Great Barrington is crowded, very crowded. While many older people may own a home in the Berkshires, more and more young families are moving to the neighborhood. It’s really delicious.
Many of the newcomers may have far more incomes than their parents, who have worked their entire lives to save money. As these young people grow older, they often inherit what their parents, who had very little money, may have scrimped and saved a considerable fortune, even with the ravages of inflation. My definition of “rich” has always been reserved for “people who have it or will get it”.
My wife, Roselle, receives the weekend edition of the Financial Times, a newspaper that seems to cater to the rich and the very wealthy. It has a section called “How to spend it”.
Now I’m sure there are a lot of rich people out there who know how to spend it. We may have enough to live on, but we are certainly not spending the way we imagined when we were younger. A certain amount of what we have collected is set aside for expenses for our children and their children. Israel has something called “the law of return”. Basically, it refers to Jews who want to return to Israel, compensated by those in the private sector or the government. Well, the Chartock family (sardonically called the CFF or “Chartock Family Foundation”) has a similar rule. Our children, who may have migrated far with their children, will be paid to come back for the holidays, even if they have done well in life.
If you have more than one child, it is okay to send an equal amount of money to each of them. It can be very expensive. The only thing we don’t want to do is be unfair with our limited resources. Too many family disputes have happened when one child has more than another, and we’ve all seen what happens in these cases. Fortunately, this was not the case with our children, who really love each other.
It all gets even more complicated when we play guessing how long we can live. If you read the obituaries, you will see people dying in their 60s and people well over 90 years old. So there is always a urge to do the right thing and give your kids as much money as possible, but assuming (and you really have to) that you live to be 90, you’d be better off. to think about how much you will have to keep, so as not to outlive your resources.
With everything we’ve read about nursing homes and COVID, it would be best to stay in your home. This is why we constantly see advertisements on television advising us to get reverse mortgages. At the same time, countless articles have been written advising us NOT to get a reverse mortgage. Among the strong arguments against them is the fact that owning a home is expensive and those costs are always there. These costs include things like property and water taxes and the fact that you will have to put up with changes in interest rates, the value of your home, and many other variables. My doorman in New York, named Harry, gave me some wise advice on things like reverse mortgages: “Just say no.” He was right, of course. Just think of all those people who spent huge amounts of money on timeshare that they ultimately never used. Now there is a new thriving business that is helping people get out of these things.
It’s quite simple: the older we get, the more we have to worry about.