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Get Rich Quick: True Tales of Overnight Millionaires - Marv Doniger - 3 of 4

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The Lawsuit Winner

  • Name: Marv Doniger
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Laguna Niguel, Calif.
  • Source of wealth: After a bout with cancer, Doniger won $3.3 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How did you get rich? I was forced to retire as a result of my longtime physician failing to recognize that I had cancer. After three months at UCLA Hospital and having lost my bladder, I was released — unable to walk. I have regained the ability to walk but was unable to resume my career as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies. After years of litigation and two trials, I was awarded $3.3 million.

What did you buy? I have acquired a car and two poodles, Will & Grace, who are my constant companions. I also set up a trust fund for my grandchildren.

Smartest thing you spent it on? Investments that I made in accordance with my previously developed financial plan.

Dumbest thing you spent it on? I did not make any dumb financial decisions because I had a financial strategy and plan to cover the financial needs of my wife and myself. I have always looked at windfalls as something to be saved not squandered. Since I am no longer able to function as a management consultant, I chose to deploy the funds so as to ensure my wife's and my financial future.

What are you doing now? Based on my experience and reflection on my own personal financial plans, I have written books on managing finances.

Advice to others? A sudden influx of money presents one with a set of choices. You can use it to satisfy near-term desires, or use it to ensure your financial future. Develop a strategy for dealing with unforeseen financial needs. And beware of those who present you with investment ideas you don't understand and don't need to achieve your financial goals.

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