Tech Sketches

Generational Wealth

July 11, 2020

We’re all born with equal rights in America, but not equal wealth.

When you seem someone’s else’s successes or failures, account for what you can’t see. To use the iceberg analogy: you’re only seeing the tip of the whole structure.

Generational wealth comes in many forms. It comes from good parents who can let their kids safely pursue their dreams. It comes from knowing that you have a backup plan or a backup home.

Generational wealth also comes from the more traditional money sense. Family money buys education, prestige, security. Family connections much the same.

It’s important to measure one’s achievements on the delta between one’s inherited wealth vs. one’s earned wealth. Yes, Bill Gates was raised the son of a millionaire, but the delta he achieved is still very impressive. Those who start with no advantages (or worse) and create a healthy, sustainable life for themselves are also impressive.

My mom grew up with six siblings in a relatively poor family. She immigrated to America to study nursing and work in healthcare. She didn’t have many advantages growing up, but she worked hard to give advantages to her own family.

So ask yourself: what sort of generational wealth did I have growing up? How does this generational wealth stack up against those I’m comparing myself to?

Generational wealth is the invisible quality you only start to see after learning someone’s background.


Written by Andrew Lin who lives in New York.

© 2020