Confessions From A Spoiled Rich Kid

The following is a guest post from long-time reader, Samurai Marco. It's nice to grow up rich. But here are his confessions as a spoiled rich kid would had everything at his disposal.

There are lots of rich kids nowadays since the stock market, real estate market, cyrptos and more have done so well. Further, there are plenty of rich kids who've started making money online.

Earning a lot of money early on and growing up with a lot of family wealth is nice. But there are some downsides. Raising spoiled kids is one of the biggest fears of FIRE parents.

What It's Like Growing Up Rich

When Sam first mentioned that he was accepting guest posts from his readers, it made me wonder what, from my financial journey, I could share. After all, you're already all a bunch of financial samurai's yourselves, right? Is my journey interesting enough? At 43 years old, have I made enough mistakes?

I grew up a spoiled rich kid in Cupertino, California, about an hour south of San Francisco. My father was a one of those, and I hate to use this term, “Serial entrepreneurs.” He started a lot of technology companies, a couple went public, some were acquired and, of course, a few failed.

I remember my Dad, back in the early 80's, bringing home the first prototypes of the Macintosh and Compaq computers and even the first cell phones.

His summer parties were filled with the “who's who” of Silicon Valley. I remember, in particular, one Christmas party in 1997, Gil Amelio and Steve Jobs made the deal for Apple to buy NEXT that night at my Dad's house.

The Forbes reporter, who was there, leaked it the next day I've gone flying with my Dad and Larry Ellison. I've talked stocks in the swimming pool with Eric Schmidt. So yes, I was surrounded by a lot of money and power and got a lot of attention for being my father's child.

To say I grew up spoiled really is an understatement It's taken me a long time to realize how “out of touch” my reality was back then. We flew first class to Italy every summer, sometimes twice a year, to visit family. We lived in a big house with a swimming pool in a “safe” neighborhood. My parents bought us whatever we wanted.

Confessions Of A Spoiled Rich Kid

My first car was a brand new convertible BMW and I was just seventeen years old. We were members of the tennis club and I took as many lessons as I wanted, whenever I wanted. By the time I was 21, I had a pilot's license and my own single engine airplane stationed at Santa Ana airport.

My dad paid for everything, all my housing and education including a BA in Sociology from UC Irvine and an MBA from Santa Clara University. I never worked in college and, in fact, my dad was giving me a hefty monthly allowance, for as long as I can remember, even after college.

When I left for college in 1988, it was a reality blow. Growing up in a rich kid in Silicon Valley, I realized that not everyone was living as comfortably as I was.

People were talking about “debt” and having to “work” one or two jobs, while they were in school. I could not believe that people, in addition to studying for classes and preparing for exams, had to work too?! What kind of life was this!?

Flying Over San Francisco - Confessions From A Spoiled Rich Kid
Flying Over San Francisco For Fun

My parents were divorced by now. My dad was on his third major company that would add even more millions to his treasure chest. So I did what a rich spoiled college kid does when in college. . . .PARTY!!!

I made friends, joined a fraternity, flew around in my plane, drove around in my BMW, experimented with alcohol and drugs and really just had a blast. I got my BA in four years graduating with a 3.35. Not bad for a spoiled rich kid, huh?

Working On Life Instead Of On Work

My first two years out of college had nothing to do with working. In fact, I had never really planned to actually work. Instead, I lived in Lake Tahoe for a year in my parent's house, skiing and studying classical guitar. The second year I backpacked through Europe with a girlfriend.

I bet you're asking, “Your parents just let you do this?” and the answer is yes, I could pretty much do whatever I wanted. Maybe they didn't know any better or it was their way of showing me love. I really don't know. Anyway, at the time it was fine with me and yet, looking back, confusing as hell.

In 1994, after studying music in Tahoe and traveling, I moved into my dad's mansion in Los Gatos and started my MBA. I lived there, rent free, in the maid's quarters and was paid a fat allowance. I ended up living here for about five years, getting my MBA and eventually getting a job, through a friend of my Dad's, at a tech PR firm in Redwood City.

In 1995, I took control of my trust fund.  I had no idea what to do with the modest amount of money, as my only experience had been spending it!  Eventually, through the advice of another family member, I started investing in stocks like AOL, Dell and Microsoft.  

By April of 2000, five years later, the original amount had multiplied by almost 15 times! The technology bull run had made me a millionaire on paper! About a month later, that same family member told me the markets were getting sketchy and too volatile and advised me to sell.  

Sound familiar? I hesitated and eventually followed his advice and sold everything. I took some of the money and bought the condo I still own in San Francisco.

A year later the dot com crash happened and I was the only one my age I knew, other than my brother, with any money. I was thrilled, totally confused, and didn't know what to do with my life. But I fell into a bit of a depression. I was totally burned out.

As a result, I quit my PR job. Then I left my girlfriend and for the next couple years I was just hanging around SF going to therapy, reading self help books, practicing guitar, playing tennis, and spending time with my brother and his family.

I felt unworthy of the money and the extravagant lifestyle I had been living for the past several years.

How Life Is Going Now

Fast forward to today, and not that much has changed. I'm still bouncing around! I spent the rest of my thirties and early forties trying to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

I've been experimenting, working for a few years as a tennis instructor and musician for Club Med, almost four years as a live music venue owner in San Francisco, again in tech PR in in Los Angeles, and, most recently, as a restaurant owner in the Dominican Republic.

Would I have ended up like this if I had been raised differently with stricter parents? Probably not and, frankly, we'll never know, so who cares?! Today, I try to view work more as a form of play. Looking for things that are challenging and push me toward my higher self. Maybe it's been easier because there's always been money around. Maybe it's my personality. Probably a bit of both.

Even so, my forties have been a big slap in the face.

All of a sudden you're not really “young” anymore. You can still occasionally act like an idiot, even though people expect a certain level of maturity from you. This has been hard for me. My whole life, I've been able to do whatever I want. Turn on a dime and go in any direction. I'm still trying!

As of today, I'm living in Montreal with my lovely and loving girlfriend of three years, in the process of selling a Punta Cana condo I bought in early 2013, trying to sell a Punta Cana restaurant I bought in late 2013, looking for some kind of stable work, and choosing to have gratitude for how this crazy journey that keeps unfolding before me.

What keeps making me want to work, Sam asks? Why do I still have some ambition, even though I could probably get by, fairly comfortably, without ever having a job again?  

I'm not sure what it is. Sometimes I think I have too much energy for my own good and just like staying busy.  Maybe I'm trying to outdo my Dad?  

I've always seen my personal life and business as two sides of the same coin, so whatever I'm doing, if there's an opportunity to make a buck and secure my future that much more, why not?  It's also nice to know that I can leave some money and assets behind to the people and causes I love.

Lessons I've Learned About Money Growing Up As A Spoiled Rich Kid

1) Get therapy quick!

Seriously, if you're a narcissist, as I was and still am a bit, fix that as soon as possible. As soon as I “let go” and forgave my past, especially issues with my parents not being there as much as I would have liked them to be, opportunities stared knocking again.

If you're stuck in a “poor me” attitude, whether you're poor or a billionaire, you're going to be unhappy and unlucky. I went through a lot of therapy, read a lot of psychology and self help books and began writing daily in a journal. This has saved my life, for sure.

2) Spoil your kids with love, not money. 

I don't know if it was a generation thing or just my particular experience. For most of my life, I thought that money grew on trees and I could have as much as I wanted whenever I wanted. I had to read and learn so many things for myself.

Parents, please teach your kids the value of money and work and, please, place love and nurturing ahead of money. Lead by example by being loving and present with your kids. If you set aside a trust fund, make sure they don't get it until they are in their 30's or later. In fact, maybe skip the trust fund!

3) Take a break!

Burn out is normal and, if you don't take breaks, you will probably not succeed at anything. For some of us, a weekend is enough of a break. For me, sometimes I need a month or a year to let things sink in and start on a new path. Know yourself, your situation, and the amount of time you need before your next big burst of energy.

4) Continuously manage your relationships. 

Geez, this one is so cliche and so important. Money comes from people, not from some robot cash dispenser. If you have a network of people you trust and trust you and your skills, you will be OK. If you go at it alone for too long, you're going to be in trouble down the road.

I'm a bit in this situation right now, as I've moved around so much, it's been hard to nurture relationships, both professional and personal. So, please big shot VC … get back to me!

5) Try not to look back. 

You have to believe that there is exponentially more opportunity in the present moment than there ever has been in your past. Even those big moments you think you missed. . that's your mind playing tricks on you. Your past, like the present, really is an illusion.

Even this post, it's based on images from my past that I'm choosing to remember and write about. Take a snap shot of your financial situation right now and see if you can make some decisions without letting the past OR the future blind you. I struggle with this every day.

Sam wrote a great post making the case how wealthy parents shouldn't worry about spoiling their adult children. The reason why is because because by the time wealthy parents start their decumulation phase, their adult children will already be set in their ways. It makes sense to me!

6) Be OK with starting over. 

Could I have had done better financially considering my background, early start and education? Hell yes! You can always have done better. That kind of thinking is a waste of time and energy. There's always a chance to start again. Remember, the present moment is always 100% pure potential and you can make a decision at any moment that can turn your world around.

Related: How To Accept Help From Your Parents Without Feeling Like A Deadbeat Loser

My Thoughts On Being A Spoiled Rich Kid

I want to thank Marcos for sharing his thoughts on growing up as a spoiled rich kid. This post was originally published in 2014, three years before my first kid was born.

As a father of two children today, I certainly do not want to spoil my kids. I want to teach them about the value of money, hard work, and developing a strong work ethic. It may be better to raise our children in discomfort than in an environment of luxury.

I see my neighbor's kids all living at home with them as 30-40 year old adults. It's really sad. The reason why they are still living at home is because their parents gave them everything growing up! We parents need to educate our children about the importance of work, saving, and investing at a young age. Then we've got to demonstrate what we preach.

Be Careful Giving Our Kids Everything

When you have everything as a kid, your motivation naturally wanes. It's worth trying to make your kids millionaire by 20, provided they work for their money.

During their time working, it's great to teach your kids about investing and compound returns. The last thing I want to do is just give my kids money!

I promise I will always work hard and practice what I preach. As a result, my children will see that despite our wealth, dad and mom still work hard every day.

We will travel to other countries to see how other people live. I will teach my children Mandarin and Japanese to provide new perspectives. And I'll make them do manual labor, like landscaping a rental property so they can appreciate the value of hard work.

At the end of the day, I just want my kids to find purpose, love, and happiness.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Confessions of a spoiled rich kid is a FS original post.

Recommendation To Build & Maintain Wealth

You might not be as rich as Samurai Marco, but you can take action to build and maintain wealth.

The best way to become financially independent and protect yourself is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Empower. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize.

Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts to manage my finances. Now, I can just log into Empower to see how my stock accounts are doing and how my net worth is progressing.

