Monday, November 13, 2017

Another Down-to-Earth Heiress

Consider this a sequel to my last post, in which a woman's family money seemed to be funding some luxuries for an otherwise frugal couple.

This time, the story is about a childhood friend of mine. I hadn't really kept in touch with him for years, but some years ago I was at a party in my home town and met his wife. She was a lovely person who taught in a local nursery school, just really sweet and friendly and exactly the sort of person you'd want your child's teacher to be. My old friend worked in what sounded like a mid-level corporate marketing job. They had a child and another on the way at that point. They were renting a house and hoping to find one to buy. It all sounded totally typical for a young married couple of my general world, which I'll again describe as mostly people who have had a stable, middle-class to upper-middle class upbringing, college grads-- people with many advantages in life but who would not be seen as particularly rich. People who probably aren't living paycheck-to-paycheck, but who have worries about the bigger financial goals in life such as helping kids pay for college, and retirement. People who can't take money for granted.

As in my last story, an offhand remark by the wife made my head spin-- I was telling a story about my own job, with an example of a regular task I had at that time, and I referred to a company name. The wife said "oh! That's my family's business! [Things associated with this company, one of which I had just cited,] are named after my sisters and cousins and me!" This company is not a household name but it's one of those things that is actually pretty major in a behind-the-scenes way, which you notice everywhere once you know where to look. I didn't pry into all the family tree, but from doing a little research afterwards, it appeared that the wife's grandfather was at that time the richest man in the country where this company was founded.

Being the richest man in that country is not like being the richest man in the US-- our billionaires are way richer. But still... he's a billionaire! I guess there is no law that says grandparents have to provide money to their grandchildren, and maybe this woman doesn't get a thing, but even if she is one of lots and lots of grandchildren, she would surely inherit something someday. And at that level of wealth, I'd be surprised if there wasn't some sort of trust fund distributing some money already.

At some point after that party, I asked a mutual friend if he knew about the wife's background. He was aware that she came from money, as apparently a group of this guy's friends always joked about how he must have sold his soul to the devil because he'd gone from being kind of a nerd in high school to marrying this beautiful and wealthy woman! But they didn't even realize exactly how wealthy her family was.

I was just looking up this couple to see what they are up to lately, as I haven't seen them in a while and don't know much more about them other than what their kids are doing in photos posted on Facebook. The wife is no longer a teacher, and has what sounds like a management job at a tech company. My friend seems to still have more or less the same job. When the wife was a teacher, I thought "ok, that is the sort of job that is emotionally rewarding if not remunerative, so it makes sense that she would do that." Obviously I don't know any details about her current job, but it sounds more like the kind of thing people do when they need to make money-- she may find it satisfying in other ways, but I guess it is my own bias showing that I think anyone who has some family money would want to be an entrepreneur, or work for a non-profit, or teach-- in general, do things that are too risky or low-paying to do if you really need a steady income. I wish I could ask her a lot of questions....

1 comment:

T'Pol said...

After reading both stories, I found myself wondering if I would still be working if I had enugh family money coming my way. I think, I would still work just to show myself my own competence.

How is the semi-retired life?