Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quora Finance

I like to read other people's experiences

What does it feel like to be financially rich? 

Many people experience trouble in their life due to monetary concerns (jobs, careers, loans, investments, kids, credit cards, food, medicine, shelter, etc.). What does it feel like to know you are at least set for a "good life" (money wise) even if you never worked again and not have to worry pretty much.

I was born into wealth and never knew our family was different until acclimating to the public school system and developing cognizant thought. 

My father was recruited by MIT and came to the United States speaking only two languages: Japanese and binary. Upon graduation, he was quickly snatched up by Japanese financial institutions that sent him abroad to set up their computing systems. This was back in the day before IT was segmented, and he was a one man operation (architect, network administrator, systems engineer, programmer, IT support and R&D LOL.)

Before moving abroad for good, he married my mother in Tokyo and together they immigrated to Canada. I was born in West Vancouver, British Columbia and attended Vancouver Waldorf School then Collingwood School, respectively. My classmates were of the same socio-economic status as my family, so our lifestyles were similar. Our days were jam packed with lessons, classes, tutors and weekend trips to Banff or Lake Louise were the norm. 

When I was in the 1st grade, my family migrated south to the U.S. - the San Francisco Bay Area to be exact. Against my mother's wishes, my father made the executive decision to put me in public school. I was still in 1st grade but clearly remember the moments I started realizing the kids at my new school were unlike my old peers. I was the only dressed in pinafores. The only one taking a load of after school classes and lessons. Other people didn't go away on weekends. My home was different. Everything about my family was strange, and I remember thinking I was not just the new kid, but the weird new kid.

In order to fit in, I started lying. I would tell people I lived in San Mateo as opposed to Hillsborough. I stopped inviting people over, never told friends about our weekend trips. Or that I attended summer school at Crystal Springs Uplands, then summer sports camp at Stanford University. And I never ever invited anyone to The PGCC or Blackhawk.

Being constantly exposed to two different socio-economic worlds, I didn't fit in anywhere and was an outcast.

Separately, gross behavior from people who think they have more than the next person is more commonly observed in new money. My family is proof.

My father's family has a prominent lineage that can be traced for centuries; I guess it's called old money. My father was the only one who lived outside of Japan and my brother and I would spend our summer/winter vacations with our grandparents. My day school friends and their families were exactly like my father's side: kind, well mannered, polite, gracious and classy from the inside out. You see, when born into wealth, there is nothing to prove. We are raised to assimilate and not stand out as much as possible. Yes, we do own nice things, but there is no need to flaunt. 

Growing up in the U.S. and Canada in a household that only spoke Japanese was embarrassing. Public outings with my father could be turned into a sitcom. He spoke broken English even after living in English speaking countries for 20+ years. I used to be mortified in public with him. His voice was loud. His English poor. Yet no matter how atrocious his grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, he still talked to everyone in a pleasant manner. E v e r y o n e. 

At restaurants he frequented, from the valets, wait staff to busboys and the kitchen, the entire staff knew my father. The chefs would take my brother and me to the kitchen for special menus. (These were 5 star dining rooms.) When we drove through Half Moon Bay, my father would stop by his favorite farms and greet farmers working the fields. They only spoke Spanish and he spoke zero Spanish but somehow they were able to communicate. At his work, from security and maintenance staff to his assistants, colleagues and C-level execs,  people would smile and wave hello as he walked by. He took after my grandmother, who treated every single person the same: like they mattered.

Conversely, my mother grew up dirt poor. Frankly, she was a gold digger and married my father for stature, status, lifestyle and most importantly his wealth. She epitomized gross new money characteristics where she felt entitled because our family was more privileged than most. She was snooty, elitist and condescending to those she thought were beneath her; absolutely charming to those who were of equal or higher social statuses. Even as a child, I remember apologizing for her vile behavior and was embarrassed to be in public with her. 

