Multi-billionaire Robert McKinley was shocked head-to-toe when he discovered $9.9 billion in his personal bank account exactly two years ago today. His first move was to make a bid for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers which owner Jerry Richardson put on the market just north of $2.0 billion. The bids were running about $2.2 billion.
Robert McKinley, who lives in Punta Gorda, Florida, wrote a check for $2.3 billion. Hedge fund billionaire David Tepper ended up buying the NFL team for slightly less, at $2.275 billion. McKinley, a former payments analyst, says he was slightly disappointed, but as he notes, Tepper was worth $11 billion and he only had $9.9 billion, but suspects Tepper “sweetened the pot” to undercut his bid by $25 million.
However, McKinley’s sudden immense wealth of $9,854,241,363.69 faded quickly as the bank determined, after front page news stories ran nationwide, it was printing error, and not some mistaken deposit by a Saudi prince or a super wealthy mystery benefactor.
Funny Story with Consequences
Robert McKinley found the bank’s response to the funny story puzzling and disappointing. It took the bank weeks to acknowledge it was a “carriage” error and told reporters they had “no comment.” Shortly after the press stories broke, the bank notified a nearby SCORE chapter it was reconsidering its funding. McKinley volunteered as a certified mentor with SCORE, a non-profit arm of the Small Business Administration, which provides free consulting services to local businesses. SCORE is often supported by local banks to sponsor seminars, business workshops, job fairs, shark tanks, etc.
Robert McKinley, who has been interviewed more than 10,000 well-documented times, found the “billionaire-for-a-day” story to be hilarious, unlike previous business interviews. He made two suggestions to the bank: assist their public relations and retail banking departments and to fund all the SCORE chapters in Florida where they had a presence. The Executive Vice President of the bank said thanks, but no thanks.
Powerball Winner No Comparison
When McKinley received the $9.9 billion notice he tried to wrap his mind around the magnitude of the money. At a 1% interest rate per year, it computes to about $100 million per year, little more than $8 million per month or a little less than $300,000 per day.
About an hour away from his home, someone just won the most recent Powerball of nearly $400 million. The ticket is unclaimed as of today and purchased at a 7-Eleven in Bonita Springs, Florida. McKinley says his “billionaire-for-a-day” windfall was 25 times larger, but the Powerball winner(s) is real.
Fantasy Buying Spree
Besides buying the Carolina Panters (he is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan), he dreamed of buying Lamborghini Aventador, a Leopard 50 sailing catamaran for Charlotte Harbor, a Gulfstream G650 private jet, a waterfront Port Royal, Naples, Florida mansion, and a huge 3,000 acre farm or ranch with mountains, in Pennsylvania. All chump change for a multi-billionaire.
Beyond the self indulgences McKinley said he would divvy it out to his family to retire their mortgages of his six children, covering tuition for his 10 grandchildren, and help other family and friends launch the businesses they always dreamed of developing.
Coming Out of the Woodwork
McKinley, who grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland, started receiving emails and letters from people claiming to be relatives. Most were legit but a few didn’t add up. A grade school classmate contacted him through Facebook to remind him of a $20 loan (big money in the 1960s). Congregation members ask his 83 year old mother if she was aware of his sudden massive wealth. She told them please let him know not to forget about her.
Appearing on TV news often between 1990 and 2009, McKinley was accustomed to being stopped often at airports by someone saying they seen him before or someone in the banking world who wanted to chat business. This also happened several times since be took a sabbatical in 2009. But the attention this produced he had never witnessed, particularly after it became known he is a widower.
The Silver Lining
When the multi-billionaire party finally subsided McKinley says it sparked his motivation to end his sabbatical and to get back to educating and counseling businesses and consumers, especially with the new technology and media developments over the past decade.
McKinley moved beyond his U.S. involvement with the non-profit SCORE to global organizations such as Kiva, a non-profit source of micro-loans to tiny entrepreneurs in 77 countries. He is currently working on two patents to enable small local businesses deploy integrated FinTech (financial technology) processes to compete against larger competitors. (He is hoping to complete the Robear’s List project by 2022.)
Over the past 18 months, he launched four new global services through his new Ruebud Media entity for consumers and professionals including:
Bankcenter (a daily banking news service)
CardBuzz (a daily personal finance and business news service)
PYVNTS (a directory of payment-related events worldwide)
PYRPTS (a library of global payment business market research reports)
He also relaunched RAM Research, a consulting firm he founded in 1986, which is set to release its first research report of 2020 in March:
U.S. Major Networks & Issuers Market Analysis, Performance & Trends – Quarterly Review (2015-2019) and Annual Historical & Forecast (2015-2025)
(42 Parts + 310 Exhibits + 5005 Datapoints + 500+ Pages)
FinEd Arrives in 2020
More recently, he reprised his Professor Cardworthy character from 2007, which currently appears as a blog, podcast and YouTube channel. The Professor Cardworthy service aims to cover all things in personal finance and banking products, globally. The goal is for Professor Cardworthy to offer three levels of FinEd (financial education) by life stage.
While $9.9 billion could accomplish a lot of good for humanity, McKinley says imparting financial education, life lessons, wisdom, and humor can be Priceless.
(Compiled by Staff, Research and News Reports)
Punta Gorda Man Becomes One of the Richest in the World (NBC2 Transcript)
Wealth Fades Quickly for a Sudden Punta Gorda Billionaire; NFL Team Ownership Dreams Crash (Fort Myers News-Press)
Bank Error Temporarily Turns Retiree Into Multi-Billionaire (Celebrity Net Worth)