A few days ago, I posted an article about an individual trying to figure out how to manage a $50 million trust. For a number of reasons, that article has stuck in my mind, and my feelings on the situation have grown and changed. After reflecting on all of it for a while, I realized that my initial reaction to this tale isn’t all that different than many people’s reaction to such amounts of money, but as I reflected, I came around to a different viewpoint, a much healthier one.
When I first read about that trust and tried to imagine a situation where I could live quite well and simply follow my dreams without having to worry about day-to-day finances, I was incredibly jealous. I can scarcely dream of having such an opportunity – my biggest realistic hope is to build a very nice house for my family in fifteen years and retire there in thirty (or so), having worked hard all of my life. My biggest dreams can’t really be followed because they don’t make financial sense – I’d love to be able to take a serious crack at writing a great novel, for starters – but if I were in the situation with that trust, I could. Even a tenth of that trust would do the trick – I would put every dime of it in treasury notes, live off the payments, take complete care of my family, and still be able to follow those dreams of mine. The thought of that fills me with jealousy – there’s no other word for it.
As I thought aboout it more, I got angry. My first wave of anger was at the figurative hand dealt to me at birth – as good as the opportunities were that life has given me, I was angry that I wasn’t born with even more of them. My anger then moved on to me – why was I so foolish managing my money earlier in my life?
Over the last few days, though, the biggest feeling I get from thinking about the trust is motivation. I don’t have a $50 million trust waiting for me and neither will my son, but if I work hard, focus, and practice good sound financial discipline, I can put my son in a very good place to start out, and he’ll also have a strong sense of healthy money management. Who knows what heights he may be able to reach in his lifetime?
I may not be rich myself, but I’m learning the tools one needs to get there. I can then pass along those tools to my son and give him the boost he needs to reach dizzying heights. The same goes for my soon-to-arrive daughter, too.
Two years ago, I probably would have continued to burn with jealousy and then used that as an excuse to buy something ostentatious and unnecessary. Now it motivates me to be more frugal and look for investment opportunities.
It’s all in the mind, I guess.