Long story short, even if we had access to things a lot of people didn't, it still wasn't enough for my mother. On the outside, she was polished, elegant, sharp, witty and sustained her youthful looks. But she was a horrible wife, mother and housewife. She was miserable most of her adult life; making everyone around her even more miserable. I'm making her sound like a crappy person, but as an individual she was phenomenal. I - along with many - admired her. She was a born entrepreneur, extremely brilliant, creative but analytical, methodical, strategic and organized. 

When my parents finally divorced, she left my brother and me with our dad and succeeded career wise. So much so, she retired in her early 40s. After she attained what she thought was success, she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She spent the days up until her death regretting almost all the choices she made and beat herself up day after day. One of her last journal entries included reflections on how unappreciative she was with the things in front of her, and finally realizing happiness does not lie within superficial matters a little too late.

Looking back, I am extremely grateful for my parents and my life. Don't get me wrong, my life was far from cakewalk but I obtained invaluable life lessons. My father, taught me my favorite quote: "A true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him no good." by actions, not words. My mother, taught me money cannot buy happiness. I am so fortunate to comprehend those simple yet complicated life lessons I still abide by. And just by remembering those two points, saved me from making vast mistakes in relationship, career and life choices. 

So what does it feel like to be rich? It's like everyone's life, no matter what your financial situation is, there are ups and downs. Different ups and downs, but ups and downs nonetheless. 

Hope this sheds some perspective. 

Oh. As for my father, the divorce (and my mother) basically destroyed him, and a series of events lead to my father being disowned. I have not spoken to him since I was 16... along with other misc. family drama. But that is a story for another day.

I come from a family that I was brought up to think of as "comfortable". Everyone in my family worked, no one lived ostentatiously, and neither I nor my siblings were raised to be 'rich kids'. While my family was clearly respected by everyone, it was quite apparently because of the general integrity, intelligence and public-mindedness of the way everyone behaved. Our family name was known in some professional circles, but not in the society pages, or to people in the street.

Nevertheless, it was constantly drilled into our heads from the very beginning that we were extraordinarily lucky on every conceivable spectrum: living in the a free country, in the 21st century, with a strong nuclear and extended family, in good heath, with great educations (I went to a great public school for seven years, followed by private school), the ability to travel, a house full of books, and most every rational thing that a kid could want. Thanksgiving was a major holiday in our home, with heartfelt, self-aware toasts about our immense good fortune.

Because of this, we were told by my parents, we had an obligation to give back to society, to produce more than we consumed, to think of others even more than ourselves. We were taught that money is a tool, and a magnifier...that's all. It's a tool that can be used for good or for bad, and that it has no intrinsic virtue or vice. In fact, we were all brought up to completely disassociate "money" from anything having to do with the way we lived our life.  We were not expected to be anything in particular, or make any particular amount of money...but we certainly were expected to do *something*, and to do it to the absolute best of our abilities. The explicit understanding for all of us was that when we grew up our lifestyles should be "appropriate", without regard to whether we were a poet or a Master of the Universe.

When I proposed to the woman who would become my wife, she had clearly come from a less economically privileged background, but with almost exactly the same philosophy from her parents. I had been supported completely by my parents all through college and graduate school, with an allowance that continued even after I had gotten my first job; she had not taken a penny from her parents after the age of seventeen, and had put herself through college and graduate school while supporting her siblings. She was hardworking and frugal, and had managed to save quite a bit of cash from her salary by the time we married; I was hardworking and "comfortable" thanks to my family. Despite different backgrounds, we both considered ourselves to be relatively comparably well-off, and our marriage as something of a union of equals.  My wife paid for our lovely, intimate wedding completely out of her savings; my parents paid for a larger reception the following evening.

It was only a year or two later that I understood just how "comfortable" we were...when the first issue of Forbes magazine came out with a list of the 400 richest families in America. And guess who was on it?  Soon thereafter, an event happened that triggered the revelation of some previously anonymous charitable contributions which now had the family name attached. Well, not just 'some'. A lot. And big. Well known and highly visible. If I told you the name, you'd likely recognize it.

