Kids and Money: Lessons from Philip Seymour Hoffman



As I was perusing Facebook this morning, I read a  trending article about Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The article was about how he  left his $35 million fortune to the mother of his three children.  There was no money, no trust fund, no nothing left to the three kids.  While some people’s reaction might be horror that he would not leave anything for the children, it seems that he trusted his partner, Mimi O’Donnell to take care of their children’s needs as appropriate, like most  responsible parents would do.

This seems to be a trend among the the wealthy.  People like Bill Gates and Sting have said that they will not be leaving their children their vast fortunes.  While I don’t have a vast fortune, I understand and respect what they are doing.  Why? I don’t know of anybody who wants their value,  monetary or otherwise, to be set solely by who your parents are and their accomplishments.  Most people I know want to have control over their own value.

Being born to the rich and famous could be considered the lottery of birth.  While I have played the lottery in the past, I don’t anymore.  I don’t have any philosophical problems with it and am happy to see people win.  The problem I have is that winning the lottery would take the joy out of earning a substantial living doing something I love.  It would take away the sense of accomplishment I feel on a job well done.  I can only speak for myself but I think that it would also breed complacency and boredom.   Winning the lottery, may take away the incentive to push forward in a meaningful way with Happy Fix or other goals I have in life.

Hard work and accomplishment go hand in hand.  I don’t want to be given anything in life.  I really want to earn it.  Earning it is what provides value.  It’s what provides the sense of self.  It’s what makes us feel worthy.  Yes, there are disappointments and hardships.  You take risks.  Sometimes they work out, sometimes not so much but they are yours.  You own them;  the mistakes, the successes, the sweat, tears and joy you feel when you’ve worked hard and tasted success.

I can’t imagine that Philip Seymour Hoffman, a middle class kid of divorced parents from Fairport NY, would leave his children in a position that would put them in harms way.  On the contrary, he left them with a responsible parent who will encourage them to forge their own way and to avoid the demons that took their father much too young.   Hopefully, they understand that they have been given the opportunity to make their own way, their own lives, and their own successes.

Hard work and action breed accomplishment.  Accomplishment and reaching your goals breeds a strong sense of self-esteem and increases your sense of self-worth.  What accomplishments in your life are you most proud of?  Share them with us and let that be our Happy Fix today!

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