Can You Be a Secret Millionaire?

Brent Pittman —  06/12/2012

Recently we had a bit of down time and found a show on Hulu called the Secret Millionaire  and decided to give it a go. We want to be millionaires some day, so why not right?

I was impressed with the show, though of course reality TV is always scripted and a bit contrived. Secret Millionaire can both teach us about the life and millionaires and a glimpse into the world of giving.

Giving in Oklahoma City

We watched the episode of Chuck Runyon & Dave Mortensen who built a fitness empire and went to Oklahoma City to live for a week in a broken down house with only $71.00 for the week.

It was interesting to see them shopping at a grocery store and how out of touch with the price of goods they were. They had to give up coffee because they just couldn’t afford it.

Chuck and Runyon ended up volunteering at two charities:

OKC Youth Wrestling Foundation– Tyler Williams started a wrestling and tutoring program for youth in downtown OKC to help save them from drugs and gangs. They have mentored over 300 kids since 2008.

“The OKCYWF not only develops strong athletes, but the ultimate goal is to create a culture of sound character to create generational change.”-website

Limbs For Life– Limbs for Life gives prosthetic legs to families who cannot afford it. This program annually helps about 500 amputees in the U.S. and overseas with several hundred on its waiting list.

I was shocked to learn that insurance only provides 1 prosthesis per lifetime. That means children will need a dozen or more of these expensive ($7-$16K per prosthesis) devices over the course of their childhood, not to mention over the course of their lifetime.

“The Limbs for Life Foundation is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fully functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees.”- website

****Spoiler Alert****

The two ended up donating to both causes and bringing awareness to great needs in our society and in Oklahoma City.

The millionaires were also challenged to live outside of their normal millionaire bubble and face harsh realities that they, nor many Americans are exposed to. It was apparent Chuck and Runyon were affected by the causes and people the were exposed to. I hope they continue to give their wealth in strategic ways and teach their children how to give responsibly.

Can You Be a Secret Millionaire?

While you and I may not be a millionaire (not yet anyways), this show gives us motivation to give and to look at the fringes of society and see what needs are not being met. There are thousands of nonprofits living on a shoestring budget who need our support.

This show also shows the dangers of wealth and how it can isolate us from pain and the reality that most people face.

As we gain wealth, let’s make giving a core habit. Let’s stay connected to suffering though volunteering and giving to causes that change lives.

We can change the future no matter the size of wallets or our current financial situation.

Have you seen the show? What role does giving play in your financial, personal, and spiritual life? 

Photo Credit Enkhtuvshin

Related posts:

Brent Pittman

Posts Twitter Google+

Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • Maria@moneyprinciple

    We have the Secret Millionaire in the UK and I always watch it with interest; and often cry. To answer you question, yes I could be one. In fact the only motivation behind my drive to become wealthy is so that I could do things like that. 

    • wow, didn’t know they had UK version! Giving is a great motivator. I wish you millions! 

  • Is it still on? I thought it lasted a few weeks and left the air.

    When I was advising people about their money, part of the challenge with young millionaires was to show them that good philanthropy is actually good business. Many times these people are all about “charity begins at home.” When they find out how much good their money can do for others AND they become a bigger part of the community and can network (helping their careers), they are usually quickly changed. 

    • I found it on Hulu, so I’m not sure it its still on the networks. I think the best part of giving is the character changes that can occur. 

  • I love that show!  And I love that they make the people live on like $5 a day in addition to helping the poor, etc.  At the end, my wife and I always wish we were millionaires so that we could make huge contributions at the drop of a hat like they do.

    • We just randomly found the show this week. I’m sure you’ll be there soon!

  • Krantcents

    You neither have to be a millionaire nor secret to give back.  My 2012 goal was to volunteer.  I had to put it off because of a back problem, but I still plan to to do it.

    • Hope your back heals up. I wonder if there are any volunteer blogging or social media opportunities?