intelligent about stocks and investing.

Because Phyllis held Mobil Oil and Exxon Mobil shares for over forty years, reinvesting the dividends, she became rich. Also, she lived to 91, leveraging the power of compounding over many years. Time is one of the essential factors in building wealth in the stock market. A famous investing quote is, 

“Invest for the long haul. Don’t get too greedy and don’t get too scared.”

Final Thoughts on Dividend Millionaire – Phyllis

Phyllis Stone combined luck, frugality, and buy-and-hold investing to create a fortune for herself. She bought shares in solid companies and held on to them for decades. As a result, her wealth accumulated. She also lived frugally and thus minimized her expenses, causing her net worth to rise.

Related Articles on Dividend Power


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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.

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