Monday, November 08, 2004


Tracie and I rented a documentary made by the heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. It was about kids his age who were born rich and what it was like to be born rich.

It was an interesting film. None of the kids really wanted to be in it, they all felt at least a little bit uncomfortable talking about their 100's of millions or multiple billions of dollars.

There were at least two Europeans, one of them was the grandson or great grandson of "the Kaiser". The kid was an ass to say the least. One of his biggest complaints was that in America the first thing everyone asks you when they meet you is 'what do you do?'. Apparently saying nothing is quite embarrassing. He generally says "I'm rich" or "I'm kept" and the person doing the asking is put in their place.

It seemed that a majority of the kids have at least one credit card of their parents, that their parents don't know they have. Which is good, because they don't have to hear complaints about spending $600 on a purse or shoes or whatever.

It brought to mind the post I made about purchasing experiences rather than objects. When you could buy every designer hand bag that you wanted, what is the incremental happiness of getting one more likely to be. How could you possibly enjoy that beyond the instant of actually buying it?

Here are terms more people could indentify with. I love doughnuts. I could afford to buy a dozen doughnuts every day. After the second or third day, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be enjoying them, even if I really like going to Tim Horton's or even the act of buying doughnuts.

The movie falls short of explaining why people don't really like talking about all their money, but Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, came the closest. One time in Australia some guy recognized her and asked her what it was like to never feel pain, to always be happy and have every wish granted. It really hurt her feelings. It turns out rich people have the same problems as everyone else (other than not enough money), only way worse because the have tons of money.

It really seemed that some of them handled the money better than others.

-Gary Milner

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