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Old 09-12-2014, 12:33 PM   #241
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It felt awkward. And I felt a little guilty. I know I shouldn't feel guilty though.

Anyone else have those awkward wealth moments?

My awkward moment happened very shortly after retiring. I was at a big family gathering and out of the blue, one of my relatives looked at me and said, "I can't believe that YOU 'get' to retire early and don't have to work anymore!" The tone was not congratulatory, and was filled with resentment.

I was kind of stunned because my retirement was not even the topic of conversation for the group. Everyone new that I had just retired from the military, but I hadn't made a big deal about it. This was the first family gathering I'd been to in about 15 years, because most of the time I was on the other side of the world and too far to make it to a reunion.

I could have mentioned that I opened my first IRA with my very first Army paycheck back in the 1980's, and that we saved 20%-30% of our early-years' paychecks, despite raising a family on one income, and that sometimes it was tough to see others around us spending a lot more. I could have mentioned that we did not raise our standard of living significantly with pay raises, and that we saved over 50% of our paychecks in our last 5 years of service and that very few of our peers could even consider not taking up a 2nd career in order to keep paying the bills and their desired lifestyle. The pension is good and we are blessed, but without proper planning it would not be enough. But, in the end I didn't mention any of these facts.

I simply responded that it was a free market, and a volunteer military, and almost anyone willing to serve could have made the same choices I had made to be in my current position.

Surprisingly, my relative responded with an apology and we continued with the previous, unrelated conversation.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:40 PM   #242
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And Fuego, in the back of your mind you know you'll be coming into money, and I have seen a lot of people in that situation. Or those that married into it. Knowing that you will not need to worry about money in retirement you'll have a LOT less stress in your later years concerning retirement, a LOT less stress. And that makes you different whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not.

But you should have a Plan B in case the money doesn't materialize, which I have also seen. At the opening of the will friends who thought they would be on Easy Street learned it was left to the church, the university, etc.
Receiving a large inheritance is like Plan G for me. It will be so far in the future, of such an uncertain size, and not even a guarantee, that I discount it even more than I discount social security that I may receive 35 years from now.

The only stress the inheritance takes away is the fear of having to support my parents financially as they get older. They will most likely be okay.

I don't think the inheritance will change me a bit, since I expect to be retired for many decades before I receive anything. Who knows though, right?
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:41 PM   #243
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I have the awkward part down pat, but still working on the wealth...
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:44 PM   #244
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....And when the DW wants to get together socially with people who I know are trust fund babies or lucked into a big inheritance I decline. Not that they’re bad people or I’m envious but that our concerns/perspectives in life are so very different. Your relationship to money, your nest egg is a different mindset, no sweat equity is represented just custodial. You can call it envy but I have a basic lack of respect, no matter how well I like them on their other traits. We come from working class origins and are now I guess you’d say upper middle class but we EARNED it.

......Oh P.S. I have a billionaire client who picks me up in his private jet a few times a year. Sometimes there’s several family members on board hitching a ride. What they talk about we mortals could not relate to, such as “finding help”, decorating the fourth home on some island, etc. And yes, I am envious because they didn’t earn it, all trust fund babies, and I can’t relate to them even though one-on-one they are the nicest people!
WADR, I think you have some issues to work through.

I have a few friends whose wealth came from "money in the family". One was a successful investment manager, was offered an early out from his employer and retired at 50 but could have retired much earlier from family money as I understand. Others were self made and later inherited substantial wealth. And others were aided by family money in setting up businesses but worked hard and made their businesses successful.

I think it is foolish to hold a grudge against someone because some of their wealth is inherited - do you think they had a choice? Oh, I think I'll turn down this large inheritance because what others might think of me.

You say money changes people... I would suggest that money changes people only if they let it change them... some do but many do not.

