The first blog of this series names several variables that determine how, or whether, inheritors manage to find their way in the world of work—whether paid or unpaid, or a combination of the two. Among these variables one of the most important is the source of the wealth and its history in a family. How long has the money been in the family? One generation? Two? Three? Possibly, though rarely, more?
This is commonly referred to as “old money.” Or is the wealthmaker one of the heir’s parents? This is called “new money.”
After thinking about this statement—why heirs need to work—for a few weeks, I have come to believe that it is the most complex, and possibly the most important, issue facing heirs. The subject of heirs and work needs to be approached from several perspectives—far too many for one small blog post. Therefore my intention is to devote the next few weeks to exploring some variables of this most important issue—I think it is the most important issue for inheritors.
I’ll begin with two contrasting examples—one of a man who never needed to work because his family was wealthy, but he had a passion for his work. Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century. Because he didn’t need to support himself he was free to devote himself to photography in his early twenties and for the rest of his life.