They say money isn't everything... until you actually have it. We spend the majority of our lives slaving away, trying to make a good living for ourselves and our families. But sometimes we can't help but fantasize what it would be like to come across a huge sum of money, just like these lucky people."
#1 Cashing In
The summer after my freshman year in college, I was walking my little 20-lb dog on a street near my house. A neighbor lady was walking her two dogs—a husky and some other similar sized dog. The husky attacked my dog and in the process, I got some teeth marks on my wrist. Since the neighbor's dog started it and the owner obviously couldn’t control it, I wanted them to pay the vet fees for my dog which was under $500. The guy ended up being a jerk about it and my roommate's dad was a lawyer so about a year and a half later, I ended up with about $20k.
#2 The Severance Package
I was hurt off the job. I went back too soon and kept informing my boss I wasn’t read. My boss did nothing and kept me working. I got the feeling I was being targeted to be fired because of the sick leave so I lawyered up, documented everything, and recorded all meetings. The company got wise that I was being smart about handling the situation, so they spoke to labor relations and decided to buy me out instead. I ended up with about $40k severance package. Enough to ride out my recovery at least. I kind of wished they were stupid and fired me instead. I also only paid about $3k in lawyer fees because I found a really good lawyer.
#3 Thank You, Wisdom
In the '90s I fostered a dog for some friends who were leaving town and left the dog with me. This dog immediately made an impression upon me, and even though I really didn't want a pet at the time, he was such an amazing dog, he convinced me otherwise. He was a super-smart, half-black lab, half-pit bull. I called him "Wisdom" because he was so smart.
Fast forward a few years: I used him as a mascot for a recording studio I set up. I registered the domain name Wisdom.com. My dog passed away several years later and I was heartbroken and depressed for many years. I maintained the domain name even though I didn't really have any projects associated with it. Over the years people made offers on the domain name but I always passed. The domain was a homage to my long lost best friend.
Then in 2000, with the dot-com boom, there was renewed interest in domains and IPOs. I had a few groups bugging me for the domain name and kept increasing their offers. Eventually, the numbers got into the "life-changing" areas of money, and I couldn't ignore them.
I originally secured the Wisdom.com domain name for nothing. In the early days of the Internet, it didn't cost any money to register a domain name. You just had to fill out the right forms. I actually would never have to pay any domain renewal fees if it wasn't for a sysadmin that made changes to the domain and accepted new terms of service that forced me to have to pay renewal fees. Otherwise, the $475,000 I was ultimately offered in cash would have been pure profit. But instead, my cost was a few hundred dollars over the year. Still a significant windfall that gave me the opportunity to take that money and create another cool community of wonderful people.
I continue to be in awe that my little dog, Wisdom, had the ability to bestow such an amazing gift upon me so many years later, and I'm determined to use that gift to help others. I took the money to create a special space that is a maker space and club to help others.
#4 Guardian Angel
My wife's aunt died. She had been institutionalized her whole life and neither of us had ever even met her. We kind of forgot about it for a few months until my wife's uncle emailed her and said she was going to be getting some money. We were like oh, okay, that's kind of weird, but not complaining. Then my wife got a phone call from the uncle one evening. It turned out we were getting over $300,000.
We were both grinding away making $15 an hour and barely making rent every month, and then boom. Outta nowhere. That ended up being the difference between having a house and not having a house, being able to start a family and not being able to start a family, and having a retirement fund vs. just hoping not to get evicted every month.
#5 Private Label
I started an Amazon private label business on a whim in 2015. I made about 25% of the sale in profit after product, shipping, and advertising costs. Sales doubled every month for six months: June $4k, July $8k August $18k, September $40k, October $84k November $175k, December $362k.
I didn't know what to do. I quit my job in January to focus on growing the business, but my time was spent mostly trying to fend off competition copying my listing, posting fraudulent reviews, and then lowering my price in the Reece to the bottom. It went well for a few years, but I never made as much as I made that first December. Lesson learned: arbitrage isn't a long term business.
