Inheriting ¥100 mil. makes me very uncomfortable

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a single woman in my 50s, and I recently inherited a surprisingly large amount of money. It has made me feel uneasy.

After this year started, my single younger brother, whom I lived with, and my mother, who was at a nursing home, died in turn. I inherited more than ¥100 million from them.

Most of the money was earned by my mother in stock trading and managing her assets. She never told me about the assets and lived frugally, so I was really surprised to learn about the money.

Even though I have not been lucky about money matters until now, I feel uneasy rather than happy. I have no idea how to use the money. I also feel as if I have lost a guiding principle for my life.

As I’m probably so used to living frugally, I still divide money for my living expenses into several bags. When shopping, I look for items on sale. As I’m single, I have nobody who will inherit this money. I have heard my money will go into the national treasury after I die.

I feel distressed because I don’t have a friend to speak to openly about this. What should I do?


Dear Ms. A:

Please keep an open mind about what I’m about to suggest as there are probably a lot of opinions out there about this.

I’d say the money your mother and brother left to you is nothing but a memento of their lives. It’s something for you to remember them by. It’s a large amount of money for an ordinary citizen, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to help you start a business or something new.

Money slips through our fingers before we realize if we don’t make a lot of money. Also, it seems the more we divide our money, the faster it goes.

I’m sorry my suggestion is to do nothing special, but I think it would be best for you to continue living a frugal life. Of course, you should not tell anybody you’ve got this money.

Perhaps, you sometimes feel you want to live a less frugal life. If you feel like spending a bit of the money for something, go right ahead. There’s nothing wrong with it decreasing bit by bit.

When you are aware your life is about to end, why not donate the remaining money to whatever you like?

So I suggest you enjoy your modest life with the security of having some financial leeway. It’s not a bad option, I think.

Taku Mayumura, writer

(from June 5, 2015, issue)Speech

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