One of my Facebook friends posted a link to an article regarding people who have large wealth and issues they face, with a comment of “Try not to throw up when you read this.”
I chose to respond in public, from my experiences & research, on his Timeline.
Here is my point of view, with a few corrections of grammar:
(It’s long and worth the read.)
(Pay attention to your emotions as you read… you’ll see why at the end.)
The issues raised in this article are relevant. I have been friends with several wealthy families over my lifetime. Two families in particular made it clear to their children they would be severely punished if said children taunted less fortunate ones or bragged about their wealth. (Those children attended my grade schools and were some of the kindest people I have ever known.)
Being judged for one uncontrollable aspect of their lives (being born to wealthy parents) is as damaging as being judged for other uncontrollable things: height, eye color, skin color, genealogy.
Some who have inherited large sums struggle with the ethics of how that money was created, and how one might invest or donate it to create the best improvement in the world. Some are wondering who likes them for themselves… or who simply likes them for their money.
Some struggle with addiction to alcohol, other drugs, gambling, or purchased intercourse because of huge pressure to behave a certain way combined with the easy access to the funds to buy the stuff in the first place. (Drug abuse happens more often with people who can easily afford to purchase it!)
Some struggle with a life purpose because they don’t have a built-in financial incentive to work for a living. Or they are stressed because of an abundance of choices of what field or work they want to pursue.
Some struggle with guilt because they know money can solve many problems and they know they cannot singlehandedly solve a large-scale problem. Some know they can easily afford to replace a “lemon” car, and they don’t want to insult others at work or in social gatherings by saying, “That’s easy.”
Some struggle with guilt or debilitating anger because the trust fund’s existence was not discussed and so the recipient feels overwhelmed and paralyzed when said moneys are revealed or received. In the case of inheritances, the money itself can trigger guilt, depression, or anger because it came in exchange for the life of a loved one.
Some are working to change the economic laws so inheritances are taxed more heavily and/or more economic opportunities are provided to the ordinary citizen.
A day after posting those comments on Facebook, I add these topics that popped into my head early this morning: the challenges regarding picking a spouse and hurt feelings that might arise over the signing of a prenuptial agreement. If one inherits a business, making financial decisions for that entity affects not only one’s immediate family but also hundreds if not thousands of employees and THEIR families.
A founder of a INC 500 company taught me an important lesson about money:
“If you judge other people negatively about the way they use their money, you chase away your own prosperity.”
So reflect on what you felt (emotions, any judgments) as you were reading my comments.
What can you learn from your own reactions?
I encourage you … don’t throw up.
–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™
P.S. Silent & calm discernment such as “I would have used the money for _____________” is constructive because it helps you refine your personal money goals. It is a world apart in intention and mindset from a harsh judgment such as “You shouldn’t have bought that!”
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