I'm a Trust Fund Kid, and This Is What It's Like

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I’m a trust fund kid. It’s not something I’m proud of, or usually share about myself so publicly, because the second some people learn about what my dad does for a living, they treat me differently. And who can blame them? I didn’t earn any of this money. I only have what I have because my father worked like a dog to give me and my siblings good lives. Also, society is super screwed up, because so many other people work just as hard to provide for their kids and can’t, but for a litany of problematic reasons, mine has more than enough. My father was an investment banker for most of my life. We’re not exactly the Kardashians, but I would guess that my dad falls safely into the upper one percent.

Some people are intimidated and start treating me like I’m different. It’s like they don’t know what to do with me. But I understand it all. People have every right to hate me for this.

Basically, a trust fund is just a way to hold property (like money or real estate) for future generations. It allows my parents to protect their assets and specify what my brother and I receive during and after their lifetimes. There are a bunch of different types of trusts, and not all of them are giant sums of money that you suddenly get access to on your 18th or 21st birthday, like you see in the movies. Mine certainly is not. To be honest, I don’t know the full details of our trust and finances, because I never cared all that much about it. It mostly has to do with when my parents pass away, which hopefully won’t happen for a very long time.

I have no debt because my family paid for my entire college education. I often get extravagant gifts for my birthday. But beyond that, I try very, very hard to be independent from my dad’s fortune, sometimes more successfully than others (if my car breaks down, I call in the big guns).

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I grew up in the same small town my mom was born and raised in and went to public high school. Parts of my life were very different than the average trust fund baby. I got a job waitressing at 16 and worked all through college, sometimes two jobs at once. All of my friends are solidly middle class and very normal. No one protested in front of their apartment buildings during Occupy Wall Street. Their parents are just trying to make ends meet. This makes for some interactions that make me feel like an awful human being.

I’m not that good at keeping my father’s wealth a secret. Sometimes, I let slip a story from my childhood that includes some extravagance or public figure that clues people into who I am. Other times, I trust people enough to tell them outright where I come from. Very rarely, I take people to my dad’s house to meet him and let them see with their own eyes what the reality of the trust fund kid looks like. The people who really know my heart and know who I am take this all in stride. Those who don’t start acting weird around me.

A lot of people get angry. They start being mean, because they don’t know how to deal with a girl who comes from money like that. It sucks, but it’s understandable. I’ve lost more than a couple friends because they couldn’t deal with who my family is. Some people just get intimidated and start treating me like I’m different. They stop speaking freely in front of me. It’s like they don’t know what to do with me now, when in reality, I’m just the same girl they always knew. But I understand it all. People have every right to hate me for this.

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What I wish people knew is that I am not my father. I didn’t choose this life, and I try to remain as down to earth and humble as possible. I know that there are fundamental structural problems in society that are the only reason I have what I have. That being said, I love my father very much. I don’t think he’s a bad man. He didn’t come from money, and he did the best with what he had. He also got insanely lucky.

I know how blessed I am, and I don’t take any of it for granted. I’ve lived an incredibly privileged life. It’s hard to reconcile my own progressive liberal values with the wealth that has allowed me to live such an easy life, but it’s part of who I am. It’s part of where I come from. I didn’t choose it, but I do have to own it.

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