Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images
What’s it like to be raised by the .001%?A few Quora members who happened to grow up in billionaire households took a stab at answering that question.
Aside from knowing that I come from solid stock, which I try to live up to, I have constant reminders such as the Hillman Library which was named after my grandfather and is the main library of the University of Pittsburgh. The question I most often hear about that building is: “Don’t you like, own a library or something?”
I have great friends. I can’t clarify that enough. They are all lifelong friends who know me well. It isn’t like I have hangers-on or people who want to be in my life because of a perceived wealth, though I believe others in my family might have that problem.
Every month I get a stranger that says “Hey, are you related to the Hillmans…?” or something like that. Basically I just go with the flow. I am modest, live a modest life and it’s all just fun and respect. Respect for my family and respect for people that are interested in “us.” When I think of my family’s fortunes I think of how much has been given back to Pittsburgh and that is mainly how I identify with it.
Another anonymous Quora user who explained what life was like for his billionaire grandparents and great grandparents in Europe (who later lost everything in WWII:
Our family lived in a 150 room mansion with a staff of 30+ servants. One obvious sign of wealth is having people work directly for you, for your personal life. Leaders of large organisations, such as CEOs, congressmen, and so on, maintain personal aides but these talented assistants serve a business need. The extremely wealthy keep others around to run their personal lives, servants who work at any time day or night and live onsite. Grandpa’s immediate family was only 4 people, yet the cooking staff alone was 7 people. They paid a yacht captain to maintain a boat used only once or twice a year.
My grandfather and granduncle both went to a boarding school that reminds me greatly of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books. The school was in a castle, with each grade having their own well appointed common room with hand carved pool tables and marble fireplaces. Each grade had just 15-20 students, and I believe the school faculty outnumbered the students.
Grandpa said that one did not “apply” to this school, you were invited. He showed me a class photo and read off who each boy was and what his father did. The list was quite intimidating, as these families basically owned and ran that part of the world. (Sadly, most died in that war).
…Like John H. Hillman, V says, one is well aware of the “stock” you come from. The pressure on my siblings and I was implied without anyone ever speaking about it. I post this anonymously because people can react strangely, so we don’t talk about it much.
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