The best tool is their Portfolio Fee Analyzer which runs your investment portfolio through its software to see what you are paying. I found out I was paying $1,700 a year in portfolio fees! There is no better financial tool online that has helped me more to achieve financial freedom.

The best thing you can do as a rich kid is to get rich yourself. Save aggressively, invest wisely, work on side hustles, land a great job, and build as much passive income as possible.

178 thoughts on “Confessions From A Spoiled Rich Kid”


  2. My genuine earnest advice is, if this is a problem you have, get rid of all your money, pay off other people’s medical bills, donate it to charity, pay for people who are escaping abusive families whatever works. Sell all your houses bar the one you want to live in. Then actually work to earn your keep. The problem the author here and others have is that even if you like the job you find there’s no drive to do it outside of it being a hobby functionally. But if you have a reason to do it (putting food on the table) you may finally find reason and purpose in what you do.

  3. Don’t bother posting this kind of article in the future. The guy is still out of touch with reality.

    My reality is more real than his reality. Please only post realities that make sense to me.

    I’m not looking to understand different perspectives.

    1. Ummm … his reality is just as real to him as your reality is to you. If you are not looking to understand different perspectives, why are you reading this blog? If you only want to read about realities that make sense to you go write your own blog.

    2. The only good thing about this article is knowing the author is getting therapy just to learn how to be less obnoxious and out of touch with reality.

      It makes me upset that other people
      have it better than me!

  4. Unassociated Mind

    I grew up a poor kid. Im speaking to everyone here who arent rich when I say, dont take it so seriously when a rich inheritant says they had it hard in life. Maybe to them it was. To us it would be a breeze in the park. Dont take it to heart. And to the others who grew up on a silver platter, dont say that things are so easy because you dont know half of the truth of what a struggle truely is. We all come from different backgrounds. Life sucks sometimes. Lets have some humility here. So what you grew up rich. Good for you pat yourself on the back. But we cant blame them for being borned into it. Poor kids, Shit, we were born into a messed up life. Sucks but hey we know what it is to have nothing so make something out of it. We cant choose what were born into trust me I know. But we can always make whats best out of it. It took me a long time to make some kind of money the right way but even if the figures i make is considered laughable to the rich, to me ive made it. So to everyone, dont degrade the other side. Just silver platters, dont go around saying you know the hard life when you have a wad of cash and us poor folk, dont throw anger at people who dont understand the struggle. Just ignore it.

  5. Dear spoil rich person,
    I am in debt almost $70,000 because my very smart son wanted to go to USC coz he thought it was going to be the best university he could go, he was at the magnet high school next to usc, and the magnet people washed his brain. By now we should be at least paid on all his loans, but that is not possible, because of the circumstances of the times. The most disheartening thing is that he has not been able to get a job with his computer degree because some of your comrades where bought ahead and they were hired because their fathers and mothers knew the people in the industry, and some of the mother divorce those fathers and married these other guys. Is a culture of vultures that can only exist on they’re on realm not realizing they need everybody around them to co-exist in the real world. I can only tell you that one of these days some people will get tired and you and your family will have what you truly deserve.
    And by the way, if only the rich people will donate their inheritance tax money, there would not be a single poor people in the greatest country of the world which is the uSa!

        1. Didn’t realize he was brainwashed. Apologies as English is my second language.

          Perhaps share something about yourself? Did you grow up a rich kid as well? Do you have kids?

          I’m just trying to do my best as a father to be aware of things for my children.

    1. When my youngest son told me he wanted to go to college at MIT, I told him, “Well, you’d better get a scholarship then because there’s NO WAY we can afford to send you to MIT!”.

      I suppose we could have figured something out; I think the real reason I told him that was because I didn’t want him moving to the opposite side of the country to go to school and then perhaps ending up living that far away. I think I did mention something about CalTech, but at the time he had his heart set on MIT.

      The point is sometimes parents have to tell their children “No”, and hold the line on that no.

  6. Dear Rich Kid reading this,

    From the bottom of my heart, you are trash! You guys can write about your experiences and how you became “self made” millionaires after inheriting trust funds, but it’s a weak attempt to simply build your egos. You privileged shits of the Bay Area will most likely never realize how blessed you are, and that is your curse to break for the rest of your lives. Good luck and hope you don’t end up in hell!

    – Former Rich Kid

    I used to have it all, and I lost everything. I hate my life and I hate anybody who has more than me.

  7. Rich Stanford

    I’m not sure when you posted this, most responses seem to be from 2014 or lesser, but here I am a drunk rich kid whos just turned 21 and google searched about rich kids experiences because I myself am so damn miserable. Here I am living in an exclusive neighborhood where we own not only our personal four million dollar home but multiple estates as small rental property income as well (100k)+ but still unhappy. at 18 my first car was a range rover sport. We live next to celebrities, the people that some would kill to get a picture with are my daily encounters. I don’t care. i live in a house where our $40,000 property taxes per year arent nearly as much as our yearly dues as golf members. My parents like the author of this article enable this type of behavior. I club whenever i want, have a limitless amex card, and pick up the hottest milfs because of it. IM 21. and im miserable. These things arent what make you happy. I know what will, i just lack it. Sincerely, drunk rich kid whos dad sold a company for 9 figures. It might be 2020 but still keeping it real. Most reading your post are poor and envious. I feel your situation.

    1. The older you get and the more you contribute to society, the happier you’ll become. There is nothing more gratifying than creating something of your own. At only 21, your life is just beginning!

      If you want perspective, fly to India and live there for a month. I’m sure you will appreciate more of what you have.


      1. Don’t go to India. Go to the other side of the tracks for a year, rent a modest apartment, and work a real job, and learn to actually be good at it. You have no character unless you can do that(Hint: most rich kids won’t make it 2 weeks, they can’t actually handle a level playing field in life, or being FORCED to do something they consider “menial” for 7 hours in a shift on their feet).

        Be a laborer on a job site or a waiter, and show up via public transit or a crappy beater. Don’t talk about yourself or your family unless you are talking real talk. Get to know your co-workers and earn their respect.

        The actual achievement most rich kids can’t claim is to have made friends or earned respect from folks who will never see more than a paycheck to paycheck existence, or maybe a modest 401k match, or a pat on the back for being the best dishwasher or fork lift driver at their store.

        1. This is the most sensible advice I’ve read in a long time! Sometimes I think FS is really out of touch. You don’t need to go to India. Has he been to downtown LA? Or downtown SF for that matter?

          1. Why is going to downtown SF “better” than going to India to be more in touch?

            What is your reality that makes yours better than mine and others? I don’t get it.

            I see thousands of perspectives on Financial Samurai every year due to the thousands of comments left on the thousands of posts on this site.

            My goal is to increase the perspectives of everyone.

    2. I can probably help out. I’m a 29 year old educator, not as similar of a childhood, but also similar economic background and knowing a lot of people like that. I would recommend working with people in a safe, normal environment to give you perspective.

      1. anne Lallerstedt

        MY life wasn’t garbage but most of the people in it were. Had alot of fun, raised great kids,but it all kind of fell apart. I had two strokes so I’m a bit of a mess right but I think I’m always living off the little things that make me happy. Ioffered my rebellious family a way out of their money issues but not one will accept. I wouldn’t like to die with everyone messing up in life, how can I get family to participate? One daughter is back home with a dead beat boy friend and baby we support. Husband is nightmare of a human. I have a very doable program but they are scared and frozen comes across as pig headed always? I don’t want them to have to suffer like I did it makes life so hard.

      2. I laugh at these people who are rich and claim there life is so hard id kill to have what u have and id use it for a better purpose. I would buy poor pple houses and get them jobs and more . the rich will never understand what its like to be poor or struggle hell im 26 no car live with roomates only have 12k saved and that has to go to trade school and a car trade school cost 12k and my job is 6miles away so i gotta catch the bus always to get to and from places how about helping pple why does no one think of that when there rich go to some walmart offer to buy 10 pple there groceries each day i mean shii wouldnt hurt your a millionaire i just wanna be able to travel own a car and own my house and have a fun life but sadly that will never happen i will die before it happens i really hope stock market crashes and millions of rich pple end up homeless and broke. See when rich fall they dont know what to do but the poor do

    3. Hey Rich Stanford Kid,
      Im sorry to hear your situation. I hope your doin better now and if not I’ll say a little prayer for you. I myself can’t say I can relate I come from humbling roots But at the end of the day we are all human beings that have emotions. I agree with you that there’s a lot hate that comes from people who don’t have the same lifestyle as you. Anyway, your post touched me and I assume your a strong person so stay positive don’t give up…..FYI I googled why rich people boast about not ‘workin’ I work for a rich family and the husband started saying rich families like his don’t work so I was like confused when he said that. But, the more I started reading this for some reason gave me hope and assurance that we are all just humans in different situations.

      From a humble Latinx

  8. Andrew Carnegie made it clear to his wife and daughter that he would NOT leave them his fortune. The prenup stated that she’d get their two homes, an endowment, and nothing more. The bulk of his money was going to his libraries, universities, and museums. Today, his descendants all have well-paid jobs.
    Now look at the John Paul Getty clan. His descendants are drug users, wastrels, playboys, and layabouts. Even the Kennedy’s didn’t do as well as they claim. The British nobility are also full of drug addicts and bums. When the money runs out (and it always runs out) all they have left are their lovely manners.

    1. This guy is in hs forties and sounds still so seriously out of touch with reality. Casually mentioning taking months or years vacation like normal human beings can relate to that.

      1. Wow what a spoiled brat. Mommy and daddy will give him everything and never understand the value of hard work people like him should leave if you do not work and get everything handed to you leave America does not need spoiled brats like you we need hard working Americans. Not rich bratty kids that end up ruining the lives of good hard working Americans. I hate rich kids not out of jealousy but our of the lives of millions of Americans who have their lives ruined because of them. People like them are better of killing themselves no one will miss them.

      2. Not to mention with all the time off and vacations how did he get burnt out? Wish we all had trust funds and family friends in high places that knew what tech stocks would do before it happened.

  9. Jealous and I’m sorry

    I found this article by searching “I hate rich kids” on google. A person like me, who has not had much love from my parent, since they neglected me and left me with no money, since they had none, feels envious. I am working, going to school and all the motions of a normal human just so that I can afford a house, or a trip to Italy one day. I am also happy for you, and it’s nice that people do get to live lives like this, and manage to help others. Congratulations. But it’s upsetting at the same time. I know that I shouldn’t derive my happiness from money, but it’s hard not to. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. By destroying the lives of real hard working Americans doubt it i hope someone finds him dead in a ditch somewhere spoiled entitled rich kids leave our country we do not like you. Good move to Italy we have no love for spoiled brats here that have everything handed to them. All that crap claiming you gone to school and work is a lode of crap you just got all your money from mommy and daddy and never worked hard in your entire life like all rich people. I hate all you rich spoiled people not out of jealousy but the countless lives you ruined because you too selfish to help the poor who work their butt off so you fat cows can get rich.

