The Kiplinger Millionaires: Where Are They Now?
The 13 millionaires we profiled in 2005 fared quite well over the last year.
Last year we profiled 13 millionaires to find out how they reached that milestone. We recently caught up with some of them to see how they fared in 2005. Turns out they're still doing pretty well.
Best year ever
Elmo Shropshire, aka Dr. Elmo, is best known for his holiday hit, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." In 1983, Shropshire bet the bank and invested $40,000 to record an album featuring the surprise hit and to make a music video. The gamble paid off.
In 2005, Dr. Elmo was the number-two selling artist in the Sony BMG Christmas catalog and was featured in the Bravo channel special, "Great Things About the Holidays." Shropshire sold more than 360,000 of his stuffed singing-reindeer toys in 2005, and his signature tune was featured in the movie "Jarhead," starring Jamie Fox and Jake Gyllenhaal.
What's in store for 2006? He's working on a new Christmas CD and a dual disc, which will feature music on one side and video on the other. "We have had the best year ever," he says.
A second career
Neil and Maureen McCarthy became millionaires the old-fashioned way -- through steady investing. After retiring from BP Amoco in 2000, Neil took a lump-sum retirement payout and invested part of it in an immediate annuity. Between the annuity and his pension from Union Carbide, where he worked for 20 years, the McCarthys don't have to worry about funding their retirement.
The couple continues to reside in Roswell, Ga., where Neil is enjoying a second career as a fee-only registered investment adviser. He spends his days helping others manage their investments and plan for retirement. "It's quite satisfying to be able to help others get the maximum mileage from their investment dollars," says Neil.
Scott and Mandi Leonard went for broke when Scott quit his job as a stockbroker and opened a financial-planning business. His company took off, and since we last interviewed Scott a year ago, he has started another firm. Family Wealth Advisors focuses on transferring wealth through multiple generations.
Scott's first business, Leonard Wealth Management, continues to prosper, and the Leonards' investments have doubled, "partly from added savings and partly from appreciation," says Scott. He and Mandi are awaiting the arrival of their third child in May, and this summer they're planning a celebration at their historic Redondo Beach house/office to mark the tenth anniversary of the company's founding.
The Leonards recently purchased a 33-foot catamaran, named "Sugar Magnolia." It's part of their plan to grow sea legs and sail around the world. On the agenda: one season each in the Caribbean, the South Pacific and the Mediterranean.
"Aside from that, there's no real itinerary yet," says Scott. "We'll wing it as we go."
A Horatio Alger story
Through perseverance and hard work, Doris Christopher founded The Pampered Chef and slowly built it into a multi-million-dollar enterprise. After a quarter of a century in business, she shows no signs of slowing down.
Christopher's second book, The Pampered Chef: The Story of One of America's Most Beloved Companies ($25, Currency-Doubleday), was published in July 2005. She wrote the book to commemorate the company's 25th anniversary, and she shares what she learned while building the business into a leading seller of kitchen gadgets.
In April, Christopher will receive the Horatio Alger Award, which honors individuals who come from humble beginnings to achieve extraordinary success through hard work, integrity and perseverance. She will be inducted into the Horatio Alger Association as a life member and will be recognized at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Still living a dream
Chip and Kim McAllister's house was in foreclosure and both of their cars had been repossessed when they auditioned for the reality show, "The Amazing Race." They landed a spot on the popular TV program and were the first team to cross the finish line and claim the $1-million prize.
Since then, it's been non-stop excitement. The McAllisters just finished writing a book, "You Can Win YOUR Amazing Race," and are looking for a publisher. Chip was recently in the film, "Wedding Vows," which led to an offer to play the role of Stanley in the remake of 1959's "Anna Lucasta," which starred Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis, Jr. The film is expected to be released at the end of the year.
In addition, the McAllisters are part of the management team for the Red Letters Project, a musical endeavor to set the words of the Bible to rock music. They continue to travel the country and speak on "happy, healthy marriages," and they took a break to have some fun playing in Fox's Celebrity Poker Tournament.
"Our life is so weird that if somebody made a movie, nobody would accept it because they would think it could never happen," says Chip. "We're still pretty much living a dream."