The Witch of Wall Street - Henrietta "Hetty" Green

Oct 04, 2013: Over the last couple of years folks have become increasingly cautious about spending. For good reasons that is - losing employment, sinking portfolios, negative house equities and the list goes on. Frugality is in - bigtime! Suddenly, we, Americans have become frugal :). We have started taking extreme measures to reduce our regular expenses.

But do you know who was the first Queen of Frugality?

Witch of Wall Street - Henrietta Her name is Henrietta "Hetty" Green. She lived from 1834-1916. Arguably she is an all time Frugality Champion.

Hetty was an astute American businesswoman with a very conservative investing philosophy. Because of her influence on Wall Street and probably due to her dark dress she was also infamously dubbed as the "Witch of Wall Street." She is listed in Guiness Book of World Records as the greatest of misers. Hetty’s disposition was so terrible that she had no friends and people avoided her.

Here are some of her famous frugal or should we say infamous miserly acts:
  • Never turned on heat
  • Never used hot water
  • Never changed her clothes and undergarments till they were worn out
  • Mostly ate 15-cent pies
  • Ate oatmeal heated on a radiator at her office
  • Traveled thousands of miles alone(!) to collect few hundred dollars
  • Rode an old carriage
  • The saddest of all: When her son Ned broke a leg, she took him to a hospital's charity ward for free treatment. But the hospital's officials soon recognized her and decided that she did not qualify for treatment in their charity ward. In order to avoid expenses for her son's treatment she took him home. Without proper medical care, poor Ned contracted gangrene and his leg had to be amputated!
Naturally the next question is: How much money did she amass in her lifetime?

MoneyAt the time of her death in 1916, Henrietta "Hetty" Green's net worth was a whopping $2 to $4 billion in today's dollars.

In spite of all the money that Henrietta "Hetty" Green piled up in her lifetime, her son lost his leg due to her miserly act. We were wondering whether her act of saving money by not having her son treated at the hospital really worth it? There is no doubt that she was rich in terms of money but was she rich in compassion? Did she have a peaceful life? Was she ever happy?

For us, happiness, peace and contentment are much more important than amassing a humongous amount of money over our lifetime. It'd pay to constantly check if we are committing blunders akin to the Witch of Wall Street? Hope not!

What is your opinion about the Witch of Wall Street? Do you like the way she lived her life? We are looking forward towards your feedback :).

Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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