Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wealth Does Not Pass Three Generations

Chinese have an expression
富不过三代 (fu bu guo san dai) Literally: Wealth does not pass three generations
Meaning: It's rare the wealth of a family can last for three generations (the 2nd may see the value of hard work, the 3rd, forget it).
Year zero: First generation: Wealth creation
Year 45: Second generation: Wealth preservation
Year 75: Third generation: Wealth destruction
The Role Of Attitudes
towards debt and asset accumulation over time
Few alive remember the great depression. Most boomers headed into retirement have seen rising asset prices all their lives. Those boomers thought they could live off their houses and/or investments in the stock market, expecting prices to rise forever, even though it was mathematically impossible for that to happen. Now, headed into retirement, boomers are realizing they are actually savings poor given that asset prices have crashed.
Three generations from now the lessons of today will have again been forgotten and the cycle will repeat.
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