Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Monday, August 07, 2006

Coolest Person of the Month

This is a painting by the artist Nicole Buffett. She is 30 years old and lives and works in San Francisco. She spoke in June to Jennifer Luden on NPR's Morning Edition about, among other things, being a nanny and her love of working with children in various other capacities.

She is the granddaughter of billionaire Warren Buffett, and the interview was largely about money and the idea of inheritance. Warren Buffett and his late wife, Susan, are of the opinion that passing on dynastic wealth serves only to weaken one's children. When Buffett announced last month that he would be giving away 85% of his fortune (estimated to be about 42 billion) it was a major blow to the large and vocal groups in our government who believe that we should eliminate the estate tax because of the terrible burden it places on that poor & lamentable group: the wealthiest 1%.

The Buffetts sound like the coolest grandparents ever, at least from Nicole's description. Her late grandmother, especially, seemed to have had a great influence on her life. Below are her "Five Sayings", the most important things she wanted her grandchildren to remember:
1) Show up
2) Tell the truth
3) Pay attention
4) Do your best
5) Don't be attached to the outcome

(I have to admit, I don't really "get" number 5. If anyone cares to venture an explanation, I'd appreciate it.) Nicole credits Susan with the seed of inspiration that led to her husband's precedent setting philanthropic estate planning. Twenty years ago Fortune Magazine quoted Mr. Buffett as saying "that a very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing" and Nicole, it seems, is grateful for that philosophy.

Technorati Tags: , , Estate Tax,


Blogger Rebecca said...

Very cool. My interpretation of #5: Do things for the journey - for the experience - not because there's some particular ending you want. Also, if things don't go the way you wanted/planned, don't waste time lamenting that, but take stock of where you are, and move forward. I'm probably not anywhere near the target, but that's what I take from it.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Tim Hedrow said...

Actually I get #5. A former nanny told me that one. It is about doing something because it is right or feels good and "letting go of the result".

11:47 PM  
Blogger Pragmatic Chaos said...

Coolest grandparents ever? I don't think so. While I agree with the general principle, I think there should be some leniency. Nicole is 30 years old and is so poor she can't even afford health insurance. I'm all for working hard and learning lessons but where is the line drawn? I hardly think that paying for her health insurance would "weaken" her.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Nanny in New York said...

That's an interesting point, but I'm not sure that I feel Nicole's health insurance status has much of anything to do with her grandparents. My understanding is that Nicole's education was completely paid for, so she has had considerable oportunities to acquire the skills to do pretty much anything that she'd like. I have to admit (perhaps this is a bit too hard line of a stance, but it is what I feel) that my opinion is that if she wants to life the classic starving artist's life that is her decision and I respect it. I do, however, think that if her grandparents were to pay for her health insurance or other expenses it would take away some of the natural motivation she has to succeed. So, I think I disagree with you, in many ways it would weaken her to, at 30 years old, have expenses that most adults her age either cope with not having or work at jobs that provide them.

I can understand that you might feel differently, but I'm still going to side with the Buffetts on this one

7:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home