With the release of Taking the Reins: Insights Into The World of Ultra-Wealthy Inheritors, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time with inheritors who are intensely committed to improving themselves and often the world. Many are seriously dedicated to creating and enhancing business ventures, wanting to leverage their financial blessings and expand their own fortunes, usually with an eye to social betterment.

These ultra-wealthy inheritors are diligent and exceptionally hard working. They’re involved in the financial affairs of their families, with a very high probability of becoming major decision-makers over the management of their family fortune.

All and all, they’re quite impressive and they’re often not a lot of fun.

It’s quite hard to be a lot of fun when you have high aspirations and a strong work ethic. You just can’t have a great time when you’re wrapped up in perpetual business meetings and the lunacy of day-to-day business life. Furthermore, after putting in long and grueling days, these ultra-wealthy inheritors are, understandably, simply tired.

While they are diligent and industrious, many of them have brothers and sisters who are less so—a lot less so. It’s these siblings who tend to have all the fun.

For example, I’m familiar with one ultra-wealthy inheritor who is intent on saving the whales. He’s going to get personally involved with whale-saving causes as soon as he gets back from his African safari and his backpacking trek across Europe (with a squadron of retainers, security personnel and a tagalong physician). However, he admits he might need to delay the whale-saving if one of his friends comes up with a great place to hang for a few months, like Monaco or the Swiss Alps, or a “rad place” in Bangkok.

The affluent stepsister of an ultra-wealthy inheritor wants to follow in her brother’s footsteps. He’s a social entrepreneur, working on a company that provides inexpensive, basic medical physicals by leveraging mobile technology. With her brother’s work as her example, she’s putting her money behind the creation of a company that will enable people to determine how “wasted” they really are. The way she’s testing this innovative technology is by getting wasted at regular intervals—twice a day minimum—and seeing how the technology is performing. So far, the technology is a dud, but she’s committed to stay with the project until the technology is perfected or she needs a new liver.

Another ultra-wealthy inheritor is renowned for throwing legendary parties. They always include entertaining games, such as strip Twister, dealer’s-choice alcohol poker and prescription bingo. These parties last a few days or more. The venue is invariably wrecked, but her friends always have a wonderful time.
In many of these families, inheritors often are intent on excelling and are successful in doing so. They strive to be either philanthropists or businesspeople, or often both. These ambitious inheritors are taking actions that will have a significant, positive impact on their own lives and their families, as well as the lives of many others. Sometimes their impact is felt throughout the world.

Then there are their more hedonistic siblings. A lot of ultra-wealthy inheritors prefer pleasure seeking to entrepreneurial capitalism and philanthropy. Simply put: Some inheritors just want to have fun.