Living Richly: Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth, by Myra Salzer – Book Review

The title of Living Richly: Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth doubles as the book’s summary as well. Myra Salzer is a wealth coach for a very particular group of people. She deals solely with clients who have inherited a minimum of twenty five million dollars or more. She does this because at that level,  inheritors will likely never have to work again and she enjoys the challenge of working with people facing those unique circumstances which, understandably bring their share of problems and anxiety.

Now you might wonder why it is that I would have any interest in readng a book that has such a specifically targeted audience, but as I was telling Amy just the other day, I take great pleasure in reading self-help books concerning issues that I don’t have. In that instance we were talking about advice books on marriage, but I checked this morning and unfortunately I am not a millionaire either. Yet! But, any minute now. Like other books, these types of books help to satisfy my insatiable nosiness about the world and my fellow inhabitants. Living Richly is helpful in terms of finding the early steps to take in wealth management, but can also double as an inside look at the unique money problems of the very wealthy.

Living Richly is very much about finding yourself in a new situation and having the resources to not only process that change, but to figure out an action plan for managing all that goes into the upkeep of wealth. Salzer just as much addresses the personal aspects of using wealth to enhance your life, and for developing and maintaining wealth in a way that reflects personal values and goals, as to  show the steps that you need to take and the people who will be involved in maintaining wealth.  There are extensive definitions of all the basic financial terms, details on the types of trusts, and  recommendations of those to include in the team that is needed in managing substantial wealth. Salzer strongly encourages inheritors to be familiar with the terms of their trusts and contracts, even if they will not be involved in minutia and day-to-day decision making.

Salzer uses case studies of clients in different stages of dealing with varying wealth. One woman is just figuring out that she needs to be more actively involved in managing the money for her family, while another man seeks to understand the terms of a family trust so that he can work with it and carve out a more comfortable lifestyle for his family. It was fascinating to learn how some trusts start for the good of the family and providing for that family, only to become solely concerned with maintaining its own wealth.

In interesting commentary, Salzer relates that most fortunes are gained and lost within just a few generations, and that few inheritors can comfortably maintain their inheritances for themselves  and family. She provides an accessible overview not only for those who are new inheritors, but also for those just looking to better understand their inheritances and family wealth. People often have complicated relationships with money, whether they have it or not, and Salzer seeks to assist inheritors in dealing with their own complex feelings about having money and the perception of others. Speaking as someone who would be starting out with very little knowledge of all that is involved in making financial decisions on such a grand scale, this book seems like an excellent way to start the navigation process.

Read More Reviews At: The Amateur Financer

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 In Review: January 2011

You may also like


    1. It really is. There were three case studies that gave an inside look and they were fascinating. At least a couple of people were ashamed of their wealth and she worked with them on their money issues.

  1. I was almost tempted to read this book when I read your title, but it doesn’t sound as though it will answer my concerns of becoming rich. I am one of the few people who would hate to win the lottery/inherit loads of money. I think it would alienate me from my current friends and family and lead to difficult situations where the vast amount of money would lead to resentment. I want to read a guide on how to keep your friends and family happy when you have so much money – perhaps if I could get a strategy in my head I’d be tempted to actually enter the lottery!

    1. jackie, you are not alone in your concerns. One of the women profiled in the book accidentally left her portfolio statement on the kitchen table and her boyfriend found it. They had been living a quiet life together as social workers. He left her when he found out. They don’t go into why he left her, but I wonder if it was actually the money or whether he felt like she was dishonest with him or both. Another man wouldn’t have friends over because he was ashamed they would see that he lived in a mansion. In the case of the woman she helps her uncover her hobbies and start a business with that interest in mind and I think she went on to be more well adjusted and comfortable with her wealth.

  2. I would not have thought that this book would have interested me, but reading your review, I realize that the subject is actually fascinating. It seems like fiction to think that the author works with those who inherit a minimum of 25 million! On the other hand, the problems of the very rich are evident in both the news and in history.

    1. I know a lot of people would be completely happy with a million, a few million, 5 million. It is so finny to think that that’s not even enough to be considered wealthy enough for a lifetime. A few million dollars is small potatoes now a days.

  3. Nicole, you crack me up. I’ve never thought about reading self-help books for problems I don’t have but it’s an interesting idea. And of course when you name me as the heir to your more than 25 million dollars (since obviously your not really a proper millionaire with a mere 24 million) I will have endless hours to read. Until then I will sit here and wait.