(the editors) were 24 when money cascaded into our lives
through an unexpected inheritance. At the time, almost
everything about our lives seemed awkwardly up in the
air--whether or not we would stay together, where we would
settle, what each of our life's work would be--yet our
essential values and directions were well-formed. We just
weren't sure how to use our money in service to those
values. Fortunately, some older people with wealth reached
out to us, acted as mentors, and hooked us up to others
our age who were also grappling with wealth. Step-by-step
we found our way.
Now entering cozy middle-age,
we have frequently wished to offer timely support such
as we received, particularly to those people with wealth
in their 20's who could use a hand in connecting with
peers and other resources. But where are these younger
adults with financial abundance? Some people assume
readers are youthful. (Is it the purple
ink and cartoons?) But so far only 5% of our subscribers
are under 30 and only 25% consider themselves "beginners"
in money issues.
So we ask for your help.
Whatever your age, enjoy the issue, and then please pass
it on. If you are older, might you send it to younger
relatives, or the grown children of friends? If you are
younger, could the issue open a conversation you've wanted
to have but didn't know how to start?
For the past year, we have
been working with The Comfort Zone, a collaborative between
representatives from six Boston-area organizations and
young people with wealth. We have developed an information
packet for affluent young adults, and we are reaching
out on campuses around New England. This statement by
The Comfort Zone aptly describes the context for this
More than Money
"Recently the media has
been interested in an issue that some people deny exists,
and others gape at: the problems of young rich people.
Since economist Robert Avery announced that the largest
inter-generational transfer of wealth in history is taking
place over the next few years, numerous articles have
appeared on the 'perils of family money' and other wealth-related
topics. Most of the attention has been given to the pitfalls
that young people with wealth face: guilt, boredom, a
sense of alienation, 'affluenza', etc. Less attention
has been paid to the significant number of young people
who have worked through the issues that their money has
brought and are making creative choices about their lives
and their wealth, using both to help change the world."
Stereotypes come easily,
it seems not only to the news media but to the human species.
Our aim in this issue is to counter generalities by offering
snapshots of the lives of some real people with all their
particularities. From these encounters, we seek to distill
some of what is unique to being young and wealthy in the
late 1990's. What happens when age, money, and historical
Most people in their 20's
deal with certain identity-forming issues: independence
from parents, defining work, developing lasting relationships,
becoming active members of their communities. How are
these issues different for young adults who also have
Likewise, people with wealth,
no matter what their age, deal with certain issues that
are different from those of people with lesser financial
means: freedom of work choice, lifestyle questions, directing
their money towards some greater purpose. How do the pressures
and opportunities sit differently for those in their 20's?
How is being young and wealthy different now, in the 90's,
than for generations that came before? What historical
forces have put a different slant on the experience?
More than Money
readers of all ages, we hope this issue provides useful
food for thought about the needs of different stages of
life. You older readers may find it interesting to reflect
on how you dealt with money in your 20's, and what additional
help would have been useful then. We also hope this issue
increases your ability to assist your younger friends,
relatives, or clients with wealth. For our younger readers,
we hope you feel inspired to discuss with others about
what wealth means for you and to embrace the significant
challenges and opportunities it brings.
--Anne Slepian and Christopher
© 1990-2005, More Than Money, All rights reserved