Sam at Financial Samurai wrote an interesting article asking us Why Are People So Ashamed About Inheriting Money. The article is based on the recent development of a blogger named Anton. Anton was featured on Yahoo Finance where he shared his story of becoming a "self-made" millionaire by age 27. One big issue about the article - Anton did not mention a word about that he inherited some money from his parents.
I came across the Yahoo Finance article a few weeks ago, before the additional information came out. It’s really unfortunate that the story blew up and received a lot of negativity. I truly believe Anton should have told the truth in the first place. He withheld a key piece of information and it just discarded all of Anton's credibility that he has built.
I do not think there is any shame in telling other people that you have inherited money. Inheritance is not new and has been around for ages. Receiving inheritance shouldn't really change Anton’s story. In the Yahoo Finance article, it talked about how Anton saved 60% of his income and taking on freelance jobs on the side. He then used the money saved to purchase real estates. Unlike many people, Anton kept up his frugal lifestyle and continued adding to his investments. All actions that we should applaud. How many people out there can proudly say that they’re doing the same? Having a frugal lifestyle and having high saving rate is not easy to do, it requires a lot of commitments. It’s a lot easier to have an extravagant lifestyle and live on credit. (If you can live with the stress of having to pay it all off eventually).
Why do people always focus on the negatives? Perhaps envy and jealousy are why this story got blown up on the internet. Sure the numbers may not add up but we need to look at the positives.
If Jason at Dividend Mantra all of a sudden receives $200,000 in inheritance yet continues saving money and continues investing in dividend stocks, does that make him any less credible?
If the Frugalwoods all of a sudden receive $250,000 in inheritance yet continue with their frugal lifestyle and retire at age 33 like they have been planning all along, does that make them less credible?
Inheritance or not, it shouldn't change how you see people. Inheritance should not mean a loss of credibility to financial bloggers out there. Internet is a funny thing, it sometimes brings out the worst in us. Many people on the internet like to bash or ridicule others. It’s a lot easier to do that than looking yourself in the mirror. We all think that we’re the best and have no flaws. It’s tough to look at yourself and ridicule yourself for not managing your money and investing your money wisely.
What’s the big deal about inheriting money? Shouldn't we instead feel lucky and be appreciative? I personally consider inheritance as a stepping stone to financial independence, and I am thankful for how my parents have helped me so far. Embrace the money and grow it so you can pass it on to your kids. If you don’ have kids, grow the inheritance so you can donate it to the less fortunate people one day. Don’t squander the inheritance and regret that you didn't use it for something better 5 years down the road. If you are one of those that do end up squandering your inheritance, I hope you learn something along the way 🙂