For me, I chose to hang with people based on how they treat me, DW and others and not based on the sources of their wealth.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:49 PM   #245
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A good example is a friend of mine who insists on having dinners at outrageously expensive restuarants. On top of that he brings a bottle or 3 of wine costing $1000 or more. We have let them know that we cannot afford that lifestyle and they react by insisting to pick up the bill. We also get together at eachothers homes and cook together often so have had several discussions about how DW and myself feel. They have made it clear that money is no object to them and that they are more than happy to pick up the bill at future dinners. It is very awkward. They consider us their best friends. Are me and DW being oversensitive or pridefull? Are they being insensitive to our discomfort? I don't know.
We have friends like this (not quite that extravagant though) who make multiples of what we made at the peak. They'll insist on buying us dinner or getting take out (and paying for it) when we dine at their house. It's never a ton - think $50-100 max. But we normally don't spend that much on ourselves. They like to host and to treat others to nice things.

We cook at home when they come over and might drink a bottle of $3 wine. The husband has been converted to LBYM and swore off restaurant meals for a month. The wife is down with it to a certain extent. We like to host in our own way, and the inequality in income isn't an issue. I've been helping them get more on the path to FIRE lately, so if anything, being open about our low-spending ways has been a net positive.

Of course I know these people very well, so I felt comfortable letting them in on our little stealth wealth secrets, and they understand our motivations.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:50 PM   #246
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No worry about receiving a large (or any) inheritance since DW's and my parents passed a while ago. I did receive something from my parent's estate: I got to pay the funeral bills for both as my sisters were worse off than I was.

I do have stepdaughter who recently (after divorce #2) married a guy who is a trust fund baby. His dad is worth millions from what I hear. The guy doesn't work and is pretty arrogant around his extended family (us). He lives off a couple million trust his dad put in each of his kid's names. I guess he lives off the income the trust spins out (I have no details). Stepdaughter and her new husband are having the time of their lives and working on becoming alcoholics from what I can tell.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:53 PM   #247
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I think it is foolish to hold a grudge against someone because some of their wealth is inherited - do you think they had a choice? Oh, I think I'll turn down this large inheritance because what others might think of me.
This is an assertion. I have detected no "grudges".

This seems to be the sine qua non of his postings:

Not that they’re bad people or I’m envious but that our concerns/perspectives in life are so very different.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:05 PM   #248
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My experiences with people who have earned their FI have been almost all positive. The only exception are a couple of close friends who have been filthy rich for a decade or more. They have lost contact with reality as experienced the other 99% including friends that are FI but at a more modest level.

A good example is a friend of mine who insists on having dinners at outrageously expensive restuarants. On top of that he brings a bottle or 3 of wine costing $1000 or more. We have let them know that we cannot afford that lifestyle and they react by insisting to pick up the bill. We also get together at eachothers homes and cook together often so have had several discussions about how DW and myself feel. They have made it clear that money is no object to them and that they are more than happy to pick up the bill at future dinners. It is very awkward. They consider us their best friends. Are me and DW being oversensitive or pridefull? Are they being insensitive to our discomfort? I don't know.
That's an interesting dilemma and I can understand your reservations. Assuming they are being truthful with you and really can afford it, try to look at it from their shoes.... money is not an issue for them and they enjoy spending time with you and doing finer things and are happy to pick up the tab. While I concede it is awkward, if your enjoy each others company then why not?

I have a good friend from high school who is lower middle class and we see each other frequently. I know I made a lot more than he did and am much wealthier (I do his taxes and have helped him with his retirement plan) and he probably realizes it also given the jobs I held and that I ERd at 56. When we go out and do things together, sometimes we split it, sometimes he pays but more often I pay only because I know I can afford it. It is not at all a big deal to me and I suspect your friends feel the same way.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:07 PM   #249
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There is no such thing as awkward wealth; only awkward people.

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Old 09-12-2014, 01:14 PM   #250
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This is an assertion. I have detected no "grudges".

This seems to be the sine qua non of his postings:

Not that they’re bad people or I’m envious but that our concerns/perspectives in life are so very different.
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. It seems to me that that Chessehead has a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment towards some people based on how they acquired their wealth, and not how they treat him and others.