How did this change in perception affect me and my siblings? The truth is, not much at all. We had been raised with such consistent values for so long, and with money being generally available but not overwhelming, that when things became more visible (and each of us received direct access as adults to something like nine figures of cash, with more to come) there was nothing to change.  All of us lived, and continue to live, very well, with "very well" being defined as something just north of a highly compensated doctor or lawyer or banker; NOT like Paris Hilton or Larry Ellison or Donald Trump. All of us work full time, extremely hard, and are near the tops of our respective professions, which include academia, business and public service. None of us felt any particular need to change things.

So, what does it feel like to be rich? (because, I guess if you want to be sorta technical about it, I'm rich. Quite.) In our case it simply means that money isn't generally a factor that needs to be worried about, at all. If we want to take a vacation (anywhere), get tickets (to anything), purchase a gadget or a collectable (of any kind), support a worthy cause (in any area), we simply do it. We have access to a private jet, which is incredibly convenient when you really need it...but the vast majority of our travel is commercial. We have personal assistants and support staff for some of our activities...but no full time cook, butler or chauffeur, just a cleaning lady who comes in once a week. Some of us have nicer cars than others; I personally drive a 20 year old car with 150,000 miles on it. We are all involved with charitable causes, but consider our major contributions to them to be our 'wisdom and work', rather than our wealth.

Most importantly, for all of those in our family, our overriding goal is to do as good a job in raising our own children as our parents did with us, where money is simply a tool and a magnifier, no more and no less. I personally work 12-14 hours a day, six or seven days a week, and hope to set an example of hard work, conscientiousness and integrity that our children will follow. In addition to my day job, I spend nearly equal amounts of time (my most precious asset) giving back, through social and charitable service, teaching and mentoring, and, yes, frequently answering questions here on Quora in areas in which I am knowledgeable.

Having read all the other answers to this question, it seems to me that the bottom line is...my parents were right: money is simply a magnifier of who you are and how you have been raised.

I was born into the comfortable middle class, married a man fascinated with the stock market, and with him, between 1999 and 2000, made 10 million dollars day trading.

Prior to that, I thought I was doing pretty well, going from $9/hour post college to $90/hour as an independent contractor.  I did that in 10 years.  And that felt good, to buy the top of the line treadmill that I really wanted, stay in nice hotels, live in a nice townhouse in Chicago, buy pretty clothes.

But to average $5000 a day trading?  And my husband at the time averaged 10,000 a day?  That was surreal.  We pretty much kept the same lifestyle.  We couldn't go on fancy trips - the money was flowing in so quickly that the lost income would cost more than the trip possibly could   I spent my 5 year anniversary in a luxury suite at the Bellagio hotel.  My bathroom (we each had one) had a couch in it.  Our bank accounts grew so quickly.  It was like playing pinball.  After a while you are jaded at the million dollar score.

The best part was the security.  I could loan my car to a friend without worry, knowing that if they totalled it, I could simply buy a new one.  I slept well at night.  I thought I could take care of my parents, send my kids to any college they wanted.

The worst part?  The guilt.  I didn't feel I deserved so much.  And I didn't produce anything, didn't provide jobs, services.  All I did was buy and sell the same stocks over and over.  I didn't feel I was good looking enough to have all that money. Crazy, I know.  And I couldn't buy really expensive clothes like Prada and Gucci - I just kept thinking about what that money could do for other people.

We did buy a very expensive home.  We hired a decorator to make it beautiful.  She screwed us every which way she could.  Any time we hired a flooring company, landscaper, etc., they tried to overcharge us.  But we enjoyed the home.  We had a lot of parties, and people enjoyed coming to our house.

My ex-husband lost the money.  The market changed but his ego didn't.  Then, when we diversified our investments, the economy tanked.  He also hired people who were big risk takers like him.  I thought he was a genius with money because of the millions, but I realized too late that I was the practical one.  Oh well.  It was a fun ride.  We are divorced now for many reasons but not the money.  He's still not responsible and I'm pretty much on my own to rebuild financially.  And when I make it again, I will keep it this time :)

You probably already know the answer to that question. You probably already are "rich". You just haven't put it in perspective. The rich largely have no concept of what it is like to be anything other than the way they are, and may not even fully appreciate that they are "rich". Rich is often just someone who has more than you.

