Peter Robison’s look for Bloomberg at the children of the superwealthy is absolutely fascinating. Take this quote from Jack Donaghy as an example:
The first generation works their fingers to the bone making things; the next generation goes to college and innovates new ideas; the third generation snowboards and takes improv classes.
They said, ‘The kids are consuming our wealth, buying Lamborghinis and Bentleys, and we don’t know how to change the pattern.
Or this perilous statistic:
Their research found that 70 percent of inheritors failed in passing their fortunes on to the next generation. The book defined a failure as “involuntary loss of control of the assets.” The overwhelming reason, they found, was either a breakdown in family communication or unprepared heirs. Just 3 percent of failures were attributed to such issues as taxes or legal challenges.
Deep down, I have two very big weaknesses which I fight against on a daily basis: jealousy and criticalness. In essence, these weaknesses come to a head in Peter Robison’s Bloomberg piece.
First is jealousy. Like every other kid who didn’t have the nice toys growing up, I looked around at some of my wealthier friends with awe. I wished I could have had the things they had. This is probably part of the reason why I will only purchase the best of any given thing.
That jealousy is equally prevalent today. I struggle to understand how others in my general stage of life are able to purchase homes and boats and go on winter vacations. I work 16 hours every day and I still look at a home purchase as a far flung dream.
Second is criticalness. Because of a childhood where I didn’t have as much as the next person, I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. Finding respect for a person who was given their position in life is very difficult for me to do. Instead, I find myself inherently respecting others based on their work ethic and how they deal with bumps along the road. I deeply admire self-created individuals who sacrificed right, left, and center as a twenty-something and who are now enjoyin the luxuries of life.
These are my weaknesses. I work on controlling them and fighting them each and every day. Everyone is dealt a different set of cards in life, and we should only be judged based on how we play our hand. I have to remember that when looking at other people, including the wealthy.
After reading Robison’s work, I’ve realized one thing: I’d way rather be the first generation with raw finger bones than the third generation with mental illnesses and anxiety attacks.
It helps knowing the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.