“Money in our family is affection and weapons.” Inheritors’ ambivalence about their money, Part 2

Maggie is a young woman who, like so many inheritors The Inheritance Project talked to, got her money early in life. Though she has lots of money, her parents were controlling. Mother keeps a close watch on her daughter’s credit-card statements, and Maggie often feels guilty over her spending, although it is not excessive.

“Money in our family is affection and weapons,” she says. She knows that her father married her mother for her money, and she has witnessed countless family struggles over money.

Unlike the inheritor who exclaimed, “Ugh, more money!” (read the previous blog post), Maggie doesn’t dislike her money: “I really depend on feeling special because I have money. It feels very safe. I feel very different—on a slightly different plane. I almost want to use the word ‘elite,’ but that is not quite right. I just feel safe, removed from something that is scary in everyday life.”

Paradoxically, this sense of safety Maggie is the flip side of an overwhelming paralysis. In her late twenties, she can’t seem to take hold of life. She can’t figure out what it is she wants to do. “People have told me, ‘You have everything! You should be able to do anything! Follow your dream.’ But I am just rooted to the spot; I don’t even have a dream to follow. There is a kind of frozenness that extends so completely throughout my life that when people ask me, ‘What have you been doing recently,’ I think, ‘Oh my God! I don’t know .Don’t ask. I don’t do anything.’”

from “The Legacy of Inherited Wealth: Interviews with Heirs”