What do you do when you suddenly inherit money? Are you supposed to run out and
spend it like crazy? Are you supposed to put it all in the bank? Do you tell
anyone you have your money and where you got it from? These are all questions
that went through my head as I turned 18. I was an overnight "rich"
person. What was I to do? Ever since I can remember, my mother has been telling
me, "when you turn 18 you are going to get the money your Daddy left for
you." For some reason I never really believed her. I thought that I would
get about $2,000 or something and be able to buy a nice computer for college or
something along those lines. I never thought I would be able to buy a house. I
dont even want or need a house, but all of a sudden I am able to buy one. I did
not grow up poor by any means, but I was not the kid on the street with money to
toss out either. Now that I had money, what was I supposed to do with it? The
first thing I did when I got my money was hug my mother really tight. Ever since

I was 2 she had been paying taxes on it, investing it, making sure it was safe,
and tons of other things she really did not have to do. She did it all out of
the kindness of her heart. When the judge in control of my funds would be a dork
and send us a nice little letter saying that he "was sorry but had decided
to move the money from a 10% interest account to a 4% account", my mother
would be talking to our lawyer and trying to get it back to the good interest
rate. We would always be getting letters like that, so having dinner with a man
who charged us $250 an hour was not unusual. Even then I never realized that I
would be getting actual money. I must have been in some kind of a dream land,
but it did not make any sense until one certain rainy Monday. That Monday I had
gotten called out of band by my lawyer, who to my suprise, was standing in my
high school hallway. He handed me a stack of documents about 4 inches thick and
instructed me to sign on various pages. I did so, and afterwards he gave me this
big smile. "Congratulations, Beth. You now are in control of your
money." I asked him exactly how much I had to spend and he directed me to
the bottom of the next to last page. I stared at an unbelievable figure -
$84,000. Was my lawyer serious? I actually had a bank account somewhere with my
name on it that contained that much money? I could go out and by a new car and
give each of my friends cars? I did not understand how overnight I had gone from
my little dream world to reality. I now had a bunch of dilemas to deal with, and

I was not sure I even wanted them. Would having money change me? That was a
major concern of mine for a long time after I got my money. I did not want to
become one of those superficial people that depend on money to make them happy.

On the other hand, now that I could afford to get nice things, I wanted to take
advantage of it. I could now go out and buy a nice computer for college, maybe
buy a new car, and finally get some new clothes. The last time I had money to
spare on clothes, I was in the 6th grade, so I think I was a little overdue for
a trip to the mall. Clothes, a computer, and a car seemed very shallow to me, so

I decided to get some advice on what to do with my fortune. I did not want to
spend all of my money and then wake up one day and realize it was all gone and I
had to hunt for tuition. That would be the last thing in the world I would ever
want. Randy Baird worked for American Express at the time, although now he works
for Prudential Securities, and he was more than willing to meet with me and
discuss my financial future. He explained to me that