  10. You are 43 yrs lived 15956 days.

    In the remaining days learn know feel live who is really Jesus and as he promised the Helper

    Get married and have kids..

  11. Judy Hawkins

    I think spoiling a child, whether it is on the grand scale he related, or even a modest one is extremely harmful to them. How can you properly relate to a world in which most people are working very hard to have a decent existence? How can you feel pride in yourself if you have zero to strive for? I grew up in a (barely) middle class new suburb in the ’60s/’70s. I became passionate about motorcycles @ age 7. Drooling over the primitive minibikes in the Sears Catalog, it took ’til the age of 10 to realize my parents would NEVER buy me such an extravagant gift, even if they could afford it. You had to work hard for stuff! At age 11, I picked strawberries and did yard work in summer. I babysat year ’round, @ $0.50 an hour. I saved for 4 years, and when I was 15 I bought a brand new, full size street legal 100cc dirt bike. The pride and satisfaction of accomplishing that goal did a large part in what modest success I’ve had in life. I’m forever grateful for the work ethic they instilled in me.

  12. Heyy, Marco
    I know this post has been up here for quite a while but I’m really hoping you get to see my comment.
    I read your post through and through and honestly it touched me a whole lot. The things you experienced while growing up are the stuff I see on TV or in movies.
    I’m an African, a Nigerian to be precise. An average family’s life here is hard to say the least. Growing up in such a family with 3 younger ones to cater for is no joke.
    I always wanted to be a writer. Words were my escape. I loved how things came to life on paper with several ideas bursting in my head.
    I had to drop that career line though because my parents felt it wouldn’t pay enough to support me.
    But considering my country’s economy, it’s kinda true. I’m 18 years old girl and in my second year in college. I’m about to get a BSC in computer science.
    I love the course too and I’m really good at programming and coding. But funds to support me through school are gradually running out and I don’t know what to do.
    Part time jobs are really hard to get here and it’s been really difficult with my younger ones to cater for too.
    Please it would be really helpful if you could reach out to help.
    I’d be really grateful.

  13. Reminds me of my own life. Resonates so much with me. I am so tired of hearing about how people go from rags to riches, how people tell me I am lucky and life could have been so tough if I didn’t have rich parents. But only few people really talk about the difficulties of being a second generation wealthy kid. We never experience hardships and that makes us soft. We screw up, go crazy, create our own problems which can’t be solved n are mostly in our own heads, cos we don’t have actual problems like the so called less fortunate people have. And we feel guilty that we don’t deserve ant of that and that makes us act more spoilt cos we worry we might one day lose all we got, which we will cos we are soft n not so smart with money. We just inherit loads of it, but not the knowledge n experience to manage it.

    1. Richard Pound

      I am in a similar position, I just try to see it as God (whether or not you believe in god, call it reality) gave you wealth for a reason, you are not meant to hoard it or squander it, you are meant to use it to help the less fortunate.
      You need to become financially independent and then use your advantage to help mankind.

  14. Ok,
    Here is a different slant, I grew up in a big family in Ohio, I got into sales and have moved up quickly in the Auto industry, I have worked miracles as a CEO of large groups, I have always been principally guided, and have still not come close to wealth.

    My Integrity has always been my guide, and I have taught my children this. I always look for the good and believe there is greatness in everyone of us, I have watched people who I believe aren’t as passionate or honest become rich, yet I still struggle, I have a deep faith in god Ibelive we all have a responsibility to leave this life making this a better place, etc…

    Any help or advice would be welcome..

    1. Hi Dave – Money is a certain type of energy and, like people who have similar energy, it flows to where it feels the most comfortable. Put yourself in money’s shoes and ask if money finds you attractive. Do you find money attractive? I see money a bit like a girl who likes bad boys. You gotta get her attention and keep it! Integrity and discipline, which sounds like you have that covered, are awesome and definitely play a role. I suggest letting go of this idea of others being less or more passionate and honest and, as a result, more or less deserving of money than someone else. That’s one of the oldest tricks in our capitalist society for keeping the victim-minded person angry and out of the money flow. Look into tapping into the darker side of money, in the form of creativity, playfulness and more self-confidence.

  15. Agreed. The goal is to guide your kids. And allow them to change course and have as much flexibility as possible to try new things and stay DRUG-FREE. If they want to go off and do crazy things that’s fine too! :) Life is a journey and a learning experience for all of us!

  16. Misterquestions

    Thank you for this article, and for one of the most intriguing comment threads I’ve seen lately. May I pose a question to the comments section?

    The question is about a contradiction I noticed in the unfavorable comments, the ones that raged against the unfair privileges of a wealthy upbringing compared with the sufferings of those who have nothing. I’m not going to dispute that premise; its truth is obvious. However, it seemed that the rage-commenters were angry with Marco for two specific things:

    1. Not working at paying jobs, whereas poor people need to work even if they hate it
    2. Working at paying jobs, thus taking them away from poor people could really use them

    My question: if Marco is to be hated for not working, and also to be hated for working, what is he supposed to do? Is there anything he can do that will satisfy the rage-posters?

    And on a related subject, what about philanthropy? If Marco gives money to people and/or causes, is he being a gracious benefactor, or an arrogant meddling plutocrat? Both? Neither?

    I think at bottom, Marco himself is asking the same question. To quote his reply to one poster above: what would you have him do?

    There are rich people born one inch from the finish line, and poor people whose struggles and sufferings are doomed and hopeless because of their poverty, and that sucks. It seems clear therefore that the Marcos of the world are the ones with the most agency, so they’re the obvious candidates to do something about it. But what? Going by this comment section, no matter what Marco does, it’s going to be the wrong thing. But there also seems to be a lot of anger because he hasn’t done… something. It’s not clear what.

    So that’s my question. What is Marco to do?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

    1. Hi thanks for your insightful perspective on the comments. I’ve decided it’s clear what I am to do: CELEBRATE LIFE by PLAYING, creating, LOVING GOD, being joyful, here, NOW, always.

      Rich, poor and in-between, we all have our own individual experiences and we all want to live a life that we can ENJOY and be PROUD of. I do this by praying and loving god, teaching tennis, spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, meeting people, reading, writing, meditating, piloting, journaling and writing and playing live music. I love my life and it’s all because I choose to do, think, feel and be around things I love. Life is 100% what YOU make it. Peace.

  17. I recently stumbled across this article, and I must admit I can somewhat relate. I was raised in a wealthy family, with loving parents. Despite this, I lived a relatively normal life. I wasn’t overly spoiled, went to public school, volunteered frequently, and started earning my own money at 10 years old. I was taught the value of money and relationships.

    As minimal and trivial as OP’s story may seem to people who have less, I don’t think feelings should be invalidated due to wealth most of the time (unless your problems are how you can’t get the Rolls Royce you wanted.) There are generous and nice rich people who are told they can’t feel depressed/lonely because they have money. That’s like me telling other posters on this site, ‘Stop complaining about how you struggle to get a job and provide for your family! There are poor people who literally have nothing!’ Everyone has feelings.

    Wealth is relative. There will be rich and poor people. Some people will be born into money, others will have to work for it. You can scrutinize others for wasting opportunity, but that’s their life to live, not yours. Meanwhile, focus on living your own life to the maximum. Complaining about their lives won’t change your situation, nor will it change theirs.

    I was lucky, being given the opportunities I had. I am very thankful as well. I’m independent now and living a modest, average lifestyle. I wish OP and everyone else the best of luck.

  18. I can somehow relate to this, cause I come from wealthy family too (multi millionaire level though, not some crazy wealth like OP, but they really spoil us with love and opportunities)

    I often lack a sense of purpose though. I love to work not because of noble reasons such as good work ethic, ensuring my future, making something out of myself in this world etc, but because it feels much better and keep me busy compared to playing around aimlessly, if that adds money and security I consider it an extra bonus

    I often don’t do everything to my best ability because I know that my parents can help and bail me out anytime, I’m still working on those though

    I sympathize with OP because rich people have problems too, I can understand if people hate the douchebag kind rich, but decent rich people are often lonely, being too hard on themselves, miserable cause lack of people to relate to, and doesn’t trust people much cause of circumstances

    I’ve seen it enough to the point that I never jealous of those with better “toys” (house, cars, yacht, boat, women etc, you name it), and I often sympathize them to use money as escapism (many rich people do and buy ridiculous things because of hobbies, social status, boredom, or loneliness too. I seriously sympathize those who do it for boredom and loneliness)

    Sure the rich are often the employer and gains the most profit, but if you aren’t the douchebag kind, ensuring that the business keeps running while our employee can make a decent living is a fucking headache too

  19. Hi Marco, thank you for a great post.

    I am a certified teacher who gives private lessons to spoiled rich kids.

    I’m getting concerned with their lack of motivation, and worry for their future.

    If you are still checking these messages, and don’t mind me picking your brain, please send me an email at silk2818@gmaildotcom.

    Thank you.

  20. That was an interesting read.

    I think all of us, at the end of the day, rich or poor, feel this need to have a purpose to give meaning to everything. The rich may be distracted by the baubles of their wealth, the poor distracted by the daily struggle to get by– however, if lucky enough, there would be that moment of silence and clarity in our mind where we begin to ask what the hell all this is for and where is this headed, the big picture. Honestly, to be visited by that momentary epiphany is a blessing, privilege and burden rolled into one.

    You’re lucky in the sense that you have the tools to help you get to where you think you should head, and with the level-headedness and self-awareness you obviously already possess, I’ve no doubt you will find what you are looking for. It is more frustrating the other way around, to not have the tools to achieve your goal, no matter how altruistic… very, very frustrating to have to search for people who may want to support it. I regret not giving importance to financial security, essentially for being naive about how it will allow follow once you figure out your “mission”.

    I actually came across this blog and your blog post while randomly surfing after being shown an Instagram account called Rich Kids of Russia and, I believe there are other incarnates of that (pick a nationality). One can only hope those kids manage to walk the similar awareness journey you’re on, for their own sake.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing your story.

  21. Matt Powell

    You know, just because you’re not rich doesn’t mean you can’t look rich. For example, if you want a shiny new BMW X5, why not just buy a used one a few years old? If it’s it great shape most people will think it’s new anyway! The link is a couple examples that I am already considering and so should you if you are on a budget but feel the need to impress.

    1. You know, just because you’re not rich doesn’t mean you can’t look rich.

      Those people are the worst.

      For example, if you want a shiny new BMW X5, why not just buy a used one a few years old?

      Because maintenance on those things is horrific-poorly made, and really expensive parts.

  22. This was such a great article describing the difference between the social classes being 22 I am just graduating college and love using these sites to focus on building wealth for my future never getting married want to travel the world.Hey Marco I know this article is old but I am writing a paper I would love some insight on how school as for you I am writing about cost of education over the years and how it changes from different classes of people let me know if you see this thanks have a great day.