#6 Put It In Writing
I was the victim of housing discrimination and the morons put it in writing. They literally sent me an email explaining they wouldn't rent to me. Had they just not sent the email, they would have been fine... Nobody would have known they'd rejected my application for a bad reason. It's okay to reject applications for a wide variety of reasons. If they'd chosen a fake one, or even given no explanation at all, they wouldn't have found themselves in legal trouble.
I made a complaint to my state and the state assigned a free lawyer to handle it. I didn't even know they'd do that. Anyway, the people kept lying and saying I was making stuff up. They insulted my character in a wide variety of ways that went way beyond the issue at hand... It was stuff like claiming I was faking [reason they discriminated] in the first place, so how could they discriminate against something I was faking?
It was just ridiculous. In the end, I wound up with a decent-sized check. Again, when I reported them I thought I'd never learn the result of what the state would decide to do—I was just reporting a broken law. But the best part was that the lawyer asked me if I wanted them to have to take an anti-discrimination class because, if I did, the state would include that in the punitive measures. I did.
The class was two hours away from them in the constant traffic of our area, and I liked imagining them having to sit there in some ugly depressing room while being educated about why they were horrible people and needed to stop being terrible.
#7 A New Addiction
I work in pokie rooms. An elderly man once came in and asked me to teach him how to play. I did so and about 20 minutes in, he won the grand jackpot of around $9,000 AUD. I was overjoyed for him and got really excited. Then for months, I watched him come in regularly and just lose, lose, lose. I felt so bad that I had taught him how to play and that he won so big to start with because his bar was then set so high he could never live up to it again. The poor man won a gambling addiction.
#8 Lucky Luck
Playing blackjack while tipsy in Reno. I had $300 to waste at the $5 table got lots of free watered-down drinks while I was playing so I wasn’t paying attention. I have a rule, two piles, one of cash I can waste and another of the money I won. I was there for about three hours before I realized I wasn’t out of betting money and the dealer had changed four times. Won $4k at that table. Paid for the trip and a bit leftover. I haven’t been to a casino since but I doubt I’d have that kind of luck again.
#9 Really Blessed
When I was 17 about to turn 18, my mom told me to open a bank account because I was going to get around $500 to $600 from my dad. I opened the bank account, signed the papers she needed me to, and got a whopping $15,400 deposited into my bank at 18 years old. Two years ago (22 at this point), I come to find out he got a huge settlement for a car accident and I got another 15k disbursed over 2.5 years. I don't know if it was back child support or what but I was really blessed.
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#10 Free Laptop
I won a laptop like 8 years ago because there was no coffee in the faculty cafeteria, so I bought an iced tea. The cafeteria lady told me to fill my name and phone number because the iced tea brand was giving away a laptop. Two weeks later, I had a call telling me I won. I didn’t remember. Turns out, it was a promotion with the seven cafeterias on the campus, and around 3,000 people participated.
#11 Out Of Boredom
I briefly worked with a guy who was in his late 20s, ex-military. When he got out, a friend of his he served with told him to buy Bitcoin. He bought several thousand when it was nothing and forgot about it. When it first started spiking and getting attention on the news, he started looking for the drive because he thought he had some. He did and he had a lot of it.
Sold well before the peak. Dude made millions. He had an $800,000 house, multiple high-end cars, and came to work a manual labor job "because he was bored." Needless to say, he didn't stay long and all he did was show off his money and clock hours not actually working.
#12 Aunt Kittie
My great-aunt and godmother was a lesbian. Her partner, my Auntie Kitty, had been with her since the 1950s when my godmother moved to New York City to work for as a magazine photographer. Auntie Kitty was disowned by her family when it came out she was with a woman. My godmother died when I was 12 and left my Auntie Kitty everything in her will, which made things strained with my dad's family, though my dad and one of his brothers still talked to her.
