Why this childless man’s legacy will be talked about for many years to come

By Nina Steele 

Will writingAlan Naiman, who never married nor had any children, was from Seattle, in the US. He passed away from cancer on January 8, 2018. He was 63. He first worked in banking and then retrained as a social worker. Upon his death, it was revealed that he had left over $11 million to various charities in Seattle. The news came as a complete shock to most of those who knew him, not least because of the way he had lived his life.

Indeed, the picture that is being painted, is that of a man who loved nothing more than to live frugally. Except for a handful, not many people knew that he was this wealthy. One of those in the know, an old friend from the time when he worked in banking in the 80s, had this to say about his frugality: “He was just that kind of guy that he couldn’t just spend the money. It was just in his nature to save the money and put it aside”. The friend goes on to add that: “Saving money was sort of a game to him. He would brag about how he had a whole day out and didn’t have to spend a single cent”.

I have to admit that at first, I was critical of him for putting all that money away, and living the way he is said to have lived. Why go to all that length to save all that money, if you are not going to use it, was my thought to begin with. And then, I thought of my own life and how my husband and I love living simply. That’s when the penny dropped. As we grow older, our true self comes to the fore, and for some of us, simple living is what gives us the most pleasure. There is nothing worse than to live a life that isn’t true to one’s core values, and Alan Naiman remained true to his core values, regardless of how wealthy he got.

He may have left these shores, but his legacy will be remembered for many years to come. One of the charities he donated money to, was able to pay off the mortgage on its premises, a complete and utter relief for any organisation, particularly in this difficult economic climate. When he was still alive, Alan is said to have told his friend that after his death, the size of his donation was “going to blow the charities away”. Well, it certainly has.

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