  23. Hey there – Thank you for the comment. May I kindly revise one of your quotes below?


    “When it comes to Business and even life in certain regards, DONT EVER TRUST PEOPLE like the OP (original poster), I wouldn’t take anything this guy says seriously and I mean that 100%, just ignore them they don’t count and don’t *ever* feel bad for them.”


    “When it comes to Business and even life in certain regards, CONSIDER TRUSTING PEOPLE like the OP, I would seriously focus on the positive lessons in anyone’s experience and I mean that 100%, just enjoy their unique perspective, they count just like anyone else and, what the heck, wish them the best!”

    Wishing you all the best :)

  24. Daddy issues. that’s what it really comes down to no amount of money can replace a father’s presence in his children’s lives and the necessary development that happens Marco sounds like he has daddy issues like he is spending his life trying to find himself and spoil himself because he feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere and it feels negative everywhere this is pretty common with people grew up without a father present every day happen to me too

    1. Daddy issues, probably true in some ways. Hard to say exactly why anyone turns out the way they do with so many genetic and environmental factors. We’re constantly changing and I already feel a lot different today than the person I was when I wrote that article.

  25. Pingback: Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working Minimum Wage Jobs | Financial Samurai

  26. wow-
    as a child of a single working parent with multiple siblings, I left home at 17 and when I could I became a medic with the Marines and went to Iraq in 2005 and 2006, seeing young poor kids like me getting killed for a rich mans war.
    When I got out I went back to farming and then worked every winter as a mountain guide in Colorado.
    My time in the service put me through college and I actually gave a shit so I got a good job when I got out and now I’m putting together my own business and making more money than I thought I would.

    You’re story is disgusting. Your lesson is ‘don’t look back’? You need to look back, you need to realize regret. With what you’ve been given you could have really had an effect on the world.

    What a worthless life- I feel completely justified judging you. Not that you just wasted all that money, but that you made the excuse to actually do nothing with your life for other people, you never challenged yourself- your biggest priority was always your immediate happiness, i.e. pilots license, constant vacation, etc.

    I hope you’re not actually proud of anything you’ve accomplished. The only way you’ve grown up is that you’re parents don’t wipe your butt anymore, other than that you seem to have the maturity of a 5 year old. “I want it now!”

    Modest trustfund? you’re a joke. quit the therapy, give away 98% of your money to a well researched charity, and get a real frigging job kid.

    1. Hmm, I’d what to get from this being a veteran on the the poorer side of the spectrum.
      Seems like you earned multiple degrees without any remorse or thought of maybe it’s not the right career path for yourself, for the only reason that you could just do it.
      I don’t know how that feels seeing as I could not pay for education until I resigned from the military and to which I only have 3years worth of education.
      Then you tell how you have an emptiness because you feel you should be doing more with your life. But this is not just something that rich spoiled kids or adults have. It is something that sums up everyone.
      On the bright side you have been able to live off your parents and travel or obtain expensive licenses or activities plus a trust fund.
      I had to buy my first car which I still have, didn’t know what a trust fund was until I was 21.
      You were able work all different kinds of jobs even though you did not need to work, it’s comembral to a certain degree for yourself…
      But you probably prevented others from a Carreer they actually needed.
      Ive been out of the military for a year now and still am having a tough time finding a stable job to where I can take care of my family.
      And still continue education without using loans.
      Ya your life was tough… not really if at all.
      And who gets to take a month a year off from everything? I agree with breaks but come on. People have bills. The everyday person can not just work for amusement, but because they have to.
      Did you even know there is something as sad as the working poor. People who work jobs who can’t make enough money to get out of debt or feed themselves.
      Should have something on this article before reading it that says if your from the .1% of wealthy people in the world read this.

    2. Hi Seechat – Thanks for the comment. You say my story is disgusting and I respect your opinion. Anyone will read any story and have different opinions based on their own experience and background. In my case, your experience and background qualifies me as “disgusting.” I find that interesting, as many people also found my story “inspiring.” To me, my story is neither disgusting or inspiring. It’s just a story. A recollection of my past and if I were to tell it again today, I’m sure it would be different than the post I wrote about a year ago. Yes, I’ve lived a strange, unconventional and perhaps “disgusting” life and, like anyone, I’ve done the best I can with the cards I got dealt. For me, focusing on enjoying myself and having as many experiences as possible was, and in many ways still is, my way of making sense of the world.

      You’re from a military background which honors duty, responsibility, rules, loyalty and working hard and I respect that. Probably could have used more of that growing up. Those of you who say I wasted some of my potential and some money are absolutely right, I did. My question is What would you have me do? Curl up in a corner, loathing myself and living in constant regret of my past? I too am living my life, changing, growing and expanding my possibilities. I didn’t write this for the .1% or the 99%. I wrote this because I like to write and share my thoughts and experiences with the world. Is there something wrong with that? Believe me, there are weirder more “disgusting” stories out there than mine. One of my values is to accept other people, even when they are different from me, physically, sexually, culturally and financially. To feel justified judging anyone for anything seems a very dangerous place to be in your heart. I wish you the best.

      1. Dear Marco, I am so very grateful for your gift of writing. Like your parents, though not divorced, we chose to raise our children in a similar way. Actually there are so many children of the Baby Boomer Gen who have. Our adult children have struggled, blame us at times but also now in their 30’s (still struggling but growing like you) see how fortunate they are. Like you they have kind hearts, live life in a bit of confusion and have made their mistakes. You have many talents and experiences but best of all you are kind and loving. This is probably what your parents wanted. You are correct, you are a Writer! Sensitive, gentle and a person who sees the good in the world you have messages to tell. The best things have nothing to do with money but with purpose and passion! Be kind to yourself, be grateful and be still. It’s all going to be fine. This is life, embrace it all! You are a wonderful person! Hang in! Good Luck!

        1. Hey I’m so glad you wrote this! It gets pretty lonely when someone grows up the way you did, like myself, and not really have any support or guidance..mainly because few can relate.

          1. Thanks Alicia. Sounds like you grew up around money as well. What was your experience like? What are you doing these days?

      2. First off, a 3.35 in sociology is not very good. It is very, very substandard. The only 3.35 in college that is acceptable is in an engineering major.

        Your school was ok but considering your advantages in life also very disappointing.

        I concur with the previous poster; you’ve really not amounted to much of anything. Alcohol, drug use, and partying in college…right. What about volunteering at the soup kitchen, doing research, or inventing things?

        Of course I’m just a dumb kid that went to a much higher ranked school than you, being raised without a parent due to death, another sibling lost due to traumatic circumstances, got a 4.0 (barely) at a top HS, became a physician, never used drugs or alcohol, and bring honor to my family.

        1. HonestJerk – I seriously doubt that you are a dumb kid. Sounds like you went through a lot of challenges and pain growing up and have some repressed anger you need to let go. I wish you the best.

  27. Yerdanos Asmelash

    Hey Marco,

    Your post is surprisingly interesting, just because we are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum. I often try to understand the point of views a lot of people similar to you have because they are intriguing.

    Let me tell you a bit about myself:

    Despite the fact that I came from a low-income home, eating ramen noodles and drinking tap water,

    I am in college now. and thankfully, I am pretty caught up… I’m working my ass off to become a doctor…caring and serving others is my dream…the sense of happiness I got from encouraging an illiterate patient to learn how to use the computer to go for that desk job she always dreamed of…to making fun of myself to a visitor of how embarrassing it is that I kept getting lost when directing him to his daughter that just got out of surgery, just to relieve his stress (his daughter was beaten) is what I strive to do through medicine.

    but it seems that all odds are against me to make it happen. I’m not even sure I can even imagine some of the luxuries you described in your post if they are not similar to what I see on television. Flying to Italy is a dream I will soon make happen while on a studying abroad opportunity that I am working on funding. :)

    What led me to this post was actually an encounter I had as a new volunteer at a local hospital this morning.

    I frequently got asked why I was volunteering and if it was for a credit. A lot of the volunteers are old with nothing to do – so they like to volunteer and all. But surprisingly I met a young boy my age who was also working to be a doctor. He had similar experiences as you (I wouldn’t say to your extent but you get the point..). Just by conversation I can tell everything came easy for him. His grandmother looks for and applies for all of his scholarships to pay off his tuition while he gives her essays he’d like her to include, his mother owns a huge company that refurbishes/renovates buildings, his uncle is the chief of surgery at a hospital I one day dream of working at, and so on… This blew my mind because I search 2+ hours a day and come up with nothing for scholarships to ensure my place to live and food to eat, my family is poor so it’s extremely hard for me to network (I have to pretty much chase down every employer for an opportunity hahaha), and not to mention, I’m crazy in debt already…

    You can imagine all he really has left to do though is study and apply to medical school. Which is a bit aggravating but…

    The worst part is that he is the most non genuine person I’ve ever met as far as caring about the needs of others…which is contradicting to the profession he wants. But one thing is for sure-he will definitely reach his goals…But it hurts to think about my passion of relieving the pain of others may not be fulfilled through the practice of medicine, just because I am poor with many obstacles to face, despite my amazing ability to think.

    I appreciate being able to read your confessions, it was really insightful and I wish more people rose and spoke up about their life styles. I can imagine you may have received hate from those who aren’t so lucky with money but I’ve wanted to learn more through actual contact with those like you. There’s a free flowing, positive, life-loving nature that I appreciate within people of higher classes. Most of all, I’ve always wanted a mentor of higher class…I feel like you are one of many who’s side I have yet to learn from. :)

    if you ever want something to do, give back, not through charities, but through one on one relationships.. The feeling of gratitude a person feels when receiving opportunity because of you will damn near make you cry. & That might be where your passion lies.

    -Signed, Yerdanos, 20 yrs old.

    I’m sorry this was so long, but hopefully it was an interesting read!

      1. Hi Yerdanos – Thank you for reaching out. Your post was very inspiring. Do you have an email I can reach you at?


  28. Wow…That was a DEEP story. Thanks for sharing. I actually found this site because I wanted to search for elite kids of San Francisco and maybe find things in the City that I would be able to have my kids experience. It’s really rare to be brought up in such luxury.

    I had my time in my early 20s when I felt I had so much money, I just didn’t know what to do with it. I treated friends out, parents out, Myself out, bought all the material things I wanted and gave to my parents as well but still felt a sense of emptiness…

    Later, I lost it ALL…and I really just took it all for granted.

    Fast Forward…I started over again and started saving money…I felt I was doing everything right—-volunteering, had a great steady job, started traveling, basically what I thought was success…Modesty aside, It also was not hard for me to get dates.

    I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or why I was feeling empty STILL…

    This may sound so CLICHE….So I did something that I would have not thought I’d do….’

    I PRAYED for God to come into my life and mind you—I usually base everything on logic and science…But I decided one day, Let me dedicate myself and read the bible just for a month (just myself in the privacy of my own room) and in return maybe I’ll find what it is that every God believing person seemed to find—Happiness.

