122-Year-Old Jeanne Calment, The World’s Oldest Person, Pulls Off Famous Real Estate Deal


Last Updated on July 9, 2024

Madame Jeanne Calment is the longest living human in history. She was 122 years, 164 days old before she died in 1997.

Many have wondered what Jeanne’s secret was, that allowed her to live such a long life. One might assume this french woman was incredible active, with a strict diet to maintain world-class physical health. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Jeanne smoked a cigarette every day until she was 117. She claimed to eat 2.5 pounds of chocolate per week, and she said she ended every single day with a night cap.

Growing Bolder’s Marc Middleton believes that Calment lived such a long life because she had what the French call “joie de vivre,” or a joy of life. Calment loved life. She took up fencing when she was 88. She rode her bike every single day until she was over 100. She lived alone and maintained her independence until she was 110.

While the length of Jeanne’s life is reason alone to go down in history, she is also remembered for pulling off one of the most famous real estate deals ever made.

When Jeanne was 90 years old, a real estate mogul and attorney, who was 47, approached her with an offer to buy her home in Southern France. He convinced Jeanne to enter into a “viager,” which means “for life.” In a viager, the buyer agrees to pays the seller a fixed amount of money every single month, until the seller of the home dies. At that point, the buyer would take possession of the property.

This 47-year-old man smelled the deal of a lifetime. He convinced a 90-year-old woman, who smoked and drank every day and was already 20 years past normal life expectancy, to enter into a viager on a very valuable piece of real estate in a desirable french neighborhood, where he would pay her $500 a month until she died.

Thirty years later, Jeanne was still alive, and the real estate mogul died at the age of 77, where the obligation to continue making payments fell to his widow for nearly 3 more years until Jeanne passed at the age of 122.

When she was asked about the deal, Jeanne raised a glass and toasted, “You’re never too old to make a good deal.”

That is a Growing Bolder attitude if there ever was one.

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