Yearly Archives: 2012

Chogyam Trungpa: How to see money as the basis of energy and discipline

“We must try to discover how to view this embarrassing and potent commodity (money) as a part of ourselves that we cannot ignore. When we relate to money properly, it is no longer a mere token of exchange or of abstract energy; it is also a discipline. No longer hooked by it as a medicine that has become a drug, we can deal with it in a practical, earthly way as a master deals with his tools.”

Chogyam Trungpa, Heart of the Buddha

Documentary “The Queen of Versailles”—The American dream gone to its extreme

I recently saw—and recommend—a new documentary called “The Queen of Versailles” by director Lauren Greenfield (who is now being sued by David Siegel, a billionaire who claimed to be one of the richest men in the world. Maybe “ex-billionaire” would now be more appropriate because he lost so much money in 2008 and thereafter. Siegel’s goal in life was to build “the biggest house in America” — 90,000 square feet in Orlando, FL. David and his 30-years younger third wife, Jacquie, were interviewed at length—at long intervals, by director Greenfield, starting in 2007. (One of the best characteristics of “The Queen of Versailles” is the complete absence of voice-over. The Siegels tell their own “truth,” and there is no moralizing by the director.) Continue reading

Eva Rausing’s death: How inherited money enables addictions

The media is buzzing with news of the recent death of Eva Kemeny, the daughter of a Pepsi executive, whose body was found in her London mansion on July 9. Eva who met and later married Hans Kristian Rausing, heir of Tetra Pak, a multi-billion dollar global food packaging empire. (How Rausing died is not yet known, or, at least, not publicly. But it is, inevitably, related to—if not caused by—her addictions.

The link between addictions and inherited wealth is the subject of Terry Hunt’s account of his life and work in  Labors of Love: The Legacy of Inherited Wealth, Book 2, published by The Inheritance Project. Hunt is himself a third-generation member of an American family that created a large industry. Haunted by some of the sources of suffering that go hand-in-hand with inherited money—particularly shame in Terry’s case—he eventually  became a professional therapist whose primary interest was helping people overcome addictions.

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Praise for The Inheritance Project: an inheritor no longer feels alone

I received this e-mail today after shipping The Legacy of Inherited Wealth: Interviews with Heirs, and Labors of Love: The Legacy of Inherited Wealth, Book 2, (both from The Inheritance Project) to a  woman who turns out to be inheritor. I was so thrilled that I decided (with her permission to share it with others.

“I couldn’t read both your books fast enough!  Thank you, Barbara, firstly for all the hard work you’ve done over time to make these ‘baskets of information’ available to someone like myself, who for 66 years kinda thought I was the only one who struggled with the pitfalls of inherited money. Continue reading


If you haven’t read part 1 of Jenny’s story from Labors of Love: The Legacy of Inherited Wealth: Part 2, please read the previous post.

[All of this post is in Jenny’s own words.] During those years in graduate school, I was leading two lives—outwardly the educator life, and the more hidden philanthropic life. After I finished my doctorate, I knew I needed to decide which of those worlds I was really going to put my time and energy into. A lot of my fellow students were struggling financially, and I hid the reality of my circumstances from them. But I didn’t like living that way. So I decided to take a year off because I wanted to find out what I was doing what in terms of organizing in terms of organizing the wealthy, promoting philanthropy, and addressing the class divide. Continue reading

A change of pace: inherited wealth and creativity

This is hastily written … just to let readers know that in spite of  my profound discouragement (if you read my last post, you’ll know what I mean) that there have been almost no orders since November (due almost entirely,  I believe, to the e-book phenomenon), I’m not gonna let it get me down.

Tomorrow (May Day) I promise a new post—the first of a series of upbeat true stories from my books about how inheritors have made the most of their financial resources to discover their own inner wealth and make the world a better place.

The Private world of the very, very rich, Part 6: how banks, etc. are moving into the family-office world

Increasingly over the last decade (and probably longer) the distinction between banks (including private banks), and
trust companies on the one hand, and family offices, on the other hand, is becoming blurred. As far back as 2002, Sara Hamilton, CEO of the Family Office Exchange, wrote: “The Multi-family Office model is rapidly becoming the most sought-after platform for serving the ultra-affluent. . . . Today [i.e., 2002] more than 50 organizations claim to offer interdisciplinary wealth advisory services through an MFO platform.” (“The Multi-Family Office Mania” Sara Hamilton, 2002)

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