Thursday, 20 November 2014

There is currently one of those thrilling

family sagas being played out in the courts in this country. It has been going on for some time. The media has been making much of it. I suspect most Australians are aware of it - and many of them are taking an interest in it.
I am aware of it. I have taken little interest in it. I am just aware that the ultra-rich are not necessarily happy.
I am with the mother on this occasion. She has worked hard, very hard. She has amassed a fortune. Yes, she inherited money from her father - although not nearly as much as people often believe - but she went on to use it and make a great deal more.
I don't think I would particularly like her if I met her. Her business methods may or may not be good but they are successful. I know very little about her.
What does interest me however is her comments about "sense of entitlement" and her older children. They are also wealthy but they have not worked for it. Rather like the American woman who has claimed a billion dollars from the mega-rich man she is divorcing they claim their inheritance from their grandfather is not enough and they want even more. The younger child does work for her mother - although the older children claim she isn't really working. I suspect she does work. Her mother is not the sort of person to pay idle people.
But, should the older children be paid to be idle? Are we better off without having them in the workforce? The son at least claims lost business opportunities because of a lack of finance. Really? Many people start without anything. They work hard instead. It is clear that his mother does not think he would have succeeded even with money behind him. She apparently looked at the "business opportunities" and concluded they were no more than "get rich quick" schemes. She offered them opportunities to work inside the business - from the bottom up. They refused.
I know other people, often in my generation, who say they are "spending it now" and that their children won't be left with much. All too often however those same children do expect to be left a substantial amount - on top of the "loans" they have already received and the child-care services now being provided.
My sister and my brother each have two children. They have given their children most of their inheritance already - in the form of supporting them through school and university. It is a sort of family tradition I suppose. My paternal great-grandparents had almost nothing when they came here but they worked hard and gave their children an education. In turn my grandfather's generation gave their children a chance to educate themselves and so it has gone on.
My sister married a man whose parents were Cypriot-Greek peasants. They worked hard too. They didn't have much of an education themselves but they saw to it that their children did and now their grandchildren are also getting an education.
It is, I think, a magnificent inheritance - and one we are all entitled to if it is at all possible. It is perhaps the best sort of inheritance as well because it is one for which we need to work.  

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