The importance of earning your own way

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This post is inspired by a recent experience with an interesting family. Daddy earned the money, and his generosity created monsters. Those monsters put the whole family in a situation that could result in criminal convictions and financial losses through litigation, because of a false self-image, over-inflated egos and a confirmation bias.

When a person earns their money, I mean really earns it, they treasure every penny. When times are good, you still remember the days of penny pinching and of when simple things made you happy.

A person who hasn’t earned their life has a very care free and flippant attitude towards wealth. They’ve never experienced the things that go into creating a wealthy life, both good and bad.

One of the most valuable experiences in the creation of wealth is being forced into situations where you’ve had to protect yourself.

It starts with “if only I’d signed a contract” and over the years you become pre-emptive in problem solving. You take note of your gut instinct and you begin to meticulously document interactions, including recording conversations and storing all written correspondence. Most of the time these habits are precautionary, but on occasion their vitality can’t be over stated.

In a single 8 minute recording I made on Thursday morning, at 10:23am, Senior Monster (daddies wife) confirmed the details of a verbal contract, breach of that contract, harassment amounting to criminal harassment, and then we captured an assault on myself by the “thick as a log” husband of Junior Monster (daddies daughter). We also captured the period in which Junior Monster dialled 999 and made a false accusation… ie. wasting police time.

8 Minutes of ignorance could (depending on how what we decide to do) result in a criminal conviction for three individuals… and one hell of a sweet civil case.

8 Minutes of ignorance and inflated sense of self… that’s all it takes. These people were well aware by this point conversations were being recorded and documented, but through lack of experience nobody made the link between absurd behaviour and consequences.

Daddy’s unconditional love of his family hasn’t done anybody any favours.

Now if Daddy had become involved I expect he would have had the presence of mind to avoid landing in the poop, but with wife and daughter being gifted their existence they acted irresponsibly, embarrassing their family by spouting off things like “we know everyone, you don’t know anyone” (junior monster) and “I’m going to make sure everyone knows about you” (Senior Monster).

Junior Monster was correct – the police know her and her family, and were quite clear they were sick of the frivolous drama. The officer I spoke to expressed frustration at name-dropping and boastfulness about family wealth – in his words “it makes no difference to anything”.

Senior Monster has quite a reputation, ironic considering her promise of defamation (please oh please, we can add it to the list). A person I’d never met before asked, out of the blue and without prompting, “it was the mother that was the antagonist wasn’t it?”.

While writing this post I popped out to the shops and spoke to another neighbour who was, frankly, scathing about the family (and entirely correct.)

Wealth is more than just money – family is a big part of wealth, happiness, friends etc. If you and your family are the joke in the village, detested by most, are you really wealthy?

Because they’ve been given everything in this life, literally everything, these women have a strong dependence on daddy. He provides money, he catches them when they fall, but he didn’t parent his children and he didn’t require his beneficiaries to act with humility. The third generation is also affected – young kids who haven’t been taught right from wrong, and go around kicking people, throwing things at horses, etc.

When you don’t earn your own money, either you can’t believe others could have any wealth, or you are filled with jealousy that others have been able to earn their own way. I don’t boast about the business success I’ve had, and I don’t yet feel I’ve earned the right to boast. Through the stupidity of others, and my own naivety, 2 years ago I was entirely broke. Since then I’ve build a formidable company, but it’s still in its infancy, and I’m only a very short way down this road. On the Thursday of the events I’ve described here, my company made more money than Junior Monster and Thick Shit (her husband) earn in a month combined. This gives me a mild satisfaction, but I don’t for a second think Junior Monster would believe a word of it.

But what happens when daddy is gone?

For this family I’m not sure it makes much difference since daddies company doesn’t seem to be doing very well at all. Like the rest of the construction sector, recession is the word of the moment, and the company accounts look a bit of a state (Junior and Senior no doubt remain blissfully ignorant.)

Junior has no control of the pittance her and her husband actually do earn (easy come, easy go and all that) and she is probably waiting for their parents to die, which is a very sad proposition, and may not pay dividends. She hides money from her husband, spends without telling him, and openly jokes about it.

A relative of mine was quite wealthy. She lived on an acreage property on the shoreline of Sydney harbour, probably worth an easy 8 figures. But when she died her children, who’d never been financially parented, pissed it up the wall within a few years. I expect the same will happen to this family once daddy is gone.

If you haven’t earned your way you have a disassociation with the money you spend since it’s such an easy commodity. Spending someone else’s money is easy, and with the disassociation you don’t care if you are paying £1400 for a pair of shoes, even if you wouldn’t dream of spending £1400 of your own money on shoes.

The family I’m talking about seems to be a new-money family. There is probably room for a separate discussion on the general difference between old money families, and new money families, but one of the fundamental differences is in how the children grew up, and if they’ve been taught to respect money.

I’ve always been wary of new-money, my old acquaintance Mark Attwood grew up in a council house and ended up sinking a ship to the tune of £1.5million in the red (officially reported as just under £1mil) – this in a company that could have operated with extremely tiny overheads.

Old Money families seem to educated their kids about money, and understand the importance of earning your own way. You’ll often hear old money parents talking about how they will make their children “work for it”. I’m extremely grateful for the financial education my dad gave me – the concept of compound interest gave me wet dreams as a kid.

New Money refuses to enjoy simple things in life. Some of the most enjoyable things are simple, but simple is incongruous with new money’s self image. Its sad to think someone wouldn’t enjoy a backpacking holiday simply because it’s not what they feel is “class appropriate” – if it’s not in a 5 star hotel, they don’t want it. That’s so sad… getting dirty, carrying your life around with you, and sharing with similarly free spirits is one of the best experiences anybody could hope for.

New Money cares more about appearance than quality. I’ve met new money wives who would prefer to wear 5-carat cubic zirconium rings rather than 0.25 carats of quality diamonds. Old money doesn’t care if other people don’t believe something is genuine, who cares! Disbelief of wealth is a sign of jealousy.

New Money judges others based on appearance, because surely if you have money you would spend it on bling? No? Appearance can be extremely deceptive – I know a guy who bought a £23k car, and has financially ruined himself for the next 5 years. He has the image of wealth, but nothing more. I know of another person who died with $2billion, but he lived in an average house and drove an average car. Nobody knew about his mind-boggling wealth, which he donated to charity upon his death.

Old Money is very careful with their lines of credit but new money doesn’t understand the difference and lives on credit cards and borrowings. Something goes wrong, and new money falls hard.

New Money seems to take less care of belongings, whereas old money seems to understand the value of everything. Throw your mobile phone about, reverse until the bumper of your car touches the wall, use scourers on a good quality Teflon pans… one of my pet hates… A lack of respect for things, shows a lack of respect for the money which paid for those things.

New Money is greedy and self-centred… I guess this stems from the days of having nothing and having to fend for themselves. Conversely some of the most generous people in the world are old money.

New Money thinks the world owes them something – it’s a lack of responsibility for their own lives which you also see in families who expect benefits from the government rather than going out and getting a job. I generally find old money family’s understand and appreciate they are very fortunate.

New Money is Fickle – it cares about the money, not intangibles like family and friends. This is probably the saddest of the lot… and their life suffers for it.

In the family I’m talking about I can’t blame daddy, and I actually respect a lot about the man. He looks out for his family unconditionally, and he’s obviously done well for himself. If only he’d exercised a bit of tough love.

I recently overheard Daddies employees laughing at the expense of Senior Monster – Certainly they have the appearance of wealth, but to live within that family would be the epitome of poverty.

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