I moved to New York at 18 for school and, knowing no one else in the city, we became close. She was thrilled that I wanted to have a relationship with her and spend time with her and didn't hesitate to think of her as my aunt, even though she technically wasn't. She was legit the greatest—we spent holidays together and she would come to things I worked on and I knew all her friends and she knew mine. I basically spent a decade with her being like another grandmother to me.
As she got older, she'd repeatedly remind me I was the executor of her Will, that I was to follow it to a T, and none of her family was to get anything. I got the bulk, my dad and uncle got some, and my sister and my nieces a little. I knew the woman had money—she had a vacation home in the Carolinas and a brownstone in NYC— but since they were bought in the '70s, I figured outside of the real estate, there wasn't much. I was very wrong and inherited enough that potentially I wouldn't have to work ever again if I didn't feel like it.
#13 Paid Parking
My friend's dad's friend decided to open an ice business. Hey, everyone needs ice. He bought an old warehouse in the ghetto because it was cheap. The government decided to redo the on-ramps to the bridge and needed to buy like a third of his parking lot, maybe say 20 parking spots worth. He didn't care, he had a staff of like four, never used more than that. I never heard exact numbers but I did hear he got more for those spots than he paid for the property.
#14 Loss And Gain
My previous employer eliminated my position... our whole department actually. I got a severance of one week per year which worked out to be 22 weeks of salary. Not only that, I got paid a bonus to stay on for the last 3 months. After that was over, I got a job with a competitor company making the exact same salary and doing mostly the same job. I started the very next Monday! I actually even like working for the new company better. I don't know how 'random' that really was, but it sure felt like a real fortunate way to lose a job!
#15 Money Maker
I had a boss who was single, no kids, and making around $250k a year. He was set to retire around age 56, and the company begged him to stay on another year, so he did. During that year, the parent company suddenly offered a buyout to eliminate senior positions, offering a month for every year they were there. He had been with the company for 30 years, and he walked away with an additional $600k or so. Last I heard, he was traveling the world in luxury.
#16 Rags To Riches
I was celebrating my 20th birthday. I decided to go to the nice casino an hour away from campus with my then-boyfriend. We played bingo because that's what I could afford and it occupied some time. We lost. I called my dad (he loves casinos when he has the money to go). He told me to play 3-card poker. I had watched him play before but I didn't know how and I was on my last $20 to my name. He told me that would be enough for a hand or two and just give it a shot, the dealer would explain the rules.
So I sat at the table by myself. I won. The dealer was really excited for me, but I was pretty clueless. I had a straight flush. Then I just kept winning. People would take the seat in front of me, they would lose, I'd win. Didn't matter. I got two more straight flushes that night and lots of other good hands. I kept betting the minimum, wish I was putting down more. I turned $20 into $3k that night. My dad didn't believe me.
#17 Bad Beat Jackpot
I used to play low-limit poker at a local casino. I was usually pretty decent at it, but one night I played for a couple of hours and didn't win a single hand, but I was playing right so I still had a decent amount of my buy-in.
Eventually, I ended up in a hand where I had a full house (I can't remember the cards). The guy sitting next to me was betting into me, and from the table, in his actions, I could tell that he had a four of a kind. While I was debating it, the guy whispered: "raise." I figured he was trying to psych me out, so I said screw it and called.
Turns out he did have a four of a kind and beat me. Turns out there's also something called a "bad beat jackpot," where you would win a lot of money if you had a full house and we're beaten by a four of a kind, but only if the pot was over a certain amount, which is why he told me to raise. Luckily, the pot was like $3 over the amount. I ended up winning like three grand because of that.
#18 Treasure In Plain Sight
My friend's father was gifted an oil pencil drawing in the late-'70s. His family always assumed it was pretty much worthless and I always joked that it looked like my friend had drawn it as a child. This stilly angry stick figure drawing ended up being an unsigned piece of art by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
His family did some digging and eventually had it authenticated by the JMB estate before selling it at Christie's auction house for an amazing sum of money. I was absolutely blown away when I learned this. My friend and his family were far from wealthy so to realize they had this unknown treasure just sitting out in the living room for so many years were mind-blowing.
