Hi Mr. Tully,
I wanted to say thank you a lot for your book and your blog. The book was a gift from my uncle in Vermont. It’s really made a huge difference for me and he thought now would be a good time to write you.
I inherited a large amount of money this spring when a family member died. She was single and I think a lesbian, but never married or had kids and I had no idea about the inheritance or the size of it. Total surprise. I’m in college right now and doing okay. Last spring when I found out about the money I was a little off balance. I wasn’t really close to her, so it was weird. I just finished the semester and then thought I’d think about it later. I didn’t think it was real I think.
I had read your book and was just, okay, good to know kind of thing. And after a couple of weeks right after finals a light just went on and I came home, read the introduction again and really felt better. The money had just been sitting there and my parents said we’d need to talk about it. They seemed really worried like I was going to quit school and go to a tropical island and blow off everything. (I’m not.)
So I went to an accountant and talked to him and a lawyer. And then I started thinking about things I’d like to do different now that I have the money. I haven’t come up with anything yet, but I think I’m going to take a trip next summer. (My parents had saved for my college.) I did rip LL Bean a fresh one for new boots, sweaters, and some cold weather gear, but don’t bag on me. It’s cold where I go to school.
A couple of my school friends are also my friends here in town. This is the interesting part that I thought you’d want to know about. We’re hanging on the 4th of July and one of them says that I’ve been weird lately and was anything wrong. I followed your advice and didn’t tell anyone about the money. So I didn’t know what to say, but it was just him and me and another girl. The girl added on, asking about my mom. (She’d been sick a few years ago but is fine now.) I finally just told them about the money, not how much, but just how weird it was. Yeah, I know how you feel and, Yeah, it is weird but you just have to set it to one side and go on. She said it’s good to “compartmentalize it” which I thought was interesting. That’s what they tell me and I’m looking at them, and then I get it, finally. It’s happened to them too. And then they say, yeah, you’re right not to tell anybody. It’s cool. It’s this instant bonding of understanding that happened between us. Not a Gossip Girl thing, but just a secret that we share.
The girl took me to her house and I talked with her mom. I guess she’s the first Old Money woman I’d ever met, but I’d already met her and just didn’t know it. She talked to me about some investments that were really not risky, but she said I should just do a lot of reading and gave me a couple of books on investing. (The Millionaire Next Door.) She was really easy about it, no pressure. She told me a little about her background and I got the idea that their money went way back. Nothing she said distinctly but just a couple of references to things. I think she could be a mentor for me. She’s definitely smart. She’s asking questions that just got right to the point about my situation now and college and my family. Not rude or anything, just, when I had to answer honestly, it became clear that this is the deal, deal with it. You’re lucky. Do your work. Don’t show off. Be smart.
I have a lot to learn I know. I’d like to have my kids be Old Money one day. I’ve never been a big spender so maybe there’s a chance. For now it’s just two more years of undergrad and then we’ll see. I didn’t really get it until it happened to me. Thank you. – MMB