    I KID YOU NOT….In one month—So much has happened that changed my life in positive ways…I was also and still am a reader of inspirational and self help books, but nothing has changed my life until God came into it.

    Maybe the same can be done for you.

  29. I’m 25 and in a similar boat…wealthy but can’t keep a long-term project. A lot of bouncing around could reflect borderline ADHD. Since your dad was a serial entrepreneur, you may have inherited this ADHD trait. Google “Explorer’s gene.” Essentially our brains have to move on to something new (innovation) or else we get bored. The downside is we can’t hold down one project. I have found satisfaction in becoming a full-time investor…love to find new companies to invest in. Finally, you need to find your natural talents at an organization like JOCRF. If you use all your natural-born talents, you are more likely to enjoy whatever project you partake.

    1. Hi Jay – thanks for the comment. I agree with you that it’s all about finding and using our natural born talents. I like to call these our “gifts” and we all have them. It’s part of being human. Lately, I’ve been exploring my gifts via a life coach and I’m discovering some amazing things. My calling is to be open and free and to share my creativity with the world. You’re right about my “explorer” tendencies, as that theme continuously comes up as well. Good for you that you’ve found your calling through investing. Any hot tips!? I have a company I’m preparing to present to the angel community. Let me know if you’re interested. Sam, you too!

  30. Hey Samurai Marco,

    I think I can help you find answers about life. Also I got questions for you about culture.
    hit me up. Like most people said above, nice post. I agree burn outs are normal, people need to know this. Also, as an adult having to limit our silly you can be can be a bit annoying, but its needed to properly parent children and conduct business.

    1. correction: “Also, as an adult having to limit our silliness can be a bit annoying, but its need to properly parent children and conduct business.”

    2. I love this idea that ‘burn-outs are acceptable’- this is of course unless you are in the majority of the population that can’t burn out for a week at a time and take off work- or if you are the single mom who’s worked her way up at 7-11 and after 15 years she’s managing the store for $15 an hour- when she burns out rent doesn’t get paid.

      I suppose this advice is only for rich people, specifically those born rich. I’ve known a few self made millionaires, they were born poor and they have all worked harder than anyone in the company, even though they’ve owned it

      maybe this should be more clear that the article focuses on advice for the .01% of the population born into enough wealth to live forever as ten year-olds? Congrats- you started a restaurant! that’s a lot like a lemonade stand, right?

  31. Hi thanks for the comment. How do you think your life would have been different if you had grown up with a lot of money around you?

  32. I grew up in a home which struggled a lot financially. I would give anything to have been born rich. You’re very lucky.

  33. Wow, you nerds think 45,000 yearly income is chump change huh? Whoa, stop the presses. I’m over 50, worked my entire life BY CHOICE, had many good careers in different areas and loved every job I ever had. I never made over 100,000 annual income, but I had something money can’t buy, true friends, a supportive and loving family, true happiness and faith and I’ve always loved people and life and always will. Here’s the deal kiddies, one can and does live WELL on 45,000 annual income, you just gotta do it right. Oh and please remember in the 21st century, we don’t all need huge homes either. Big spaces are not where its at, it’s being HAPPY with the space you have and making the most of it. Peace out people. Universal love for our planet and all the life on it is where it’s at -go EARN that with money, but that’s not how that works either. Money is superficial and so are many of you. I feel sorry for some of you people too. Get your head and your spirituality in check before you leave this world.

    1. Don’t think wanting to earn more is a bad thing.

      If you have a choice, why not shoot for a higher income than a lower income?

      I’ve found only the poor or super rich say money doesn’t buy happiness. Funny isn’t it?

      1. If I had a choice (which I do), I’d shoot for more personal/professional satisfaction rather than focussing on the income (assuming I have the essentials covered – being from the south west of England, I could easily live well on £1500/mo, not just covering the essentials but also having a few luxuries). Being happy with what you have eliminates “lust for more”. With that, it’s much easier to focus on getting one’s head and spirituality right.

  34. Great story Marco. Although my Dad wasn’t as well off and I had fewer toys, it feels very familiar to me. I had a private school life followed by years at college partying while driving a company car and having a salary by Dad’s company. Today I wrestle with several decisions I wish I made – law school, career – and strive to move on. Currently I am also re-starting and this article was a great reality check and therapeutic.

    PS – welcome to Canada

  35. I know this sounds cliche, but I think this post helps reiterate the notion that true fulfillment comes from having less, not more. When you have to earn every break, or bonus, or opportunity, you wind up looking forward with relish to whatever you are treating yourself to. The smallest things can bring the greatest joy if your life is well balanced. From the middle class point of view, that ten days you spend in Paris after three years of saving up is magic, as opposed to just ordinary if you can go whenever you want. Paying for flying lessons after saving for five years is a much grander reward than being able to take lessons because you have an itch and follow it up with owning your own airplane. I have nothing against wealth or the so-called one percent – these riches are what keep us ambitious and without ambition our society dies. But having unobstructed access to whatever you want will reduce your life to trivialities. Conflict and challenge are essential to bring the stark relief we need to experience joy and contentment.

  36. Marco, Thank you for such an insightful and honest post!. I appreciate your journey and your willingness to share with us your life’s lessons. Your experience was certainly not my experience, but I can relate to the points about trying to find yourself and your purpose upon this Earth. In this society of dog eat dog type behaviors, materialism and greed; it’s often a challenge to stay focused enough to carve out your own little niche/path. I struggle with this daily, as well as, forgiving myself for past mistakes ( financial & otherwise) so it helps to see there are others out there who can relate.. Keep your head up, Do You & let the haters do what they do best…HATE ( lol) & continue your evolution. Be Blessed!

  37. Hi Marco,
    thanks very much for your post. It was very instructive and illuminating. Also welcome in our nice city of Montreal from a lifelong MTLer. I had my son’s 4th birthday this week-end and because of a recent divorce we only had his cousin come over and played in a park and sang him happy birthday and ate cake. That’s compared to the all out party of the last two years. Now I’m feeling ok about doing it low key like that. Thanks to you.

  38. EL @ Moneywatch101

    Its hard to find a truthfully personal post like this one. The story is a bit on the sad side, but the ending points really express great advice for anyone facing life issues. I feel many people are struggling with, a finding yourself mentality now a days. I believe our society plays a role in this, and our ability to learn or grow as well. Thanks for the story Marco best of luck.

  39. I love your post for your honesty. I grew up in a $45k household with a single mom trying to feed three kids and make ends meet. She literally never had any money in the bank when we were children. For me and my siblings, the age we were when our parents divorced also had a lasting impact on us, as our different personal natures did. How my mom made little luxuries and family traditions so special to us, and celebrated our childhoods, also had a lasting impact on us. How much money we didn’t have growing up was actually pretty irrelevant. We never talk about growing up poor or think of our lives or childhoods in that way because she made sure that we never wanted for anything. She is a super frugal miracle worker. I have two degrees because of a fierce expectation she set on me around the importance of getting an education, especially as a woman (she has no formal education). I’m working on getting my financial head on straight but I think it’s connected more to my nature and susceptibility to our consumerist culture…I struggle to make the daily sacrifices that she made. Of course money is important, but it you stripped that out of your story, as you pointed out in the end, it’s all of the other things that matter more. Thank you for sharing your story.

  40. Wow, first world problem. :) It sounds like you’re doing quite well and are happy with life in general so that’s great. It’s good to know the rich have their struggles too.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. Everyone has to find their own happiness. It’s not easy for rich people either. Money makes things easier, but happiness is still elusive and you need to work at it.

    1. Thanks Joe. Yes, it’s true that everyone has their struggles, regardless of their financial situation. If you don’t have money, you’re trying to get some. If you have money, you’re trying to figure out what to do with it. Either way, it seems we all tend to get a bit too caught up in it. I was happy to see your comment, as I really enjoy reading your blog.

      1. Marco are you still in Montreal? I would like to connect with you re a possible opportunity in your field of expertise – tech PR. Someone had asked me to keep an eye out for senior folks in Montreal. Are you up for a call?

  41. steve varga

    Why work? A sense of purpose. I remember thinking those multimillion Nigerian scam emails were actually true but didn’t reply. Now got that it was a scam. Even though it was in my mind real I said I have to work I can’t just take the easy way out, would be boring, and deadly. Was making a $4.25 an hour at that point cleaning bathrooms. Doing a bit better now 20 years later.

  42. Young Werther

    After reading the comments to this post, I felt like I had read a different story. This guy is a rich kid by birth. His narcissistic tendencies are seeking approval of others by posting about his new found love of tough work such as selling a condo and restaurant he bought with trust fund money. He still is frat boy, albeit with a tenuous grasp of the reality that for most people it is just plain hard to pay for college, while he had a plane and played hard his whole life.

  43. I hate rich kids. No, that’s not right. I hate poor kids. No, that’s not it either. What I really hate is ignorant adults. No, I try to love people even if I don’t like them or feel sorry for their limitations. Does a rich kid any more elect to be rich, than a poor kid elects to be poor? Do those herein who’ve expressed not being able to relate to the “rich” have a patent on the inability to relate to those they’ve never been alike. Those who have written on this post as “normal” or “poor” kids, are all considered arrogant, wealthy Americans by the majority in this world. How does that feel? Can we change it? Would you give up what you have? I’d love to know your thoughts considering your certainty about so much. Please share something thoughtful. Just not liking someone unlike yourself. Isn’t that being spoiled in and of itself, too? Love and listen – genuinely. Then, we will have something to add to the world. Be able to listen, it is how we all learn about those unlike ourselves and avoid repeating history. Love, me

  44. Hi Marco,
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    You mentioned that you have a brother, I wonder if your brother went through the same thing as you? I asked because I wonder if own personality has anything to do with the things you do in life, even if brought up the same way.

    Rich or poor, everyone has their own struggles in life.

    1. Hi Jay – This is a good question and my brother and I have talked about it. We definitely ended up living different lives. He met his current wife when he was fifteen and is now married with two amazing children, with a solid job, living in Marin in a nice home. The turmoil of my parent’s divorce when we were very young affected us differently. In a way, it caused him to settle down with one person very early in his life. It had the opposite effect on me, where I’ve been single almost my whole life, bouncing around, and just recently have gotten into a long term relationship. As for the money part, we’re also very different. I think I ended up more conservative than him. He’s always been financially very savvy and amazing with numbers.

  45. Sam, I must say I’m disappointed in this choice of article. It seems that you just posted it with no other purpose than to be inflammatory and sensationalist.

    1. I’m open to new perspectives Jason. And id love to have yours too on money. You think you can share an article about your learnings with me so I can publish here?

      This is one of the best ways to get through disappointment. To show others how things are supposed to be with your writing.