#19 A Legendary Painting
A girl I went to school with had this old painting in the garage. In my Grade 12 English class, there was a conversation about the Canadian art scene. She said some of the paintings looked similar to the one they had in the garage. Turns out, her grandma had an affair with one of The Group of Seven (I’m sorry I don’t remember which one). They sold it and made a lot of money. They all live very comfortably off it.
#20 Impressive Algorithm
I quit a job at a startup that was a mess. I just wanted to do something relaxing so I took some time of cleaning up an old algorithm I wrote 10 years ago. I told a friend of mine, who told some industry people about it. They contacted me and I got invited to talk about it at a conference and then large companies started getting in touch. So far I have signed one seven-figure deal to license it. It's not random, but it feels very random. I'm making more in interest now than I ever have earned holding down a job. The world is not fair.
#21 Almost Rich
I was 10 years old. My two friends and I found a paper bag in a shopping cart outside the local grocery. It was stuffed with money. We counted it and it was just over $600 dollars. We split it three ways and went home. One of my friends later crumbled under the pressure and told their moms who told our moms. We had to return it. I only spent like 10 bucks... Turns out, it belonged to one of the suppliers to the grocery who accidentally left it in his cart on the way out. Not a ton of money, but for a ten-year-old kid... man, we were proper rich for a minute!
#22 Paid Actor
I was a male escort for about seven years. I would go with people and would pretend to be their perfect boyfriend or partner in front of friends and family. It started out very much as an accident but ended up making me a ton of money. I recently "retired" and started focusing on going to school because I can't do escorting my whole life. I also really dislike people and it was honestly a chore. Most of my clients were "1% percenters" which is the reason I made so much money. I did pay taxes on it before anyone asks.
#23 Bitcoin Power
I forgot I had 11-something bitcoins from back in the day leftover from buying “pizza." I tried to set up a new account to invest in bitcoin since I’d used it before and saw I already had an account. I logged in and WOW!! I sold it all and made like $7,000. Imagine the feeling of knowing it would eventually reach $20k per coin.
#24 Basically Family
My neighbor died with no friends or family and left everything in her will to us. People always ask if we were great neighbors to her... I’d say no, we were just neighbors and treated her as we would want to be treated. If it snowed, we cleared her driveway without her asking. We took care of her cats if she went to the beach, and said hi if we saw her.
She was a tough cookie and an alpha female would be the best way to put it. She hated if I played basketball in the driveway and when we were cleaning out her garage after she died, we found three of my old basketballs. But she was also the type of person that, if she wanted an apple pie, she would bake an apple pie and take a slice and bring the rest over to us.
#25 Karma Comes Back Around
My ex-husband was a bad dude. He currently owes me over $26k in back child support. When we were together, all of the bills were in my name. He left me for another woman three weeks after I gave birth to our second child and defaulted on all of our bills. Both our cars got repoed and I ended up filing bankruptcy two years later.
Last year, I got a notice in the mail from the lender of one of the two repoed cars. Apparently, there was a class-action lawsuit against them for hidden fees and since the cars were in my name, I was getting a refund of a few thousand dollars. I was able to use the money to help move out of my mom's place.
#26 King For A Day
One time when I was like 15 I heard a story on ESPN about how a Tiger Woods "rookie card" that was published by SI for Kids magazine had sold for like $100,000. I had subscribed to SI for Kids around that time and spent part of that afternoon looking through old boxes for that issue.
Lo and behold, I found the issue with the page of perforated cards perfectly intact. It wasn't perfectly centered and I didn't want to risk detaching it and ruining something, so I put the whole magazine on eBay. Sold it for $500, which felt like a small fortune at the time. I felt like a king that day.
