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October 26, 2013


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Well, if you ask me, it's silly and immature to have such reactions.

I come from a poor family. I wanted to go to college? Paid for most of it. Wanted a car? Paid for it. Want to travel, you guess the answer.

We're getting ready to have a kid, you can imagine we'll bust our behinds to give her EVERYTHING we can as parents. If all goes well with our business/health/family, she's have a pretty good start in life.

Should I worry that other kids might not have what she'll have? Why? I am only having one kid, she's my focus and my concern.

Should we help charities? Only if we want to. As long as the money I earn is mine, I don't see why I have to help anyone else but my own family. Come to think of it, no one helped me or my family either. Everything we own is achieved by HARD WORK. So why should I feel bad if my life is a little better than others'?

Enjoyed reading the fantastic post. I am also not from a rich family. I had to work to get what I want. I have some of my friends they got their desire fulfilled without asking for those. It is really depressing. But the feelings of independence is the best. Now I give money to my parents if they need. It is very satisfactory.

There are far too many people who have convinced themselves that "the game is rigged" against them, and that anyone else who does manage to do well within the bounds of the system must have either broken some law without being caught, or they were given advantages that others lack and therefor they don't "deserve" what they have. For people with that mindset to acknowledge that someone is more successful than them without either committing illegal/immoral actions or without "unfair" advantages they would have to admit that perhaps the system isn't as unfair as they like to proclaim, and that perhaps the reason they haven't been as successful as they want to be is because of their own choices. Fewer and fewer people are willing to take that type of responsibility.

We are taught from a young age that it is unfair to get something you didn't work for and didn't earn, and our culture heaps disdain on the cheater, the moocher, and the manipulator all of whom gain benefit far out of proportion with their efforts. Whether deserved or not an heir, especially a generational heir no longer running a business or perceived as taking actual risk, can be lumped into one of those categories pretty easily.

Add that no matter how you want to spin it, the bottom line is large amounts of money typically equates to large amounts of power and influence, and power hath it's privileges. We know, deep down, that by luck of birth those folks can get away with things the vast bulk of us can't afford to do. Either because they have the connections or the money for the lawyers. It isn't fair, and it will never be. So envy rears it's ugly head especially when you read about someone not just getting a million or two, but hundreds of millions of dollars.

Finally, I think a big part is what you've experienced. I've been treated poorly by some with wealth who feel their money makes them superior. I've also been treated kindly by folks who are comfortable with their wealth and don't feel a need to defend themselves or how they got it. Some people I know have only gotten one side or the other and I think that very often colors their attitudes.

My wife and I emigrated here from England in 1956, ages 23 and 22, and got off the boat with $400 between us. Now at the age of 80 and 79 we are moderately wealthy with $7M+ in investments and $2M in real estate. We have three children and several grandchildren. Our current will and trust leaves everything to our children and grandchildren, but is not by any means divided up equally. Undoubtedly some will be happier than others when the time comes but we have our reasons for doing it this way. Neither of us are religious and we don't have high opinions of many of the charities that we read about. There are tax advantages with regard to the disposition of IRAs and real estate by leaving it to family members and we plan to take advantage of them.

I agree mostly with @getagrip.

Personally, there's going to be at least a little bit of envy involved when I look at someone who has been handed a lot of money without any effort/work on their own part merely by being born into a certain family. I don't think it's wrong for the wealth to stay in the family and I wouldn't advocate it be taken from them, but I still can't help but imagine myself for a split second in their shoes.

Jealousy is a powerful emotion. But the fact is, " their" money
is not my business.

I think people should focus on increasing their own fortunes
and stop trying to tear others down.

There will always be someone wealthier, better looking, luckier and
with greener grass. Get used to it. Take care of yourself and your family.
Stop worrying what others have or what they say or think.

Stand in your truth and be proud. Otherwise heartache and misery
will prevail.

Jnew said it perfectly, I couldn't agree more.

Some people are more troubled by envy than others, if they can bring themselves to see this as the character issue that it is they could likely overcome it. Envy of inherited wealth is not much different from jealousy of someone born with great physical beauty or a high I.Q. - also things we are given without earning them, by way of inheriting them from our parents.