  46. I really don’t understand these confessions and never will. Kudos of course for realizing whatever you realized but if I had kids and family and was a millionaire-billionaire, I wouldn’t teach them about any of that. What’s the point? Killing yourself by barely making ends meet? What the hell is the value of money anyways? Its all in your mind and in fact it has no value so there is nothing really to teach. If you have millions or billions, just spend it all away! You only live once, life is futile anyways and its a pointless zero-sum game.

    Your kids would do whatever they want with the money you left them (as much as possible, and not the scraps billionaires are planning to leave their progeny) and all this talk about love, social skills, flexibility, bla bla is just that – TALK. Verbal diarrhea that has nothing to do with the real world.

    Over the billions of years life had been on this little planet, we had absolutely ZERO effect on anything in the universe so what hubris it is to assume that suddenly all of these microscopic life journeys on a little rock that formed accidentally from star-dust would in any way matter at all whether they’re poor or rich.

    If you’re extremely wealthy, just spend it all and let your kids enjoy life to the max without having to work a single day for it. What is work after all? Its slavery and how is slavery perpetuated? Daily through births and capitalism.

    Stop bringing kids into this mad world. Let’s just end the human race and this futile pursuit of greed, power and syrupy confessions. No offence.

    1. Wow, really? You sound like you have no hope on humanity.

      cheer up, and look at things in a positive way, instead of everything doom and gloom.

  47. Thanks for writing this up and sharing your experience. Sounds like you had a great time, and decided to make some different choices. Thank goodness your mentor stepped in and provided some critical guidance at the right time. (that was your “Moonlight Graham moment). We all can look back a few times and wished we had not wasted valuable time on trivial things. I sure can’t fathom the thought of wasting 40 years of my life as in your case.

    You have an unfinished life and plenty of time to create a lasting legacy and contribution through other people that cash cannot fund. Cash and toys are commodities, Time on this planet is not.

  48. I enjoyed reading your story. How fascinating how life unfolds in so many different ways. I can imagine wishing you could have spent more time with your parents growing up. Very successful business people tend to work a lot of hours and get absorbed into projects that require a lot of focus.

    But I think everyone wishes things were different in their childhood, nothing can ever be perfect. And what’s more important is focusing on now, letting go of “what ifs” and grudges, and making the most of our lives.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  49. You bought a restaurant in late 2013 and in mid 2014 you’re trying to sell it? Why not try to make it work?

    You mentioned “maybe you were trying to out-do your dad” but it seems like you don’t stick to something long enough to find success in it. Obviously I don’t know anything more than what you’ve shared, it sounds like your dad was very, very productive but may he was focused on the business thing.

    Do you think if you didn’t have the money you’d be more prone to focus in on on or a few things or would you still have the tendency to go whatever way the wind was blowing you?

    If I had the kind of money you seem to have and was single I’d be a flight risk. I’d just roam around the world, modestly, almost backpacking. To me that would be ultimate freedom…and having a my pretty lady with me would make it paradise every day.

    Sounds like you’ve had a fun life, cheers to making it a long one…for all of us!

  50. debs@debtdebs

    Very interesting read and nice to hear the perspective coming from a privileged background. My first reaction is that we would have nothing in common. On the other hand, you have humbled yourself in your writing that I think we could have a meaningful conversation. I’d love to know if you have any plans for philanthropy in the future.

  51. Hmm.

    I spend much of my typical day observing my reactions to people and events, and trying not to judge them based on my values.

    That said, I feel sorry for the writer. It sounds like a nice life on the surface – all the money you could want, not having to work, bouncing around without too many responsibilities – but then I think about the moments wasted, the opportunities lost, and it just makes me sad. I admit I’m projecting my values on someone else, and presumably the author is happy with his life, but I have to say, I’m glad to be living mine instead, even with, or perhaps because of, the various difficulties I’ve faced and overcome.

    1. I think if you ask most people, they would say they’d much rather be living their own lives instead. Don’t feel sorry for Marco, as I’m sure he’s not feeling sorry for himself.

    2. We are all humans. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how we live our day to day lives as long as we are happy during those days. Happiness doesn’t come in one shade.

      I kind of sense you’re trying to justify your own values by saying you feel sorry for him. In no way would I feel sorry for him or anyone else for their financial situation. We’re all human and we all have our own struggles, big or small. Even small struggles to some are big to others. “Meaningless” struggles Marco might have would probably be frivolous to you. It doesn’t mean they aren’t profound and impactful to him. And vice versa.

  52. Marco, I have a question. What is your relationship with your parents like now? Are they people that you’d go to for advice on anything?

    1. Hi Ralph – Thanks for the question. I don’t go much to my parents for advice anymore. In fact, for some things, like investing, I will often do the opposite of what they would do. I know it sounds harsh and it’s actually nothing against their judgement. Perhaps it’s a generation thing. I just find that many baby boomers still make financial decisions based on fear and greed. I’m trying to make decisions that are more in line with my personal values, such as simplicity, freedom, joy and love.

  53. Hi Sam,

    I absolutely love your blog…and thoroughly enjoyed this post.

    On a separate topic, I’m wondering if you’ve written about life insurance policies in the past. If not, I’d love to see a post on the topic, and how it plays into responsible personal finance.


      1. Sam – This may not be a subject of interest to you (though it is of me), but I would like to hear your thoughts on the whole v. term insurance. Others may be interested too. If anything, it always brings out passionate commentators.

  54. This is such a fascinating story. Teaching kids to work at a young age makes a huge difference! I remember going to school with some rich kids who never had to work through college, and once graduation came around – they had absolutely no idea what to do with themselves.

  55. Marco, really appreciate your honest self-awareness, and telling your story. fwiw, please don’t be so hard on yourself. While your life may have been different from most, everybody has the same struggles with finding meaning, embracing responsibility, and the impermanence of relationships.

    One thought on self-discovery through talk-therapy and books…they can have great value, but sometimes people take refuge in ‘seeking a reason’, and, in doing so, mistake the ‘seeking’ for ‘action.’ Not saying this is your case, but some people continue to read books instead of acting to change, and this continues a form of narcissism. I admire anyone who desires to change and improve, and wish you continued success on your journey.

  56. Hi Marco,
    Thanks for sharing.
    It is quite insightful. Yes, this is a blog for the super frual.
    It doesn’t chance the fact that yes, some people do in fact “make it”, and it’s interesting to think of what happens when that does happen.

    I’ve always wondered how one should handle the situation of being wealthy, especially since I’m not particularly materialistic.

    I don’t see any point in dying with millions of dollars in the bank.
    I also don’t think it’s healthy to just unload millions of dollars on your kids.
    Would they know how to handle that, or blow it like some lottery winners?
    However I also don’t think it’s necessarily good to buy millions of dollars of stuff and raise your kids in that sort of ‘abnormal’ environment.

    So how should wealth be handled?

    I wonder, given your experiences, how you personally would handle wealth?
    Or, taking the same question a different way, how would you have preferred your parents handle their wealth?

    For example, would you have preferred (in the long run) not having an allowance?
    Or just a signifigantly smaller once, so you at least have to consider what’s ‘worth it’ or not? Or would it have angered you that your parents had so much money, and aren’t sharing it?
    I don’t think it’s realistic for your parents to try to hide/pretend they aren’t wealthy – I think it’s normal for rich people to at least spend a small portion of their wealth.

    – Frank

    1. Frank, do you really see this as a “super frugal” blog? If so, I’d love to get some examples of posts that have that point of view.

      I’m always curious to understand how others view this site, and whether it jives with how I view my site. thx

      1. Some of your posts are borderline frugal. Especially the 10% car rule. I much prefer when you stick to posts like “Avg Net Worth for Above Avg Person”. In fact that’s the post that brought me to your blog.

    2. I would not have changed anything about how I grew up financially. I just wish my parents had taught me the value of money and hard work earlier in life. Perhaps they didn’t because they didn’t have those values either. After all, my dad arrived in Silicon Valley in the 70’s and partook in the largest bull run mankind has ever seen. Maybe money ended up being too easy for him as well?

  57. Thanks for the encouraging words Jeremy. I don’t know why some people are born into money and some are not. Like most things in life, it’s all a mystery. We all come from such different backgrounds, upbringings and genetic predispositions. I shared my story to reveal one, unique situation and because I enjoy writing. I’m sure that your story and anyone else’s on this blog can be just as interesting. It all depends on the point of view.

  58. Too much or too little of everything is always a problem. It is about balance and sounds like you struggled alot seeking that. Thank you for sharing your experience, and your suggestions.

    1. Aviation Guy

      Interesting article. I work in corporate aviation. That in itself sounds like a big thing, but I work on the ramp. I tow the aircraft, help with passenger and crew luggage, driving passenger’s cars to the airplane, delivering catering, and welcoming the passengers with the best customer service their money can buy. I see celebrities from time to time, but mostly I see corporate CEO’s and other corporate heads.

      I landed on this article after an exceptionally brutal night at work. And I have to thank the rich teens for that little bit of misery. I googled “Why are rich kids rude?” to maybe get a little insight. Not all the kids are rude, but the majority I encounter probably wouldn’t give a damn if I had dropped dead in front of them.

      The adults I serve are usually (and I emphasize usually) respectful and courteous. I do encounter the occasional asshole but it doesn’t bother me. When I give the same service to their kids, and I’m speaking of teenagers, it becomes cringeworthy. That becomes unbearable when it’s a flight of only teenagers on a corporate jet. They are at the age where they understand how fortunate they are.
      The smugness and entitlement flows heavy in the air and I bite my tongue to get through it professionally. I do my best to greet each kid without any bias, hoping that I would receive the same respect in return.

      Recently, I brought a Gulfstream 550 into it’s parking spot and waved the limos to the aircraft. There were five cars, each with impeccably dressed drivers. I then unloaded the bags from the rear cargo door and brought them to the vehicles. We don’t know which bags go into which vehicle so we rely on the passengers to help us. There were five or six teenagers and an equal amount of adults. As the pilots and I were sorting the luggage into their respective vehicles, the teens were bunched together pointing at myself and my co-workers while laughing. I had a job to do and blocked it from my mind. As we finished loading the last of the luggage, we were each given a gratuity from the adult passengers, for which we never expect but always appreciate when given. It was at that moment that the teens burst into laughter while still gesturing towards us and looking straight into our eyes. My blood boiled and I don’t know how I maintained my composure….. but I did.

      I do not know these kids, just as they don’t know me. I served in the military for ten years, deployed to Iraq for a combat tour, and left the military at the end of 2008 during the height of the recession. Talk about a bad time to leave the military. It has taken me a decade to get out of the hole that it left financially. I joined the military just as these bastards were conceived and now I have to endure their arrogance and laughter with a smile. Conversely, I try to sympathize with them. Not because they were born into a wealthy family, but because these kids lack a moral compass. Having humility and morals is the best quality that one can have and it pays dividends throughout life.