#27 Lost The Bet
My husband's boss bet the table at the company Christmas party that nobody could tell him what the name of the restaurant meant in English. The silly ass did this at an Italian restaurant; I speak some French and guessed it instantly. Bossman took seven months to pay up on a $100 bet to a teenage girl, but he eventually paid.
#28 Big Check
I had a coworker who had bought a new car, and within a week somebody crashed into him and the car was totaled. He ended up getting a little more from their insurance than he'd paid for the car and moved on. A year later, he got a letter from the other guy's insurance company saying that they had audited their books and found that they owed him money. They sent him a check for $16,000 to pay for the damage to the car they had already totaled.
#29 Three-Bedroom In Boston
My parents died when I was in my 20s and I inherited a small buttload of money. The real kicker was the house I grew up in. It was a three-bedroom, single-family home with an attached business in Boston. I was an absentee landlord for a while from another state but decided it was too much of a pain in the but, so I sold it. Look up what a three-bedroom house goes for in Boston.
#30 The Motorcycle Man
I built a motorcycle, back in 2011. Pretty well all the parts on it, I built. Took it to a few rallies, few shows. Made its way around the internet, some magazines. Had a ton of people ask if I sold this part or that part. So, I started to. Started in my garage. Sold right about 10,000 parts out of there over the span of two years. Bought a shop, more equipment, started automating my processes.
A friend that owns a business that supplies stuff to practically every nuclear plant in the world pops in one day, asks me to design a connector for a surveillance system they sell. Took a day, had the prototype done. Cut out round about 20 minutes on each individual camera installation, and required no tools. They sold a ton of those. Then jumped into radiation shielding. Big money in that.
It's been nearly ten years now. Sell thousands upon thousands of bike parts that I designed and build every year. Travel to motorcycle events all over. Generally have a blast. I'm 31, pretty well have the financial freedom to go do whatever I want.
#31 Seizing An Opportunity
My last employer before I retired was matching 25% of whatever I contributed to my 401K. I maxed that out every year even when it got to be over 30% of my salary. Most of my workmates were contributing like 3-5% and I couldn't for the life of me convince them that 25% plus whatever appreciation was the best deal they'd ever see in their lives. I retired at age 62 and my wife retired soon after at age 55. Our advisor predicts a 99% chance that we'll be able to maintain our very comfortable current lifestyle for the rest of our lives even if my wife lives to 100. My former workmates, probably not so much.
#32 Just My Luck
A lot of sheer luck has put me in the position I'm currently in. Getting my college degree, landing a stable six-figure job... the path I ended up on had lots of little "Wow, I got lucky" moments. I could have easily had a much worse life, as I put myself in plenty of bad situations. I ended up watching my friends get arrested, drop out of school, have unexpected kids, etc. I was just lucky and missed those moments.
#33 The Pieces Fall Into Place
I made a few smart moves along the way, but I feel like a lot of it was luck... making friends with the right coworker who later was in a position to hire me, earning the same degree as a hiring manager which gave us something in common, starting the same position in the same week as a very smart person who taught me a lot, etc. Next month I start a new job making a ridiculously high salary (for me) and it feels like a lot of it was just luck to get me on this path.
#34 A Strong Ear
Back in the mid-1990s when I lived in NYC, the musical Rent was really popular but they hadn't yet published the sheet music for it. I got hired by this dude who wanted to put on a performance of Rent... he had a bootleg cassette of the show and offered to pay me $50 per song to create lead sheets. I have a really strong ear so it was not time-consuming. It wasn't a LOT of money, but for a struggling college student, it was great and was definitely the most random way I ever made money.
#35 Hit The Jackpot
I got adopted by the two best people in the world when I was four months old. They did everything they could to raise me and set me on the right path. I have a pretty amazing life. Great job, fantastic wife, comfortable life, great friends... pretty much owe everything to a random event where I was the kid who got paired with my parents. Side note: I recently found my birth family and discovered I have an older brother who was not put up for adoption. To see his life and what he had to endure is very hard for me. I hit the jackpot and I am thankful every day.