To really understand what it is to be rich, you need to understand what it is to be poor, and realize that that is not your situation.

Growing up in a diplomatic family, I have always seen these extremes. I would live in large homes with many servants in which we had frequent high level parties. One such house later became a Swiss embassy. At the same time, I lived in developing countries where whole families would live on the street outside.

On one level, I knew we were really just middle class back in Canada. But I knew that on another level, we were rich beyond dreams for so many people.  I never went hungry. I always knew that there would be the finest medical care if I was sick. I never had to clean anything. I had a whole government infrastructure backing my safety. It is hard to really appreciate it when no one you know doesn't have the same. 

Even much later, I still am learning to appreciate these things more. For instance, as I delve into the childhood of my girlfriend here in Vietnam I realize how incredibly rich I am and was. She is a normal person, much like you or me, if you met her today. But when she was a child her life was so much different (and yet not that different from most of the world). She never had a toy when she was a child. Not one. Think about that! Sometimes, there was not enough food to go around, and her older brother would go without eating so that she could eat. When she was bitten by a dog she had to travel for hours on a bicycle to get to a doctor, and didn't get arabies vaccination. And even today, most of her family is very poor, and they fight and squabble bitterly over a couple hundred dollars a month.

Think about how your life today and in the past was so completely different from that life.

The answers here are thoughtful, but I haven't seen one that reflects my experience of having lived across all three class-strata.  

Middle Class:I was born into a middle-class family.  My parents were employees of the US Government in the weapons program, we lived in a 2,000sqft house on an acre of land facing a beautiful lake nestled in the foothills of Colorado.

I remember still my parents had three savings accounts, one for long-term, one for Christmas and one for Vacations.  As a result, my brother and I always had everything we needed and most everything we wanted.  

We would often go on weekend ski trips to Breckenridge or Beaver Creek, my younger brother and I were privately educated in Christian schools that were known for academic rigor.

My sophomore year of high school, I transfered to a local public school to play on a more competitive football team.  I immediately recognized the delta between my cognitive capability and those of my peers.  Around this same time I also learned the definition of the term "Open Campus" so I spent most of my time "checked out" of the campus through the Gifted and Talented program and working on my passion: computers, specifically at Packard Bell in Golden, CO.

For my class' "Senior Superlatives" I was named "Best Dressed" and "Most Likely to be a Millionaire".  Interestingly, the judges made the joke that I would inherit my million.

People always thought my brother and I were very wealthy due to our parent's generosity.  This seemed funny at the time, but would not be particularly meaningful until later.


Fast forward from high school 7 years, I am a young single dad emerging from a broken relationship with my high school sweetheart.  I had been making low six-figures a year as an junior executive for the world's largest management consulting company.

It was then that I met my first mentor, a wealthy man with an 8th grade education.  This person owned an exotic car dealership in Houston and drove a Ferrari 360, which I had inquired through a friend about buying.

He was very blunt, asking how much I made.  I proudly told him $130K!  He looked at me skeptically and informed me that I could not afford to buy his car even if I paid cash for it.

I'm not sure if I was more irritated or intrigued, but this interaction sparked the next phase of my life where I was wealthy.  The reading of three books prepared my mind for what was to come:

1.  Think and Grow Rich
2.  As a Man Thinketh
3.  The Science of Getting Rich

A series of events required that I relocate from TX back to CO.  I obtained my first Ferrari (a 1984 308 QV) and joined the local chapter of the Ferrari Club where I was exposed to greater echelons of wealth, and more importantly met my 2nd mentor.

He was an easy guy to like, from WI- a music major who made his money in the markets short-squeezing bears.  He and I clicked due to our mutual involvement in martial arts.  

Through this relationship, I took my small startup company public.

This skyrocketed my effective net worth to around $45m.  

