Only the man who does not need it is fit to inheirit wealth- the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty
parasites instead of one, would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune.
Francisco d’Anconia “Atlas Shrugged”
Senor d’Anconia does a nice job summing up my feelings toward inheritance. I have very little interest in any inheritances coming my way. I believe that any money worth having must be earned, whether it’s earned by my hard work or by using my brain and investing.
Besides that, I spend very little time thinking about what I’d do with any sort of large unexpected sum of money. I despise the lottery, I think that anyone who plays it on a regular basis is a special kind of stupid. Not only are they plunking down hard earned money on a terrible gamble, they’re giving the entire concept of unearned wealth an indirect thumbs up. I assume there will be a point in the future where I have to settle my parent’s estate and at that time I’ll think about what I’ll do with the money. I would hope at that point that I have no obvious debts to pay off, so I’d just invest it.
Why do people spend so much time dreaming about what they’d do with a large sum of found money? The thought exercise has always baffled me. The response is always to buy a large ticket luxury item or two- perhaps a spiffy sports car or fancy new house. If the sum is large enough, the dreams drift toward never spending another day at the office and travelling the world. Oh the freedom!
If you would quit your job given a convenient excuse, why are you doing it in the first place? It’s the same thing with the car or house. If you don’t like where you are in life, then work harder to get where you want to be. Life isn’t a game with limited resources. The world presents itself with an almost endless array of opportunities, the onus is on you to take advantage of them.
What does it say about the dreamer that they spend large amounts of time thinking about something like that? Whenever my life gets stressful, I dream about going on a long road trip to watch all 30 Major League Baseball teams play a home game over the course of a season. I spend time thinking about how great it would be to just walk away from my problems and inevitably I’ll start to crunch the numbers. If my passive income keeps growing at a good rate, it’ll only be a couple of years until I can afford to actually do it.
Yet every time I venture down that road, I know that it’ll never happen. It’s just a silly dream I have- a dream that tells me that whatever I’m doing in my life isn’t working out and needs to be changed. It’s my inheritance dream. Eventually I give my head a shake and either trudge my way through whatever is bothering me, or actually deal with the problem.
Rather than spending our time dreaming about something that gives us freedom, someone would be much better off spending that energy on activities that’ll get them closer to that freedom. I’d be willing to bet that for a lot of people who dream of money to buy luxurious things are really just dreaming about freedom.