Here is an abbreviated version of the final chapter of Labors of Love: The Legacy of Inherited Wealth, Part IIfrom The Inheritance Project. It is an excellent example of how, with skill and attention, middle-class parents can prepare their children for an inheritance, and how their children can make use of the skills they learn from their parents. In this way, first-generation heirs can discover what it is they love to do, and create a productive, meaningful life. “Colin Lewis” is a pseudonym, but this is an accurate account of the coming of age and fruition of a man who grew up in an affluent —but not rich—family.
My last post on this subject was about how growing up in an old-money family influences heirs’ choices about what they want to do with their lives. I wrote that second- or third-generation heirs grow up being taught how important it is not to overspend or squander the family’s fortune. This often leads to heavyhanded messages (particularly for sons) from the parents: “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”—a longstanding belief and fear—is the bogeyman. Continue reading