I upgraded my Ferrari to a 355GTS and bought my younger brother an Aston Martin DB7 Volante.  I lease optioned a large house in the best-part of town and decided that I would purchase it ala Larry Ellison with stock increases (why use principal?)

My distributions were planned and automatic.  Money would be swept from my brokerage account into a checking account like a weekly miracle.

The best part of being wealthy was that I felt that I could be as generous with people as I always felt in my heart I needed to be.  

I gave what I thought was a large amount to different charities, started a bid at $15,000 for a charity date with a movie star (I was outbid at $30K, but ended up having a nice relationship with her and her family anyway).

None of my "true friends" from back in the day had to pay for anything, so in a way it was like we ALL made it.  It was wonderful.

Sure there were a few "hangers-on" but you can stop-loss those quickly with a watchful eye and advice from true friends.

One thing I miss from this time was my household manager: Beatrice.  She took care of everything: taking my children to school (in a Jaguar) cleaning up our nightly after-party mess, cooking, running errands, scheduling my day.  

She was wonderful.  She later gave me the best compliment that I'd ever received when we got back in touch on Facebook:  "The true measure of a man is how he treats the person who can do nothing for him."

Anyway, at the peak of my hubris, a market anomaly happened.


In response to the market anomaly, we took the company private- selling it to an entity in the Pacific Northwest.  As you might imagine, my paper wealth evaporated overnight.  

I was left with a not-insubstantial cash balance, but was in a fear-of-loss mindset.  I felt poor.  Every expense I looked at as my lifeblood seeping from my body.

I now had an enormous house payment, a Range Rover lease, a Jaguar lease and a lifestyle to pay for.  So I began liquidating hard assets to cover the monthly nut.  

In retrospect, this is one of the stupidest things I ever did.

I sold my beloved 355GTS and the Aston.  All the while putting money into the house and the other non-tangibles, including several thousand per month in child support payments.

My then-significant other left, and hit me with attorney-fees.  All told, the cash balance I had lasted about 18 agonizing months.

I moved out of my mansion, into my little brother's unrented condo that had been trashed by the previous renters.


The really great thing has been the reboot.  I have an awesome life with an excellent wife (who brought me out of my mess with her unwavering support).

I have a new company with fantastic clients, and a great core team.  We have more than enough money now (we don't live in a mansion or own a Ferrari anymore) but we do have nice vehicles and a comfortable living arrangement.  

I came back from spending an impromptu week in FL yesterday, soaking up the sun and playing in the waves of the Atlantic.

In the end, it's all about spending less than you earn.  I'll feel truly rich when I make $100K per month in PASSIVE, reliable income.  Not there yet, but have a nice start.

Oh, and I want Beatrice back.  Not for me, but for my wife.  :)

Different people deal with it differently.  

My mothers family was wealthy and very influential.  My Great Great Grandfather was Governor of a larger wealthy state and was appointed to a high profile cabinet position by 2 Presidents.  My Great Grandmother was the first female state Senator from my state for several terms.  My Grandfather, who was a well established lawyer, grew up next door and was life long friends with a 2 time Democratic Presidential candidate  I have a 2nd cousin once removed that is the CEO of a huge fortune 500 company, another cousin that is a Rhode Scholar, another that graduated from MIT, and several other cousins that have never had a real job in their life.

While I grew up hearing my mom tell stories about having Nannies, and cooks, she had a thing for "bad boys' when she was younger as near as I can tell.  My father was one of those James Dean types, and never held much of a steady job and raced motorcycles professionally.  His father was a trapeze artist with the circus for 18 years, and according to family lore my Great Grandfather on this side of my family was a Grand Wizard in the Klu Klux Klan.  

Growing up I knew my mom's family was rich.  My mom & her parents were really hung up on money and social status.  They would drill into my brother and my head that we were special because of her family & their friends.  My Dad & his family were never really impressed with their money.  Neither side of my family were shy about bashing the other for being either rich, or poor.

