Wealth, Guilt & Shame In Families
Wealthy people are a soft target at the best of times. The media revels in sensational stories about wealthy families, especially when things go wrong. And if that wasn’t enough, neo-socialists in the US preach redistribution and question whether the world should have billionaires.
The emerging “wealth minimisation” movement encourages inheritors to redistribute “excess wealth” for the betterment of society. In some cases, this is about making up for the “harm” done by the wealth creation in the first place, which plays to feelings of guilt. There is some overlap with those who advocate destruction of statues that are no longer politically correct.
What does all this mean to someone born into a wealthy family? Forming a positive identity about their wealth can be a huge challenge. The “acquirer’s and inheritors dilemmas” can lead to feelings of shame.
Families need to get ahead of this, and have open discussions about their family’s wealth to encourage positive feelings. Family philanthropy and impact investment can be framed as ways to serve the wider community, rather than being an act of penance.
Consider This: At what age did you start talking to your children about the family wealth? Do they have the tools to be comfortable with their wealth in dealings with with friends, colleagues and advisors? Are they able to discuss concerns within the family?
- How Much Is Enough?: In Depth
- OK Boomer vs. Avocado Toast: How to Talk Money Across Generations
- 8 important money conversations to have with your family | Brian Loy
- The Six Most Overrated Factors In Getting Rich
- Wealth Shame: When Wealth Changes Your Life (and Not Everyone Else’s)
- 4 Reasons Parents Don’t Discuss Money (and Why They Should)
Here is more on reading on Family conflict resolution.