Living Richly: Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth by Myra Salzer

The title of Living Richly: Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth doubles as the book’s summary as well. Myra Salzer is a wealth coach for a very particular group of people. She deals solely with clients who have inherited a minimum of twenty five million dollars or more. She does this because at that level,  inheritors will likely never have to work again and she enjoys the challenge of working with people facing those unique circumstances which, understandably bring their share of problems and anxiety.

Now you might wonder why it is that I would have any interest in readng a book that has such a specifically targeted audience, but as I was telling Amy just the other day, I take great pleasure in reading self-help books concerning issues that I don’t have. In that instance we were talking about advice books on marriage, but I checked this morning and unfortunately I am not a millionaire either. Yet! But, any minute now. Like other books, these types of books help to satisfy my insatiable nosiness about the world and my fellow inhabitants. Living Richly is helpful in terms of finding the early steps to take in wealth management, but can also double as an inside look at the unique money problems of the very wealthy.

Living Richly is very much about finding yourself in a new situation and having the resources to not only process that change, but to figure out an action plan for managing all that goes into the upkeep of wealth. Salzer just as much addresses the personal aspects of using wealth to enhance your life, and for developing and maintaining wealth in a way that reflects personal values and goals, as to  show the steps that you need to take and the people who will be involved in maintaining wealth.  There are extensive definitions of all the basic financial terms, details on the types of trusts, and  recommendations of those to include in the team that is needed in managing substantial wealth. Salzer strongly encourages inheritors to be familiar with the terms of their trusts and contracts, even if they will not be involved in minutia and day-to-day decision making.

Salzer uses case studies of clients in different stages of dealing with varying wealth. One woman is just figuring out that she needs to be more actively involved in managing the money for her family, while another man seeks to understand the terms of a family trust so that he can work with it and carve out a more comfortable lifestyle for his family. It was fascinating to learn how some trusts start for the good of the family and providing for that family, only to become solely concerned with maintaining its own wealth.

In interesting commentary, Salzer relates that most fortunes are gained and lost within just a few generations, and that few inheritors can comfortably maintain their inheritances for themselves  and family. She provides an accessible overview not only for those who are new inheritors, but also for those just looking to better understand their inheritances and family wealth. People often have complicated relationships with money, whether they have it or not, and Salzer seeks to assist inheritors in dealing with their own complex feelings about having money and the perception of others. Speaking as someone who would be starting out with very little knowledge of all that is involved in making financial decisions on such a grand scale, this book seems like an excellent way to start the navigation process.

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