As my father was never really ambitious or made a lot of money, my Mom's Father bought us a nice house to live in as a child.  It wasn't fancy but it was in a nicer middle class neighborhood and we lived there until my parents divorced when I was in the 3rd grade.  

I don't know what specifically happened between my Mother and her parents but they must have cut her off financially after that because we moved into an apartment for a couple years. The only time I was exposed to a higher end life style after my parents divorced was when my Grandparents would take us to the Country Club they were member to (Which was, in part, started by my Great Grandmother)

For the most part as a child through grade school, I was never really aware of money and it was never an issue.  We lived a normal life style with no particular benefits of my Grandparents money that I saw. I'm sure they probably helped my mother out financially after our parents divorce, but if they did it wasn't extravagant at all. While I knew my Grandparents were rich I certainly didn't think of us as "rich".

Eventually my mother re-married to a local real estate developer. While he wasn't what I considered wealthy, he was financially successful and had money with many "toys" and a very nice house.  My mom & her husband were both very superficial and very caught up with "keeping up with the Jones'es" and wanted to be viewed as very financially well off.

As I grew older I did start to see my Grandparents financial influence in my life. At one point in High School I started getting in trouble with partying and drugs.  At the beginning of my sophomore year, my Grandparents spent the money to send me to a Military School to straighten me out.  It wasn't a cheap school, and a lot of my friends from school came from rich families as well.  Up till that point I had never really seen "wealth", but during my time there I saw many kids that received a lot of benefits of coming from wealthy families.

Being a teenager I was influenced by my friends from school and I started becoming very aware of money.  I started noticing the life styles of my cousins and connected the dots on who my family was, and who they knew.  It did kick in a certain sense of entitlement and I went through a small phase through the remainder of high school of acting like a jerk towards the people I knew who weren't rich.  

After I graduated high school, I wasn't surrounded by other kids that came from rich families.  I never got along with my step-father, and my mom & him kicked me out of the house, and I was on my own financially.  It didn't take long before reality gave me a swift kick to the head.  While I did know some people my age that came from some very rich families through my Mom & Grandparents, the majority of my friends did not come from rich families.  

After I was kicked out of my Mom & Step-fathers house, I had to work, I had a normal apartment and had roommates, I had a beater car, and from an outward appearance it did not seem like I came from a "wealthy" background.  Occasionally I would shoot my mouth off about my mom's family, but my friends at the time were pretty quick to put me in check if I started acting like a dick about money.

My grandparents did pay for college and I received a degree in Electrical Engineering (Specifically Computer Electronics) from a small technical college.  I also started having money from trust funds released to me when I turned 21 that went until I was 25.  I guess it was a fair amount of money to be given to someone as young as I was, especially considering it was the mid-80's, but I was very aware there was more to come and unfortunately didn't have much respect for it.

Looking back, as the money started to come to me from trust funds, I started having a lot of "friends" that would hang out with me when I was buying the beers so to speak.  I would have $10,000 released to me from trust funds once a year on my birthday. It wasn't so much money I could get away with not working, but I did start renting nice apartments, bought a couple nice cars, and other toys.  

To be honest, I spent what was left after buying toys on partying, cocaine, and women. I wrecked more than one car, and needless to say, the trust fund money was always gone within a couple of months.  At that point in time I felt like a cat landing on his feet all the time.  I burned through every dime, and got fired from several good paying jobs because of my coke use and partying.  Yet, some how I never had any serious ramifications in my life.  I do attribute this to the fact that I never had to wait to long before I would get bailed out with a trust fund check.

Between my mid teen's and mid 20's, my relationship with my mother slowly deteriorated and eventually reached a critical point.  She hated my fathers side of the family, and wanted me to stop having a relationship with them.  My brother gave in and stopped seeing my father and his side of the family when he was 14.  

I refused to give into her, which caused a lot of resentment on her side because of it  One of the things she use to do during our power struggle over this issue would be to threaten to "cut me out of the will" if I didn't buckle under.  

