The downside to unearned fortunes

Is an unexpected windfall all it’s cracked up to be?

The author, a Corning resident, is a former real estate broker, renovator and investor.

As a regular watcher of Dateline NBC, I’ve noted in nearly every featured case, the profiled murder was committed by an unscrupulous spouse going after life insurance proceeds—often exceeding a million dollars. This inspired me to look online for statistics on just how often murder is committed for life insurance money.

While such statistics are curiously hard to find, whatever the frequency is, it’s too high. No person should be allowed to gain sudden and extraordinary wealth from another person’s death. Even when life insurance doesn’t inspire murder, such proceeds often foster reckless spending by, predation upon, and ironically, the financial ruin of life insurance beneficiaries.

The same is true of suddenly receiving any unearned windfall, such as from lottery winnings or inheritance. Ideally, such windfalls would be prohibited. People would still be allowed to become wealthy, but only through ingenuity and hard work. The wielders of such fortunes would accordingly be more likely to appreciate them and be less likely to waste them. They’d also know better how to retain them and make them grow.

However, until government, insurers and corporations are limited in their incomes, wealth and power, prohibiting private citizens from receiving unearned windfalls could be catastrophic. After all, such windfalls—wasted as they often are, do at least offer citizens some power to resist the abuses perpetrated by wealthy governments, insurers and corporations. That is, abuses that are ever-increasingly undermining the liberty, wealth and security of ordinary Americans. Such abuses include ever-expanding taxation and deficit spending necessitated by police and fire unions, the Social Security program, and now, Obamacare. These entities all moonlight as vehicles for private embezzlement of public money.

Until such reforms are effected, windfall recipients should be required to get a government-provided investment expert’s approval before spending or investing these monies. This would ensure they invest the money carefully. That is, instead of quickly losing it to financial predators, to their own insensible spending, or to that of friends and relatives. It would also dissuade life insurance beneficiaries from murdering their spouses to receive such proceeds in the first place.

Expenditures the government-provided investment expert would allow could include buying and renovating a home or starting a business. The amount an investor was allowed to risk would initially be small but could be increased incrementally as he demonstrated investing proficiency.