Long before I ran the world’s largest survey into changing attitudes towards later life I was already aware of the divide between ‘Old money’ and the rest of us. A good friend worked as a land agent advising ‘old money’ on running their estates and through him I gleaned an insight into a totally different way of thinking. When it comes to inherited wealth there is only one golden rule.
If you inherit money you must pass it on at least seven years before you die
This, above all, is the difference between ‘them and us’. While easy to say the act of giving away a significant proportion of your wealth, even to close family, proves a step too far for most.
In my work I have met people on both sides of the divide. An aristocrat passing his estate to a nephew he ‘can’t stand’ while hugely successful businessmen, having spent a lifetime building up his fortune, meekly accept that the Government will help themselves to half. The aristocrat knew he had to let go while the businessman couldn’t. Whoever said ‘inheritance tax is a voluntary tax, paid by those who mistrust the government slightly less than they mistrust their own family’ was right.
As we face the economic consequences of the pandemic all governments have redoubled their efforts to collect revenue. Old money knows how to respond – do you?