It was a little before the release of my last trust fund check when I was 24, I got tired of her attitude towards me for wanting to have a normal relationship with my father and his side of the family.  After being bullied and threatened by her one to many times, we had a massive BLOW OUT argument.  It turned into a relationship ending event.  My mothers resentment caused her to "spoil the well" with the rest of her side of the family, and I wasn't welcomed to see them anymore.  

I wound up walking away from my mom & my Grandparents, their wealth and literally millions of dollars.  Eventually I moved away from my hometown, had to learn the value of a dollar, and worked on building my career in computers.  I spent years working on my own life and their money never affected me at all.  

Once in a while my fathers side of the family would give me updates on things.  I heard about a huge house my brother was living in, and times when my Mom's side wound up in the local news paper.  As an example, my grandmother made a huge donation to the local Zoo and the local newspaper wrote a decent sized article about it.

As time went on, I would share my background with people that were close friends, and my ex-wife or girlfriends.  Since I was never able to prove it or backup what I told them, I don't know if anyone ever believed me or not.  After several years I pretty much forgot about my Grandparents money.

After going 22 years without dealing with my mom's side of the family, in the beginning of 2011, my aunt from my fathers side called me to tell me my Mother died.  I called my brother for the first time in 22 years to find out when happened.  A few weeks after we spoke, he called me to tell me someone from our family Bank would be calling me.  

It turned out that while my Mother & Grandmother did cut me out of their Wills, I had been in my Grandfathers Will when he died.   In his Will, while he gave all his cash, stocks and real estate properties to my Grandmother, he did set up trust funds with $500,000 cash and 3 farms he owned.  

My Grandmother initially would receive income off of all of it.  At the time of my Grandmothers death, my mother and aunt would continue to received income off of them.  Upon the death of our mother, my brother and I started to receive income and a share in the distribution of them.  We shared this income with our Aunt, and the total income I received per year averaged just under $100,000 per year. 

While I received a lot of money, even with a $125,000 income from my job, I didn't consider myself as "wealthy" at the time. At most, I considered myself "working rich". The additional money certainly provided a good degree of financial security and peace of mind.  I did use the money to start to buy certain toys I never would have purchased before.  

While I bought a $70,000 car, motorcycle, and a boat, I've stayed in the same house I purchased 10 years ago.  I'm mostly a blue jeans sort of guy but my wardrobe did get nicer, and I've evolved my investments into other items.  People did notice those toys, and I've had to field questions about how I can afford them. I usually try to play it off, and most accept what I say, some people really get noisy which I find irritating

In the beginning of 2013, my aunt died, and per my Grandfathers Will the trusts were terminated at her death.  The farmland was sold, and the cash from their sale and the $500,000 financial trust were distributed between a cousin, my brother, and myself.  What I received came to just under $3,000,000 for my share.  

With that kind of net worth, and the interest it generates, along with my income from my job, I do consider myself as being "wealthy" these days.  Although I'm aware that I'm the "poorest" in my mothers family, I'm also aware it's not so much money I couldn't blow it if I act irresponsibly.

While I was sort of eased into the idea of having money over that two years,  I have learned this kind of money comes with certain unexpected benefits.  I have bankers, lawyers, financial advisers, and accountants all kissing my ass to get to my money, and I rarely have to wait in lines when it comes to people and organizations like this. More times than not, they come to me and are usually picking up the tab to lunch.

The downside to all this money is that most of my "friends" aren't rich.  Many of them have changed how they behave towards me.  There seems to be 3 different approaches my friends have taken towards me.  1/3rd don't seem to care much, 1/3 of them have been kissing my ass and I've suddenly found myself "best friends" with people I either barely knew or didn't even like, and 1/3rd seemed to have a chip on their shoulder about it.  I must have had to fend off half a dozen people that want me to invest in their businesses.

Mostly, I've started to isolate myself a bit as I come to grips with having this sort of money.  Interestingly enough, I have mentioned some of this to my brother and cousins who I went decades of not talking to, and we've seemed to have bonded over the fact.  I'm still trying to figure it out and the juries still out on how I feel, but it's almost like I've been accepted into a private "club".

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