I agree with the previous two posts. At 79, and having been married for 57 years and retired for over 21 I am in the position of being able to look back on my life. I am glad that I never inherited a penny from anyone and everything my wife and I possess comes from our own efforts, primarily from working hard and investing well. One thing that no amount of money can buy is the happiness of being in a long and loving relationship. The newspapers are full of stories of marriages between very successful couples that went very wrong indeed when they hit the mid life crisis. Money is important when you are young but it loses its importance as you grow old. We are very content with a modest lifestyle and it's been several years since we made a large purchase. We watched an interesting program a few days ago on CNN, it was an interview of Warren Buffet, his son, and his grandson. He is typical of many of the ultra wealthy people of his generation. Their problem is how to best put their money to work in solving some of the major social problems that exist in the world.

"The two measures of equality are equality of means or equality of outcome. If means are equal, all participating agents are subjected to the same rules,..."

I will add, although the "equal means" are there, you have to apply wisdom and appreciate the means given to you to change your outcome. That wisdom may take a lifetime to figure out. Some may not figure it out at all in their lifetime.

But, you dont have to pass your fortune to your children to enhance the "means" for the next generation. Or, instead of giving to charity which might misuse your money, you could give individually.

When my tenants give me 30days notice to leave, for those that I think I could help, I will visit them in their suite and talk to them about that wisdom.

Recently I sat down with my tenants, a young couple in their late 20s who had difficulties with their finances, who drove a new car with huge monthly payment. I said to them, look, I drove a 10 year old car even though I could pay cash to buy a new one. It was not wise to borrow money to buy a new car etc... I lived in a smaller house than my tenants, and you see all those huge houses with fancy cars, most of them are not wealthy, etc... They said to me, dont tell us how to spend our money, we would like you to leave now. They showed me the door. I was sad.


I wish it were simple to pass on financial wisdom to others but it is an extremely high hurdle.

It sounds like you have this conversation with multiple tenants as they leave. Have you ever had any who received the information well and put it into practice?

I have found that people really dislike unsolicited "advise" on how to spend money. Further more, even those who seek advice are almost always seeking magic. They say they want advice but what they really mean is this: You seem successful and like money is not a problem for you, what is your secret? They assume you either got handed a pile of cash or you know some inside information that they do not. They are looking for you to let them "into the club" so to speak. When they find out that your "secret" is the same old tired stuff about spending less than you earn and being frugal they stop listening. Frankly, they mostly don't believe you. They believe that most people who are well off got it handed to them or had some inside connections or knows some exclusive strategies that lets them live well and accumulate wealth.

There is really no advice that can have an impact when people are in that state of mind. My experience is that most people who are struggling financially are in that state of mind. They are convinced there is a secret to getting wealthy. Doing it the hard way is just far too hard. They are not going to do it. They need an epiphany. Epiphanies are rare. If you ever break through and get one with these discussions with your tenants that would be great but if you have these discussions regularly, I expect you will leave sad most of the time until you reset your expectations. They are looking for the secret. You don't have it. The rest of the story writes itself.

@MoneySheep - great story, I'm also very curious as to how other similar conversations have turned out!

Most people don't really appreciate hearing it, but the Bible says it best "thou shalt not covet" - eliminating every aspect of "coveting" from one's life is almost impossible, but if you try to, the reward is a lot of contentment with what you have. Not following that ethos leads to Occupy Wall Street (to be clear, coveting is found on both sides of that conflict!) and away from the (IMHO) responsible attitudes that I come to FMF to reinforce. Kudos on a fantastic guest post!

Why should death be a taxable event? If someone has paid their taxes on their income already (usually at a much higher rate in the case of the wealthy) what right does the governmennt have to it? It's their money, after taxes, they can give it to who they want.

To HugeEug: Absolutely. It is inconceivable to me that someone who has built any level of wealth would not have the right to give their after-tax dollars to whomever they please. There is too much wasteful government spending going on right now with our TAX dollars. Why give them more control and add to the problem? My spouse and three children are far better stewards of their resources and could probably manage the economy ten times better. I put my bet on them.

I'm still trying to figure out what middle aged Swedish billionaires has to do with orphaned children.

Guess what...if there was a 100% tax on wealth left over on death, there will soon be none of it. It will all be spent or given away during the life of the owner. Why should anyone work their whole life, live frugally (or not) so they can accumulate money for the government to confiscate upon their death? Those who call for high inheritance taxes are jealous, pure and simple. JMHO and if people want to rage at me, so be it.

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