#36 Regretful Decisions
Oof. Regrets. I got an alert from my pharmacy app that my oxycodone was ready for pick up. The strange thing is, I hadn’t been to the doctor in months and didn’t recognize the doctor's name. I had a unique last name at the time, and I doubt anyone had the same name AND date of birth as me, but I guess it’s somewhat possible.
I was with my older cousin at the time. I was 18 and poor. She had three kids and recently had surgery on her toe. She only had pain killers for a few days post-surgery, but having three kids under 5 meant that she couldn’t stay off it properly, and the kids would accidentally step on her or hit her toe with a toy, etc. She wasn’t healing properly, in a ton of pain, but these still aren’t great reasons for what I did.
She offered me $1000 to fill the script and give it to her. Being dirt poor, I did. I was worried for weeks after that I’d be found out and in big trouble. Nothing happened.
#37 Vegas Adventure
I was driving through Nevada all day and stopped in Vegas for my first time ever. I decided to stay on The Strip for a night. I was checking into a room and was nice to the desk clerk, so she upgraded me to a suite on one of the top floors in the hotel. It was huge: there were probably 7 couches and even more TVs and a kitchen and a sunken tub. It was cool. I wandered The Strip and didn't gamble but had a nice time. Before I left the next morning, I was like I'm in Vegas... I gotta at least say I gambled. So I bet $20 playing blackjack and won and I kept betting what I won until I was up to about $500. I decided to quit while I was ahead. It was the luckiest I've ever been I think.
#38 Favorite Nephew
I had an aunt that was basically excommunicated from my family for reasons that still are unclear to me, I was super young when the falling out happened. She was married to some super old guy who was oil wealthy and inherited his fortune when he passed. When I was 23 she passed, and crazily enough I was her favorite. She liked me, and in her letter left to me, I was the son she never had (I remember the way she used to play hide and seek with me but nothing else). It makes me sad that she was kicked out of the family and she seemed to have really thought a lot of young me. She left me $2.4 million. I’ve always in the back of my mind tried to make her proud of me, cause she was the cool hide and seek aunt I never really knew.
#39 The Gradual Climb
It wasn't a lot, but when Bitcoin started getting crazy around $9k a couple of years ago, I put a few hundred in. Watched it climb all the way to $18k. I figured people were going to sell at $20k because of reasons (my only experience in economics, currency, or commodity trading was effectively Runescape), so I sold literally right at the ATH under $20k.
It was a nice 100% return in about 2 weeks, so I was happy to get out and watch it fall right back to where I bought a few weeks later. Sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if I bet a lot more than a few hundred dollars, but oh well.
#40 Flying Money
One time, I was walking down the street downtown, and a guy came out of a bank, got in his car, and sped off. Cash flew out of the windows. Everybody on the street was confused for a minute, but not me. I started grabbing that cash, and once it was all claimed, I went back to work and kept my mouth shut.
Turns out, that was a bank robber making his getaway. He ended up getting caught later that afternoon and presumably went to prison, but I ended up with a cool $84. He probably dropped ~$200 total, so I really took the lion's share. Not bad considering it was more than I made in a day at the time.
#41 The Good Neighbor
I cut my elder neighbor's yard growing up and helped him with random things around the house. He passed away while I was in college. I came home one weekend and I had a letter in the mail. It was from my old neighbor's attorney advising me he left me his house, money, and two cars. I was fairly close with the guy, but never knew he had no family at all. Immediately sold the cars, I rent the house out, and I invested 50% of the money.
#42 The Mysterious Paycheck
I worked at a local restaurant job as a line cook for about one month, and we were paid bi-weekly. After a month, the General Manager laid me and one other guy off because they weren't making enough money to pay us, and we were the newest people on the totem pole. I'm 100 percent positive I received two paychecks. For whatever reason, about two years later, I received a letter from the headquarters of the company for a potential check of one thousand dollars, and they apologized for not paying me.
