Inspired by the various threads about Leona Helmsley’s will. Do you expect to cash in big when a family member kicks the bucket?
When I was a child, I’d seen enough cartoons or shows or read enough children’s books and magazine stories to believe that I was going to inherit millions of dollars from an unknown relative, probably an uncle, sometime in the future. Presumably while I was young enough to enjoy it and live a jet-set lifestyle of leisure.
I was still in elementary school when I learned to my surprise that I actually had a millionaire uncle! He was married to my aunt. So it was practically a done deal that I was going to be wearing ermine and silk and eating breakfast off silver plates in my Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Mom cottoned onto my delusions of grandeur at some point and dashed my hopes by explaining that my rich uncle had a wife and three kids of his own to leave his money to, that if anything he would leave any extra money to his own side of the family, and if he should want to leave money to our side of the family, I had thirty cousins that were just as likely to get something as I was, diffusing the treasury a great deal.
Being an optimist and a dreamer, I still secretly believed that, as in the stories I’d read or the cartoons I’d seen, he would somehow single me out as being the one virtuous niece-in-law who he really respected.
At some point, and without my ever having met him, he died and I got nothing. Luckily, by then I was becoming a somewhat more realistic person, on my way to appreciating hard work, and I stopped expecting something for nothing.
Since then I’ve had a lot of difficult jobs, working for minimum wage for several years, having jobs that included tasks such as cleaning up vomit and human excrement, carrying heavy loads, and handling the remains of dead animals. I joined the Army and literally crawled through mud to earn a paycheck.
I absolutely will not leave money to any family members unless they actually need for it medical reasons. I think it’s a bad thing to let impressionable young people think that at one fell swoop all their financial needs will be met for life, and they’ll never have to work hard or learn to get along with people or learn to go without things they want or to save money.
I’ve digressed. Anyway, my theory is that it’s very common for people to think that they have a big windfall coming, whether from a rich relative they know, a rich relative they don’t know, or a stranger who takes a liking to them in an elevator.
How about you? Are you expecting to inherit a lot of money? If not, did you ever think you were going to? How did you realize you weren’t?