Americans are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to generational wealth preservation in a family.
In parts of the world it is accepted that your families’ wealth and position has given you a distinct advantage in life. A birthright. This should be a source of pride. In America, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, ‘nobody gave me nothing’, and not being born with a silver spoon in your mouth are the notions that derive pride in one’s accomplishments.
This rugged individualism also holds us back from worrying about and tending to our family’s wealth as a common pool. One from which all in our line both contribute and consume.
Our American sense of social mobility (arguably not as great as we perceive) leads us to respect past accumulated wealth less.
We tend to see this as ‘our luck‘ and less as ‘their hard work‘. I think we are more inclined to spend an inheritance on ourselves. Thinking we ‘deserve it’, as opposed to putting an emphasis on ‘preserving or shepherding wealth‘.
American children are told they can become anything they want to when they grow up. But then, largely expected to do this own their own. Plenty of other countries/cultures stress the parents continuously sacrificing their own comfort in order to provide a better future to a generation beyond themselves.
Part of our Freedom loving culture is the freedom to make mistakes and be selfish.
Comparatively speaking, we live our lives free of the crushing cycles of familial honor and shame. However, it is honor and shame which stress that a family’s fortunes are tied to (and dependent on) one generation to the next.
America is largely comprised of people who came to this country with very little, yet large amounts of money come and go in our lifestyles with relatively alarming frequency. These two factors have a psychological affect on our population. Check out ZeroDayFinance’s post on Why Do We Blame The Poor?
How many of use even have a frame of reference for a family member going back further than our immediate grandparents?
What, there’s no hallway of stuffy portraits in your house?
These realizations have always bothered me. I want the opposite. I want all of my descendants to work towards a common goal of a mini-empire. The only way this could possibly manifest is by teaching my children right out of the gate to think differently.
Lo there do I see my father. Lo there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers Lo. There do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call me. They bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla. Where the
bravefinancially awake may live forever.(at a modest 4% draw).
One giant dream of mine has come to pass. We were able to secure the Family cottage.
I am confident that my sons will be good stewards of this heirloom. Beyond that, all I can do is hope. Recently, my state has revised its property tax laws so that current taxes are no longer ‘uncapped’ and reevaluated when a property is sold. Provided the next owner is a direct relative of the prior owner.
This solves a huge issue and was the main reason why many ‘family cottages’ don’t stay in the family year after year.
What I would really like to do is start a FUND that invests and payouts the gains in the form of dividends. Each family member being entitled to a share once they turn 18 and some internal guilt based mechanism that leads to people reinvesting their own money into the collective pot. Is this a thing? Anybody out there want to chime in on the feasibility of this? Does the Law against Perpetuity prevent this or it is it simply a matter of setting up the correct type of Trust?
I do not come from the right brand of genetic stock to know these answers. I work hard towards my goal of FIRE and I don’t want everything to end with me.
Please! Oh blue-blooded Masters, take pity on this plebeian and show me a way.
The Atlantic published a great article that hits on this topic all about The New Aristocracy. Check it out!