Does inheritance mean a loss of credibility for personal finance bloggers?

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.

Does inheritance mean a loss of credibility for personal finance bloggers?

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 🙂

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29 thoughts on “Does inheritance mean a loss of credibility for personal finance bloggers?”

  1. As long as you are honest and not trying to sell a product that did not actually get you where you are, people should not worry about an inheritance. Making such good choices can only be compounded by coming into money.

  2. I think so long as you are up front about it, it should only add to your credibility. As it shows that you did not squander the money on a new car etc. Also, any long time readers will easily notice the sudden jump in portfolio value and recent stock buys right? I had a ‘small’ windfall last year, and it helped super charge my portfolios dividend income. I put every last cent of it into my long-term savings, wouldn’t have done it any other way.

  3. Tawcan,

    Right there with you buddy. In my book, a well-managed inheritance improves a financial blogger’s credibility. It’s much easier to spend it all than to stick to your original plan of saving and investing.

    To be honest, I’m kind of counting on inheriting some money down the road – as wrong as that may sound. Death of family members is an inevitable part of life, so why not take that into consideration when planning your own future?

    Best wishes,

  4. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of inheriting money in my opinion. I would have more than happy to have done so (well, except for the obvious reasons why not).

    As you say with Frugalwoods as the example, if it accelerates the goals and they carry on living sensible, frugal lives towards their goal, then it makes absolutely no difference at all!

  5. Great article! I feel the exact same really. Especially since I have a rather large 6 figure inheritance coming to me in the next year.

    All depends on how you will use that money. I plan on investing the whole amount and kick my passive income into overdrive.

  6. Lying or not telling the whole story is the key here. While I respect self made people, I wouldn’t have held it against him for receiving an inheritance. It still takes effort and willpower to effectively save and invest, unless it’s some huge amount. I’d never followed his blog, but did read the article on Yahoo! when it was posted.

  7. It’s not so much the inheritance as it is the lying that gets to people.

    I think it’s pretty sad that someone desires validation so much that they’d lie just to get it. Anyways, I’m glad he’s gone. He did have really good financial tips, though.

  8. Like other commenters, I think the issue is the lying rather than the inheritance. I think I’m more disappointed than anything else since I’m afraid the average Yahoo reader will see the correction piece and think, “Oh, that dude lied. So clearly there’s no way I should even try to save and invest and reach truly audacious financial goals since it’d be impossible to reach them without an inheritance.” And that’s a shame.

    • Hi Mrs. PoP,

      Exactly, he did provide quite a bit of insight on how to save money by being frugal and use the money to invest. Too bad so many Yahoo readers will just put these great suggestions off and continue with their extravagant lifestyle.

  9. Inheritances mean that someone close has died so I can’t see too many people having a problem with that.

    It’s the deception that sticks in people’s throats.

    If he’d been anonymous, he could have carried on with the deception and no one would have been the wiser and in fact, a lot of what he talked about made sense, was inspirational and was great advice.

  10. Tawcan,

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with inheritances at all. I don’t personally have a very good track record with them – I wasted the one I received when I was in college. I’d love a second shot, though! 🙂

    I doubt anyone would have had a problem with Anton at all, had he been honest from the beginning. His problem was that he lied. I’m personally glad he disappeared from the blogosphere, as I have no tolerance for those that purposefully deceive people like that. Who knows what else he was lying about?

    I’m kind of confused with Sam’s post and this one, to be honest. I’m not aware that anyone in the community has any issue at all with inheritances. I think it’s pretty obvious that the community doesn’t care for liars.

    Best regards!

    • Hi Dividend Mantra,

      Hope you will get a second shot to prove that you learned something. 🙂

      You’re totally right, if Anton was honest from the beginning nobody would have had an issue. You just can’t base credibility on lies. What did he try to accomplish anyway? Getting a few clicks to generate some money? If he needs that money then obviously his “million” isn’t enough…

  11. It was the deception that was what people were outraged about, not really the fact that he got a huge inheritance.

    I didn’t care much either way about him, but Anton came across as kinda scammy from the very beginning.

    • Hi Steve,

      I didn’t check out his blog before he shut it down but he did seem a bit scammy. He obviously didn’t do his math to make sure all the math makes sense. Lying is not cool.

