First Generation Wealth

I was looking at lists of good investing books the other day and I noticed something. Peter Lynch’s "One Up On Wall Street" was on all of them. In fact this top investment books list has only two entries and that’s one of them. Peter Lynch is apparently someone who knows something about money.

Meanwhile I was also amused to read Warren Buffet’s recent comments about how he thinks it’s ridiculous that he pays less in income tax than his secretary does (I didn’t think we called them that anymore, but whatever). Both of these men seem to exude a lot of common sense and understanding that while a lot of skill went into their success, a lot of luck did too. They don’t suggest that there’s no room to garnish their success slightly to make sure that those who don’t have the same combination of skill and luck can be a little more secure.

What seems to be a striking difference between these men and those who suggest that others "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" is that these men actually made their own success. Despite having actually pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they don’t suggest that that’s a pure indicator of success or worthiness.

Meanwhile second generation and later wealth is terrified of losing the money they have no idea how to make. The early members of Walt Disney’s Studios are geniuses who respect what has been done since. The modern captains of the company simply want to continue to see how long they can milk the legacies of those geniuses. This seems to strike a strange tone:

Those who made their own money are grateful.

Those who didn’t are not.

Somehow the ones who are gifted a fortune and never work a day in their life (I’m looking at you Shrub), feel justified in telling the others to work harder. While those who really have earned their fortune seem to appreciate all the help it took to get them there. I’m not sure this anecdotal belief is sufficient to develop policy from, but it makes me feel like an increase in inheritance tax is warranted.

Comments are closed.