Monthly Archives: February 2013

TWO LEGACIES: MY FATHER’S AND WARREN BUFFETT’S

My father started making  annual announcements to me for several years beginning when I was ten or eleven. They went something like this:  “Barbie, your mother and I have given you your gift.” I never knew what he meant and was afraid to ask, but I knew I was expected to express appreciation and I dutifully said my thank-you. But what kind of gift was this? I wondered. There was no toy or book or dress. Nothing tangible. Only disappointment.

My father’s pronouncements were always solemn and pompous, but it was not until I was in my early twenties that I learned that every year he was taking advantage of an IRS gift-tax-exemption rule to give me $10 thousand, tax free. Those annual “gifts” were the beginning of my inheritance. Continue reading

THE INHERITOR’S DILEMMA—WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T NEED TO EARN MONEY?

Ever since I can remember I have wanted—and needed—to work. That desire was entirely self-generated. As a child I did my homework without being prodded and got A’s. Then I went to graduate school and completed a PhD in just four years. Then I worked at being a parent. But for many years I had hardly any “real” jobs because I didn’t need money (I already had a trust fund), and—more to the point—I didn’t have the confidence, or the life skills, to go out into the world and promote myself. Continue reading