  12. I think in Anton’s case it was the deceipt that people don’t like.

    In general I think people do who work hard to build their stash do look down on those who use inheritances as part of theirs. There really should be no shame though.

  13. I think as long as you’re upfront about an inheritance being part of your net worth, then it’s no big deal. Intentionally deceiving people about the origins of your wealth is just kind of bizarre and misleading. But, hey, I’m all for inheritances!

    And if anyone wants to send that $250K my way, please go right ahead! Pretty sure Mr. Frugalwoods and I won’t be inheriting anything remotely close to that figure anytime soon 🙂

    • Hi Mrs. Frugalwoods,

      Honesty comes a long way. Intentionally hiding the fact that you received an inheritance and boosted you’re a “self-made” millionaire is just not the right way to do things.

  14. Tawcan,

    I believe that there is nothing to be ashamed about regarding inheritance. I will one day receive a small one, but in no way do I calculate it into my retirement savings or even think about it. I manage and focus on what I can control and only that.

    I believe most if not all bloggers would disclose an inheritance and the tax implication as it would make a great case study and prove informational for all of us at some point in our lives.

    Looking forward, I view my portfolios as my kids’ inheritance and feel good knowing they’ll split the little financial empire I’m slowly building from the ground up.


    • Hi DWC,

      There’s nothing to be ashamed about inheritance. I hope to one day pass money to my kids too and I will do my hardest to make sure they are educated about money, personal finances, and investing.

  15. Hi Tawcan,

    I agree with you on your stance towards Anton. I don’t think there is anything wrong with inheriting money, it’s very common and there’s no shame in it whatsoever. It’s the dishonesty on having it that gets to people.

    There was an outrage in the UK a couple of years back when experiments found large quantities of Horse meat in a microwave lasagne dish. People HAD been eating horse and were disgusted by it (as we love horses over here), but the main issue for many was the deception. I have no worries about eating horse, but I want to make that decision.

    Anton would have kept some credibility if he came clean from the outset. With that said, I don’t think people would have been as impressed as they are with someone like Jason at Dividend Mantra, as he built it up his Portfolio from $5k, which most people can aspire to start from or at least get to. There is nothing WRONG with inheritance but it isn’t inspiring, and it’s largely out of peoples hands to do something about. Building up from scratch can be done by anyone.

    On a side note, Jason at Dividend Mantra did inherit a considerable sum of money ($60,000), and ended up spending it all in 2 years prior to him starting his FI journey. You’re right in saying that you still have to resist temptation and make a decision to invest that money.

    I agree with much of what you say above. Although I’m with you in wishing people wouldn’t treat people differently if they inherited money, I think a large chunk of people with lose the connection they had to that person, as they can no longer relate to them.

    I think we should give credit where it’s due, be less critical, and not look down on people inheriting money.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s an interesting topic!


    • Well said Huw. I came here to say the same thing, that it wasn’t the fact that Anton inherited the money that discredits him. It’s that he knowingly deceived the community in order to get his 15 minutes of fame that is causing all the backlash.

      Probably the worst thing to happen for him was to have the story discovered by Yahoo and all of a sudden having to keep up the deceit for such a large audience. If he remained in obscurity then none of this would have happened to him.

      • Came here to pretty much say the exact same thing. There is nothing wrong with inheriting money. However, in Anton’s case, it should have been disclosed. The fact that he received high volume traffic from prominent links on major financial sites and knowingly profited greatly from all the affiliate links on his site, does bug me. Regardless, the advice that he gave is still spot on, if it was a little disingenuous.

    • Hi Huw,

      Very good points. I think it’s cool that people built their net worth from the ground up. For those people that receive inheritance or help along the way, it doesn’t mean their work isn’t worth as much. Money or not, it’s important that you’re following the strategy and making sure you’re executing the strategy.

      Agreed, Anton should have came out clean in the first place. Not doing so he lost all his credibility and nobody will read anything he writes anymore.

  16. It could be envy to why people tend to look at the negatives. I agree that it’s what you do with the money that counts. I know this one girl from high school who received a large inheritance from her mother’s passing. After 2 years of college she was heavily in debt and facing bankruptcy.

    I most likely won’t be leaving any inheritance. It’ll either go to charity or I’ll travel into space haha. My future kids will be more knowledgeable than me so they won’t need my assets.


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