Under the Black Flag

Investing in the Future

“There is no more potent instrument of fate in 19th-century fiction than the legacy.”  So writes a female columnist in Britain’s best newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, before going on to say some rude things about trust-fund babies.  According to the lady, a will stands as a symbol of the “baleful power of crabbed old age over hopeful youth.”  What rubbish.  Judging by my own children, the moment I mention money—spending it on myself, that is—all hell breaks loose.  And basically, they’re right.  After all, I didn’t exactly earn my fortune through my business acumen.  I earned it the old-fashioned way: I inherited it.  What could be more pleasant than that?  Are there debilitating effects when inheriting money?  Obviously there are, but it depends on the sort of person who inherits.

The Fords, of Ford automobile fame, seem to have done very well with their inheritances, and most of them became useful members of society.  Horace Dodge, Jr., of Dodge cars, did not fare as well.  Booze and a dizzy blonde got the best of him.  I remember him in Palm Beach during the 50’s, sitting in the Alibi with Gregg, the dizzy-blonde wife, until the wee hours, finally passing out and being carried out.

Well, it beats begging for a living, but not by much.  Americans work for their living—or at least...

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