At one time, the Vanderbilt family was one of the richest families in the world.
Not so much.
Cornelius Vanderbilt started it all back in the early 1800s. He was born into a poor family. Not a lick of luck and no “head starts” in life. But, he did manage to convince his mom to lend him $100 to buy (I think) a steam ship. From that little ship, he built a shipping empire worth over $100 million.
That was back at a time when $100 million was a lot of money.
Then came George.
George Vanderbilt, the youngest of the Vanderbilts, bought up 120,000 or so acres of land. That’s a lot of land. Boy oh boy is that a lot of land.
My wife and I actually went to Asheville to see all this land and the house it sat on (the Biltmore mansion), which was the house he built. It’s still the largest privately-owned home in America… about 3 or maybe 4 acres of living space.
Acres. Of. Living. Space.
It’s huge. It’s ungodly huge. I’ve never in my life seen a house that large. And, it was apparently one of the most technologically advanced homes of that time, too. In the basement there’s a refrigeration system. The house has an advanced fire alarm system, an electrical call box, and some of Thomas Edison’s first light bulbs.
The stairs have no support system. Instead, they use a cool cantilever mechanism to keep them anchored into the wall and the iron chandelier is suspended from a single point in the ceiling and drops all the way down to the first floor.
There’s a garden on the property and a stone wall with a pergola that covers a long walking path — my favorite spot on the grounds.
Anyway, George came to Asheville to build his house because his mom was sick. He came to the area for the health spas, apparently. He bought up a bunch of land from the government and locals, who mismanaged the land. They used it up. It was worthless to them.
Then… he built it up. Had a bunch of trees planted… built a huge forest. The grounds include a conservatory and a bunch of other cool stuff.
Point is, it’s a huge place that cost him a lot of money to build and maintain.
Anyway, cost to build the Biltmore? $6 million back in Vanderbilt’s day. Today, you’d spend about $170 million to build that home, but… when Buncombe County appraisers assessed its value in 2017… they said it was only worth maybe $40 million.
Most of the Vanderbilts have no inheritance from the estate. And the main source of revenue for the estate is the revenue it generates as a tourist attraction.
Aside from the fact that homes are not always a great investment… the fact is… wealth can (and does) erode over time if you do not purposefully tend to it, and guarantee its growth.
Business owners who let their business languish? They’re only shooting themselves in the foot.
Real estate investors who sit on their laurels? Ditto.
And folks who lazily and haphazardly save money here and there without any eye toward the future?
A similar fate awaits them.
Anywho, if that be a fate ye want to avoid, go book thyself an appointment with Yours Fatherly. I can show you how to grow your savings in a safe, predictable, manner, and leave an estate that will span generations. Your savings will be guaranteed against loss, and will be there for you whenever you need it.