Mo' Money Mo' Problems
October 15, 2010 8:31 AM Subscribe
I have inherited a substantial amount, at least to me. How do I get over the guilt of not having worked for it?
Growing up, my own and my friends' parents were all sweat-of-their-brow sort of people. We were immigrants coming to New York City with, almost literally, nothing, and everyone aspired and eventually made it to the middle class.
Now, I'm in my mid-20s, my parents are dead, my two remaining grandparents are pretty close to it, and I really don't have an extended family. Many of my close friends, have also, at this point, built themselves up. There wasn't a lot of privilege-in-action outside of the fact that we were white immigrants coming from a culture which encouraged education above all else, and we grew up in areas with decent public schools and everyone's parents cosigned on their college loans. The point I'm trying to make is that all these people got to where they are with hard work and determination.
Me? I was always a slacker who got by on just plain being smart. Eventually, by dropping out of college and forcing myself to go into the workforce, I got enough discipline to get by. Not a lot, but enough. And then, just recently, I inherited a bunch of money and some nearly-paid-off property. It's not millions and a mansion; it's in the low six figures and a 2-bedroom apartment. Still. I've never made more than $20K a year. When I went back to school at 23, my mom paid my rent (and only my rent, I had a part-time job.)
I don't know what to do now. Growing up under an immigrant single mother, I'm a very frugal person almost by nature. I never developed the connection between buying things and pleasure. Hell, most of the time, buying things for myself, unless they are things to replace totally worn-out other things, makes me feel guilty. Being unemployed is a horrible thing for me, so I'm not just going to quit my job and hang out. Travelling (at least to foreign exotic places) is also out of the picture due to a lot of health problems. That and I've been all over the world and I don't enjoy the actual act of travelling. I plan on getting a financial adviser.
I have a lot of completely-broke and horribly-in-debt friends and feel like even complaining about this is absolutely ridiculous. How do I reconcile the guilt over suddenyl becoming a trust-fund kid and having much more money and property than my most hard-working friends and not having had to do anything for it? Do I continue living as I did, which involved spending very, very little money? Do I start buying things I've always wanted and see if the guilt goes away?