Grudge is defined as a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury. Not totally on point, but pretty damn close.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:25 PM   #251
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I remember one time, commenting about having to put $1000 in repairs into the '85 LeSabre that Grandmom gave me when she had to give up driving, and he commented, dismissively, that I should get a new car and "Life's too short to drive crap!"
This is the type of things that a wealthy person can blurt out that can turn people off. I think this is what the OP's post & Cheesehead's (and others) response were about.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:48 PM   #252
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I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. It seems to me that that Chessehead has a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment towards some people based on how they acquired their wealth, and not how they treat him and others.
I didn't read it that way either. Perhaps, he feels the way you described above but I'd rather give him (or anyone for that matter) the benefit of doubt and go strictly by what was written.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:35 PM   #253
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I am saddened that you have met so many people who have let it change them in ways which resulted in them treating others so poorly.
Not sure where that came from. I didn't read of any ill treatment or lack of consideration in his posts. Indeed, he stated that those lucky/unlucky enough - in either case, a matter of chance - to inherit wealth were "not .. bad people" or in some cases "the nicest people". The only complaints expressed were that they "no longer have the kinds of concerns mere mortals do" and that some (have the audacity to) drive new Land Rovers, employ household staff, or own multiple homes: not offensive actions per se, surely?

I don't know all of the facts, and can only go on what's been posted above. Cheesehead speaks of feeling "a basic lack of respect, no matter how well I like them on their other traits": i.e., no matter how the "trust fund babies" actually conduct themselves. Such disrespect may say much about him, but certainly tells us nothing about the recipients of his contempt.

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I have detected no "grudges". This seems to be the sine qua non of his postings: "Not that they’re bad people or I’m envious but that our concerns/perspectives in life are so very different".
This is the gist:
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I am envious because they didn’t earn it, all trust fund babies, and I can’t relate to them.
In any case, there is everything to be gained by associating with others who have different backgrounds/perspectives/concerns from oneself. Living in an 'echo chamber' would be a very narrow and limiting experience.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:42 PM   #254
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Resentment of wealthy people is often due to jealousy.

When I meet people who are much more wealthy than I am, I try to focus on their positive qualities and how much they are contributing to the economy.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:46 PM   #255
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How you handle possible inheritance is a matter of your overall values. I have a nephew whose parents have net worth in the 10s of millions- at least. He went through The Buckley School, an equally prestigious prep school I can't remember, Middlebury U., worked in publishing a few years, finished an MBA at Georgetown and is now working in investments. He's worked his rear end off. During his first job he shared an apartment with friends in Brooklyn even though Mom & Dad had a floor-through on the Upper East Side. My SIL and BIL (ex-husband's sister and her husband, self-made entrepreneurs) sure did something right.

When I told DS about the trust we'd set up and how it would pass to him if he outlived us, his first reaction was, "Mom, I don't want your money". He owns a nice little house in Des Moines, has a stay-at-home wife and a baby girl (they're hoping for a couple more kids), so it would certainly be a good stake in their future retirement. I did remind him it might help with college costs. He agreed with that; I hope I'm around and able to help in person when the time comes. I wouldn't be surprised if he were in DSIL and DBIL's will- they tend to be generous helping people who help themselves- but it's not my business and I'd never mention it.

So, not everyone who is in a position to get an inheritance is living differently in anticipation of it.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:56 PM   #256
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Then there are those who are envious of and still attracted to people who are wealthy. We know them as rich wannabees, gold diggers, opportunity seekers, con artists, .... To them, there is no awkward wealth. We haven't discussed in this thread but probably deserves a thread of its own.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:57 PM   #257
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There is no such thing as awkward wealth; only awkward people.

Ha
Damn straight. I earned honestly every penny that allowed me to retire at 38. I don't owe anyone, but the IRS, an explanation.
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:36 PM   #258
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Early in my building career, a favorite superintendent used to say about a co-worker: "Johnny's so tight, he rubs the buffalo off all his nickels"
My dad used to say "he squeezes his nickels until the indian is riding the buffalo"

I'm pretty sure it was a common saying when indian head nickels were in circulation.
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #259
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And I may add ... the group I was in had a lot of rich Jewish people, children of old money. Hiring managers reached out to their circle of friends and hired other richly inherited folks. I felt I was out of place and had to leave the group eventually.
Are rich Jewish people worse then rich XXXX people?
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:24 PM   #260
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Are rich Jewish people worse then rich XXXX people?
I have no clue. Do you know any different? I worked for rich Mormons before and they hired their relatives in key positions. I guess they have that in common, hiring whom they felt comfortable with. In current mega corp, I know a women VP who hires mostly women, Indian VP who hires mostly Indians, etc.. Human nature at works I guess.
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