Again, I swear I got all of my money, but since I have a common first, and last name, I think they got me confused with someone. Being the honest person I am, I called the headquarters and gave my social security number, but they insisted I was the right person. I have no idea how it happened(I still think the entire thing was an error), but I received an approximate $1,000 paycheck.
#43 Easy Money
When I was younger, a friend of my brother's asked me to buy him drinks. He said he would throw me a couple of bucks for my time so I said sure. I met up with him at the store and he handed me a $20 gold coin. With my coin knowledge being very low, something about the coin made me curious. I bought the beer with my own money he threw me $10 and we were all good. When I got home I went online to see the value of the coin. The low-end was around $1,000. I took the coin to a collector who basically gave me the value of gold weight at the time, which was about $1250.
#44 High Risk, High Reward
I've been investing lately and doing a lot of day trading and on one of the trading forums online there was this massive hype about this stock and how it was about to explode and people were suggesting everyone go all in. Since I'm crazy, I put 10K at 2.05 and exited at 11.40 and suddenly became $50K richer. I don't think I will ever get that lucky again so that was the first and the last time I make a huge life decision based on online forums!
#45 Pricey Boards
I was maybe 20 years old and bought stuff at auctions and resold it full time, working for myself. One of the other regular auction attendees told me he found "some boards" in a pallet he bought and wondered if I wanted them. I looked at them and they were new Cisco boards, but this was over 20 years ago, so smartphones weren't a thing and I had no idea what they were worth. I offered him $50 and he was very happy. I ended up selling those boards for $18,000. No joke. I split the sale between two different resellers because I was uncomfortable selling them all to one company.
#46 Unknown Gems
My mom bought some paintings at a yard sale for no reason. Maybe spent $50 for the three artworks. She listed them on eBay and sold them for around $3,500 each, plus international shipping. Turns out, they were painted by a world-renowned Japanese painter who has a museum in Japan. My mom packaged them and shipped them there where they are on display.
#47 Avoiding A Loss
I changed jobs in the spring of 2001. It took a few months to get things set up, and then I contacted my previous 401k company to move my money over to the new place. After the old one closed the account and cut the check, but before it got to me, 9/11 happened. Maybe not so much "made" a lot of money, but I definitely avoided losing a bunch as I had nothing invested at the time.
#48 Mining Bitcoin
Bitcoin. I didn't know what it was, but someone traded me bitcoin for real money as they were in need. I considered it a donation and didn't care. Until it became valuable. I decided that land, a home, and not needing to work again was worth more and that's that. I still work, because I enjoy the learning of what I do, but I'm not hindered by playing the game of just nodding to superiors when they suggest doing dumb things, so that's another perk.
#49 Self-Taught Coder
I graduated in 1990 with an advertising-related degree that was suddenly worthless due to desktop computers showing up in businesses everywhere. Not knowing what to do, I picked up some programming books and started playing around with code. I heard about hypertext markup language & played around with it, and by '93 I was coding sites for companies around the US on Compuserve and AOL, and I was in high demand. The portfolio I built up there landed me a job running a high profile website by '97, and that income paid for my grad school program so I could go back to doing what I love: teaching. My retirement is set, my house is practically paid for, and I will do what I love until the day I retire. I'm not filthy rich, just immensely happy with the random way it all worked out.
#50 Grandpa's Desk
I always loved my grandfather's old desk. I spent tons of time drawing and working on it, and after they both passed away, they left the desk and it's contents to me. Stuffed into the back of the drawer, buried in a folder, there was a stock certificate for a big company from the '70s. At first glance, it was worth a few thousand, which was awesome, but an overall disappointing return for a stock purchased 40+ years ago! Turns out the stock had split since then... seven times. Thank you, Grandpa