Money does not equal happiness.
Let that sink in. It can be hard to believe, but it’s true. Sure, it’s easier to be unhappy when poor, but family wealth, if not handled correctly, can also be a source of grief.
In recent stories for Forbes magazine, author Thayer Willis, herself the descendant of the founders of Georgia-Pacific, looked at the yin and yang of inheriting what many would think of as automatically the key to happiness.
It can be, according to Thayer, who wrote “Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth: A Life Guide for Inheritors” and “Beyond Gold: True Wealth for Inheritors.”
“Of course I realize that family wealth is a blessing, but for reasons that would surprise the supposed know-it-alls,” Thayer wrote. “Dismiss the popular notions that you can pay off all your debts and then go crazy with the rest of your wealth; that you will have nothing to worry about; or that you will have the ultimate security. None of this is true. Nor is it the reason that family wealth is a blessing.
For me, family wealth became a blessing when I finally gathered enough focus to begin making a life for myself.”
Thayer went on to offer “the top three things that make family wealth a blessing.”
First, she indicated was a simple concept and perhaps the most important: love.
“This means family members care more about each other than they do about money,” she stated. One aspect of love is having realistic and high expectations of the next generation, with appropriate support. This is challenging for parents because it varies from one kid to the next. Everyone needs unconditional love from someone; those who don’t ever have it are handicapped.”
“Sometimes it feels like there are too many choices, but this is an illusion. Choices are an immense blessing. The choices I made when I was a young adult have led to where I am now. In my mid-20s, out of curiosity, I earned a Masters in English, and took a few counseling classes. Soon, counseling became my direction.”
Finally, Thayer offered up gratitude as the right attitude toward inherited wealth.
“By this I mean the intentional practice of gratitude for what you have been given; respecting yourself and others; showing humility, kindness and generosity; being confident and accepting others.”