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Sunday, May 22, 2022

If I'd Been Born on Third Base

If you had been born into immense inherited wealth - Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt type wealth - how do you imagine you would have lived your life?  

Years ago, I heard an heir to that kind of fortune described as "born on third base but thought he hit a triple." I've often wondered how someone with that kind of wealth avoids succumbing to a privileged mindset. How would you avoid it? Though I'd like to think I could, I could be deluding myself. If so, add this item to an already long list of ways my espoused ideals have not been tested.

I did feel it was important to raise my only child to recognize her privilege. In that small respect, I aligned my ideals with one modest action. If my name were Bezos, Gates, or Musk instead of Barton, would I have done the same? I hope so but I don't really know. If your children were heirs to that kind of wealth, what would you do to help them remain grounded?




  1. I'd set up a family charitable foundation in each of their names and put the kids in charge of researching and selecting the recipients of the grants each year. In other words, put a collaborative family focus on helping others financially.

    1. Thanks for the comment and bigger thanks for actually considering my final question and giving a thoughtful answer, one that shows your heart is in the right place.

  2. Good afternoon, Pat. I love this post. I'm sure most people (aside from the 1%) have thought about how it would feel to have great wealth. My wife, good person that she is, talks about being philanthropic if we ever hit the lottery. And I share those views. I would think that it would be difficult to control spending if sudden wealth would happen. But I also believe that it would be different being in my 60's than if I was in my 20's or 30's. I knew someone many years ago who received a very large financial settlement from a lawsuit resulting from an auto accident. The money was gone in less than 2 years. Wasteful is the first word that comes to mind, but also sad. I would hope that the values we raised our 2 children with would continue even if life changing wealth were to happen. I honestly don't see myself spending $55 Million to go to the ISS for a week, as some have recently done. I also see better uses for the millions that are spent on political campaigns. The amount of good things that could be done with that amount of money, boggles my mind. Now to go look for that lottery ticket.
    Be well,

    1. Hey Bob; Thanks for the support of my blog. Your regular and thoughtful comments often are a highlight of my day. BTW, I especially appreciated your closing comment here about the lottery. My wife and I have often fantasized about our philanthropic contributions ifwe won the lottery. Then we realize we'd first have to start buying tickets in order for that to happen!