      I should end this comment by reiterating that not all wealthy kids act in this manner. From time to time, I encounter wealthy kids who make my day much better than it began by engaging in a normal conversation or by saying please and thank you. Those two words mean so much to those who serve them. Much more than they could ever understand. The service they receive also becomes much better and we make sure to remember them when we see them again. I don’t care about the tip. I just want to see that they are as grateful to me for the help I provide as I am to them for just being kind. Rich or poor, the simplest act of kindness is always remembered.

  59. Hi Marco,

    Thanks again for sharing your story. I’m just wondering several things:

    * If you grew up poor, and then your parents became as rich as they were, do you think you would be happier and appreciate your wealth more? It’s my belief that if all you do is go on vacation, vacation no longer becomes as fun. Work and progress makes us appreciate our vacations more, for example.

    * I’m assuming despite it all, you are still very wealthy with your trust fund intact no? If this is the case, what gets you motivated to work hard if you don’t really have to?

    * If you have kids, how would you tell them about their trust fund if ever?

    * At what income level do you think you need to make in the Bay Area where happiness goes no further? My theory is $200,000 per person, and I’d love to hear yours!



    1. Hi Sam!

      Thanks for the questions.

      If I’d grown up poor and my parents became rich later in life, I’m sure my financial situation would be much different. Perhaps, due to a better work ethic, I’d probably have a more stable income, a more stable career and who knows what my net worth would be. In that situation, whatever wealth I would have accumulated, I’d probably appreciate it more, due to the fact that I would have really worked my ass off to get there and probably without a lot of help from my folks. Not saying that I don’t appreciate what I have today as, in my own way, I have worked my ass off by educating myself, minimizing my spending and maximizing my passive rental and stock/bond income. And yet, like you said, there’s nothing more satisfying than earning active income. I make $16 an hour teaching tennis right now and I’m still giddy when I get my checks!

      Yes, I would still consider myself relatively wealthy, considering I own my SF condo in the clear and still have a good amount of liquid stocks/bond/cash on hand. However, in San Francisco terms, I wouldn’t say I’m that rich. That’s why I don’t live there anymore. I’m trying to make what I have work for me in a lower priced area with a good quality of life. I pay $1300 Canadian a month for rent in Montreal that would cost probably around $3500+ in SF.

      What motivates me to work hard?
      Enjoying it. It has to be fun and fulfilling or, at some point, I will lose interest, not matter how much it pays. Maybe that’s the spoiled kid in me? Is that so bad?

      I don’t have kids and I don’t think I’d leave them a trust fund. It’s too weird for me now. I’d leave them property in their name or give them some lump sum while I was alive, assuming they were already working and not insane drug addicts.

      Ideal income in SF? Even at $200,000 with rent and lifestyle prices where they are right now, I’m not sure all these techies are saving as much as we think. Given that, I agree that, if you’re smart about it, $200,000 should be more than enough to live comfortably in any major U.S. city. In the end, I don’t think your salary is that important. It’s way more about your attitude, social skills, flexibility and your saving and spending habits.

      1. In no way am I projecting pity but I find it a little troublesome to believe that you started out with sky’s the limit and now must budget – to an extent?

        You kind of skipped over the part where you made so much money in the late 90’s through successful stock trades and bought the condo and now are worth what sounds like pennies on the dollar compared to what could of been had you managed it all. Did the extensive breaks drain you that fast?

        I’m only curious since I just can’t fathom the lack of inquisition from yourself as a 20 something.

        1. I’ve never been “the skies the limit” rich and even if I was, I’d still budget.

          Lack of inquisition as a 20 something sounds about right.

          1. “I’m trying to make what I have work for me in a lower priced area with a good quality of life. I pay $1300 Canadian a month for rent in Montreal that would cost probably around $3500+ in SF.”

            I think your comparison is a bit off.

            Montreal is the most cultured and most happening city in North America. I’d even give it nod above Boston, but at 2/3’s the CoL, with fewer pretentious ppl.

            In contrast, SF is the most overrated place to live in with the highest CoL. The ppl in SF are superficial and self-centered.

            If you keep your financial history private, the average Montrealer will treat you like a regular person than a trust fund baby which let’s say, is very common at places like Williamsburg in NYC.

            MTL is one of the best kept secrets on our continent and you’d discovered it serendipitously.

  60. Great story. Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to hear you learned to focus on what matters most – relationships! I have the opposite situation – my parents did well (but not nearly as well as yours) – paid for school and grad school, but that was the end of it. Now they even expect me to buy whenever we eat out, even though they are in a much better position to pick up the check.

    1. I think it’s an honor to pay our parents back BH! They hooked you up for 24 years it sounds like, so why not pay them back for 24 years, even if it costs a dinner :)

  61. Money Beagle

    One of the first shows I ever started watching with my now-wife was (don’t judge me), The OC. And, i would always watch it wondering just how these people didn’t see at all how the ‘rest of the world’ lived and was it for real. Your post kind of answered that. You know what you know, I guess.

    Thanks for sharing. Very interesting perspectives and it’s always thought provoking to get different world views.

  62. The First Million is the Hardest

    Thanks for sharing! It’s always interesting to hear the stories of people with very different backgrounds than most of us grew up with. I agree that rich parents should try to avoid showering their kids with money. It’s a shame to see kids with all the resources and opportunities they could want in life lose any drive or motivation because their parents always handed them anything they wanted.

  63. Each human condition has is own disadvantages and advantages.
    But what is good, is that there are alwasys lessons to learn and steps to take to improve.
    Thank you for sharing your story, Samurai Marco.

  64. Sorry but this seems to be a sad tale of a wasted life so far.
    Living off others, even if they are family, for so long could not be very fulfilling.
    A spoiled rich kid is not funny…just spoiled.

    1. Not sure that this post was meant to be funny, but a confession of the way things were and Marco’s introspection and guidance for others who might be in his same situation. Takes courage to put yourself out there.

      If you’d like to give it a go, let me know.

    2. I would agree that I hate spoiled rich kids, and part of that is probably some jealousy mixed in, but I think with Marco, that he’s seen that he was that way and is trying to live his life in a more fulfilling way is admirable.

      I agree with Sam and some others in that if you’ve only know the “rich” life, how can we condemn that person if they truly have never seen the struggle most of us face…it’s all perspective I guess.

      A lot of folks are commenting that Marco “wasted” his life which comes across as a little petty/jealous, but I also wonder how his life was wasted if he got a degree in college, and MBA, made some money in the stock market, dabbled in real estate and restaurants, learned how to fly a plane, learned and is teaching tennis, and become a decent guitar player? I was reading those thinking I’d like to do some of those things when I become FI…? Am I missing something? I think the tone in which Marco wrote his story as a guy trying to figure stuff out, comes across like he wasted his life, when if you look at the things he has done to date, it’s not so bad. He’s only in his 40’s as well, still a lot of life to life yet.

      Thanks Sam and Marco for sharing this story…

      1. Thanks Sundeep. My intention was to show people that growing up as a spoiled rich kid, as fun as it can be at times, is not necessarily that fulfilling. And, in fact, it’s not growing up rich that’s the problem, it’s the spoiled part.

        As for a “wasted life”, I don’t know what that means. I’d just be careful if you’re muttering those words, as I’m a big believer in the “spot it, got it” philosophy.

    3. Travel4Life

      Your right. You go through the various stages of life without a true calling or identity. Psychologically it is extremely painful and confusing. My story is similar and I’m in my late 30s …

  65. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about things like this; my sister would call it “trustifarian”. When money is less of a concern you begin to look for a deeper meaning and drive. This often results in some kind of existential crises. My personal value system is very different and I just can’t empathize with someone who is overeducated, has the ability/funds/connections but lacks the drive. I would always be out there trying and doing. Even if I fail time after time. But, that’s just me. I know plenty of people like you and it just doesn’t compute for me.

    1. We all grow up in different ways. If all you knew was growing up rich around fellow rich people, would you really feel that rich? I doubt it.

      It’s very hard to motivate yourself sometimes when you don’t have to do a thing.

    2. Austin,

      I think that is short-sided. You never know who is reading your post, and how that might affect that person. For example, when I was reading your post, it made me feel small, as I have suffered from what you would call a “lack of drive” in past years. This was in part, due to access to my parent’s monetary success. Have no doubt about it, this access can cripple you. Being “given” everything, you never get the opportunity to accomplish anything. Think about that. You never get the opportunity to fail and get back up. This is what makes you strong. This can result in a person lacking self-esteem and confidence. This, in turn, can lead to other consequences. Perhaps, re-think that personal value system of yours to include some kindness and empathy for everyone. it took me a long time to learn to stand up on my own two feet.

  66. I’ve long found this blog to be an interesting read for practical advice on managing and accumulating money. This story, while interesting, is misplaced here. Advice from the super wealthy I want? how to develop a relationship with a person who can help time the market. Advice I don’t want? How to raise my kids and get therapy.

  67. Thank goodness for the advice of your family member and thank goodness you listened!

    You also give some really great tips that aren’t usually on personal finance blogs – getting therapy is the one that stands out the most. I’ve done therapy years ago but it might be time to admit some if my financial issues are tied up in very emotional matters.

    1. I agree. Any financial issue you have is almost always traceable back to an emotional issue.

      Suze Orman is big on this and I’ve learned a lot listening to her podcasts.

  68. Even Steven

    Thank you for sharing your story that can be the toughest part of writing just putting yourself out there.

    I’m going to skip over the this is how I lived like a Kardashian reality piece that covers 3/4 of the post. I lost interest after getting through this, the part where you purchased a restaurant or a condo and are working on selling it would have been interesting, but studying guitar while living in the maid’s quarters or Dad’s mansion lost me again. This was the best I could do at being positive, I think I have a Napoleon’s complex for rich kids, does that exist?

    1. Rich kids, poor kids, whatever. . we were all just kids at some point and all we really needed was our parents love and guidance. Spoiled acting kids drive me nuts and, for some reason, there is always a clueless arrogant parent nearby to put fuel in the flames.

      1. Marco, you really nailed it with this comment. What impresses me about you is your humility despite coming from a privileged background.

        1. I agree. I’ve blocked a couple pretty nasty comments. Not sure why people want to hate on someone who made a confession. Confessions are all about listening, accepting, forgiving, learning, and moving on.

          We all have our flaws. It’s what we do with them that matters.

            1. Great article! Love your honesty, but you will never comprehend/feel/understand STRUGGLE. In “SOME LESSONS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT MONEY (5) Try Not To Look Back…I struggle with this everyday.” I had to pause for a second. Now I’m not saying you have never struggled in life but you understand exactly what I mean. If you don’t then you are still that “out of touch, spoiled rich kid”.

              Of course you are gonna get all defensive and explain all the struggles you’ve been through but save it. Back in ‘93 (13 years old) I had an encephalitis that caused brain damage and epilepsy. Couldn’t even recognize my own mom. I’ve had over 1000 seizures and gotta have a legal guardian for the rest of my life. This is not a feel sorry for me reply but an eye opener for you. You are blessed beyond imagination. Take that blessing and make our Lord the Father proud!

              Amen Brother

    2. Travel4Life

      Because you simply can’t relate on any level with this guy’s story. I have a similar story but the wealth / success of family was on a much lower scale. $6-$8M net worth. I’m in my late 30s, have a BA in finance / business management from a top school and basically haven’t done much since college other than travel and photography. Sad but true

  69. Income Surfer

    Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate you being willing to talk about getting therapy. Two different times in my life I’ve gone to a few therapy sessions, and found that an outsider can really help put things in perspective. I recommend it to anyone struggling with ANYTHING.

    Also, I think you had two really really good pieces of advice. 1. Forgiving myself and my past were critical to my current happiness, so I can relate to you there. 2. Accepting that you need to start over is huge. Too many people I know cling to what they had, instead of accepting that things have changed and they need to move on.

    Again, great story and thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Brian. A big part of why I went into therapy was I was driving family members crazy with my anxiety and insecurities about everything. I noticed when I had someone else to talk with, I was able to be more present with them and focus more on their problems instead of mine.

  70. Thanks for sharing. When come to terms with your mistakes is when you can actually move on. I grew up with rich successful parents who never gave the appearance of wealth. They brought my brothers and I as if we were poor. Emphasis was on work, values and skills. I got what I needed vs. what I wanted! I received a good formal and informal education and passed it on to my children. I did not value my parent’s strict upbringing at the time, but I turned out okay. I could never get enough of my parent’s time because they were always so busy 24/7. Balance is key in bringing up children. I was successful in my own right and achieved financial freedom (38 years old) without any financial help. I spent a great deal of time developing a relationship with my children. They turned out to be successful adults.

    1. Wow, being raised by busy rich parents who taught you the value of money and somehow made you feel loved in the process. That must have been an amazing experience. Lucky you and lucky your children!

      1. Sometimes I wonder about nature vs. nurture. While I had a lot of privileges (not crazy wealth, but eventually good parental income), to this day I always save and invest more than my parents and have a completely different outlook.

        While I didn’t really get much and had to live for a while on a tiny allowance in Manhattan, I’ve been naturally frugal and constantly evolving. I can trace those tendencies WAY back into my childhood without any apparent cause …

        1. Nature or nurture is not an either or statement! I think both contribute to who we become. I was always interested in business and money, but I was always around my entrepreneur parents. I worked for them (reluctantly) from as early as 5 years old every weekend. If my parents were something else, would I have the skills and interest to do something else? Who knows!

  71. Thanks for sharing your story, Marco. It’s one very few of us are familiar with from personal experience.

    How do you think your life would be different if you had grown up in a $50k a year household?

    1. Oh, $50k per year household. Dear lord, it would have been so different I can’t even answer that question. Maybe my parents would have never left Sicily in the first place and never gotten divorced? That would have changed everything, as my Dad, perhaps, wouldn’t have become so obsessed with work to numb the pain and make up for his failed marriage. And maybe, he would have been more present with my brother and I, and taken more time to show us the things that took me fifteen to twenty years longer to learn. Again, I’m not blaming my dad for anything anymore. He did his best with the situation he had and, at least, he killed it financially and all the family benefitted in some way from this.

      I’m pretty sure I would probably have had a more stable and consistent career path. Perhaps I would have stayed in tech PR for the long run and, by today, I’d be a VP of Communications at some agency or corporation pulling in at least $200k. Would I be happier. . I have no idea. Also, I’d probably would have gotten married and had children, as I didn’t see family life, up until recently, as a positive thing.

      I don’t regret it anyway. Your life happens the way it happens for a reason.

  72. Great story… I had a nice lump sum in the nineties as well but like you made sure to get the education (BS,MBA) as a backup. The journal you mention is the single most important therapy you can have IMO. Skip the therapists and minimize the books. We have what we need in our head just dedicate the time. I figured that out in my teens thankfully. I don’t think the money is a problem it really is bring present in your kids lives. I give my kids everything and that includes my time, love, and energy most of all. I don’t force them to be hyper-competitive but instead be true to themselves, us, and others creatively, artistically, technically, critically, and respectfully. Work is necessary but not all-encompassing and certainly not something I would EVER define a life through. It’s just one aspect and in the 5-10 range of priorities. Nurture your relationships #1.

    1. Cool Rob – Good to hear from another avid journal keeper. Sometimes I feel guilty because I’ve stopped writing it by hand and now send myself daily “Soul Notes” via email. It’s easier to just write something in the moment and send it to myself than waiting to have my pen and pad ready.

      And yes, totally agree that you cannot, and should not, define yourself through work. After all, what is the definition of work really? Aren’t we always kinda working on something anyway? Sometimes you’re getting paid and sometimes your not. One of my goals, lately, has been, a la Samurai style, to get paid big money for work that I love doing, whenever I want and as often as I want. Right now I’m teaching tennis part time and it has all the qualifications I mention above . .just need to figure out how to raise my hourly rate from $16/hr to $300 .. any ideas anyone?!?

      1. You know, I wonder if writing this blog is my form of therapy much akin to your journal writing? It must be quite similar no?

        I’ve been able to get through sorry, disappointment, and fear through writing. I’ve got many posts unpublished, but just being able to write them has helped me tremendously stay level.

        1. You’re lucky because your therapy is a part of your livelihood. More and more, that’s the kind of work I’m looking for.

      2. Coach rich folks who can afford $300/hr? ;)

        I come from a working class background and never had much as a kid, in terms of material things and even less so with money. But I had the love of my grandmother who was selfless and generous. That was what saw me through my childhood and teenage years, not money and things (although it was always awesome when I was given money and gifts).

        I’m in my early 30’s but I’ve always been a drifter, always felt lost. I flunked college, and had no idea whatsoever what I wanted to do with my life until I hit my 30’s. I spent my 20’s trying to find myself, trying to figure out my life, and atoning for stuff I did. Now I have an idea of what I want to do professionally (so I’m trying to get to a place where I can start freelancing), and I know who I have the potential to be as a person, so I’m always making sure I’m moving in the right direction at my own pace.

        Thanks for sharing. It’s always great to read stories like yours. :)

  73. I forgot to add, great point about letting go of the past. Too Perfect is an awesome book about obsessive compulsive behavior and letting go of the past. When we learn to use the past as a learning tool and not regret it is awesome.

  74. Wow, what a story! Thanks for sharing, Marco. It is really interesting to get a glimpse into this kind of life. Growing up the way you did, do you feel that it was harder to find your life’s purpose? Did your father ever serve as a mentor to you and help shape your path? From your story it sounds like he was really busy and you were off on your own a lot with little life guidance.

    From your story it also sounded like you had access to an abundance of successful people, including your father. Are there any questions you wish you asked them about life when you were in your 20s? Do you still keep in touch with people from your childhood?

    1. Hi Shyla – Thanks for reading and asking these questions.

      “Growing up the way you did, do you feel that it was harder to find your life’s purpose?”

      Yes, I would say growing up as spoiled as I was, finding a life purpose or even a stable career has probably been harder than someone with a stricter upbringing. It’s like a dog.. if you don’t train them, they’re all over the place, hard to control, anxious and unable to focus. For many years I was mad at my folks for being so uninvolved in my life. At some point, I accepted the positives and negatives of my upbringing, forgave myself and my parents and began living my life. Now I see my purpose as being loving and grateful, sharing my knowledge, skills and experiences through teaching and ENJOYING life as much as possible.

      “Did your father ever serve as a mentor to you and help shape your path?”

      This is weird because my dad was so successful in the external world of money and power and, at the same time, he was almost invisible at home. It was like he was hiding from the world. Looking back, I think my dad was depressed and never really recovered from the break up with my mom. I feel like, at times, he did try to guide me and for some reason it just didn’t stick. Maybe because our relationship wasn’t strong enough and I didn’t feel like he really cared that much. And I know this sounds like I’m playing victim and I’m absolutely not. I’m just saying that to be a mentor to someone, you have to really take the time and nurture the relationship. My dad wasn’t really around as a “Dad” so I guess it makes sense that he wasn’t really much of a mentor either.

      “From your story it also sounded like you had access to an abundance of successful people, including your father. Are there any questions you wish you asked them about life when you were in your 20s? Do you still keep in touch with people from your childhood?”

      When I was in my 20’s I didn’t really have many questions. I was a nervous dog running around doing what I thought I should be doing. As far as questions I wished I’d asked them back in my 20’s, I really don’t know. I guess I’d ask them more philosophical questions like “What makes you do what you do?” “What’s your definition of success?” “Is your family happy?”

    2. Some people take a lifetime to find their life’s purpose.

      I’m not sure what mine is other than to be helpful and do the best I can with what I have. Do you know what yours is?

      1. As Tolle recommends, I’ve turned my life purpose inward .. to remain present as much as possible. When you do that, everything tends to take care of itself.

  75. What an interesting story. At least you know that you were spoiled and can recognize now how different your upbringing was. Many people don’t! Your life seems so much different than mine, but an adventure nonetheless! I think it’s easy for parents to spoil kids with money instead of love (if they have it) because they think it’s a replacement for time. But it’s not. I can also vouch for therapy — it can do wonders!

  76. Very cool story!

    My plans for my kids are to help them as much as possible by teaching them how to make money have a great attitude. I don’t think that can be done by buying them cars and giving them as much money as they want. I was not bought any fancy cars or given a monthly stipend in college, but my parents did pay for tuition and room and board at a state college. I worked during the summers and had part time jobs during school for spending money. I also racked up as much credit card debt as I could. Lol.

    After college I couldn’t find a finance degree so I started working for my dad in real estate. That provided enough money to buy a modest house, but I never saved any money trying to follow his system. Then I started making goals and creating my own niche in the market and things took off.

    I really think people need goals and things to shoot for to be successful. Maybe if samurai Marco set some very specific and difficult goals it would help him create some direction and a sense if purpose. I think if you follow some one else’s plan or path, or just drift along without having your own dreams its hard to see a point or be challenged. One reason why I think the corporate world makes it tough to get A head. Your are always chasing and working for someone else’s dream.

  77. Great story and thanks for sharing. You sound like you have got your head on straight.

    I’ve never been a fan of therapy though, I think you can sort things out yourself with the proper level of introspection. Getting away to do this is not a bad idea, whether by doing a long day or multi-day hike, or psychedelic drugs in the desert you will eventually find the answers you are looking for from inside.

    Your story reminds me of a Buddhist quote that even rich people go through their own type of suffering and it is not worthwhile to envy anyone else, it is better to feel compassion for others.

    I hope your journey continues to be productive, your philosophy is in alignment with personal growth. As is said, when the student is ready the teacher arrives.


    1. Thanks for your story. You have two options; use your money as a tool for a higher purpose or, start from scratch in something.

      Analyze your anger, your pains, and find a path where you can start building in a healthy way but with a fire energy. If you know what it is, search, jump on the caos and keep searching.

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