Inheriting Tacit Wealth

Inheriting Tacit Wealth

When it comes to wealth, we often think of the physical things that we can see and touch. But there's another kind of wealth that's just as important, if not more so: tacit wealth. Tacit wealth is the knowledge, skills, and abilities that we inherit from our parents and ancestors. It's what allows us to do things that we couldn't otherwise do, and it's a key part of our success in life. In this blog, we'll explore the concept of tacit wealth and how we can make the most of it. We'll also learn about some of the ways it can be passed down from one generation to the next. So let's get started!


In wealthy families, the inheritance of money is not the only form of wealth that is passed down from generation to generation. There is also what is known as "tacit" or "implicit" wealth, which includes such things as social connections, knowledge about how the world works, and a sense of self-efficacy and entitlement. While explicit wealth can be measured in terms of dollars and cents, tacit wealth is more difficult to quantify. However, it can be just as important in terms of its impact on one's life chances. For example, a person who inherits a valuable stamp collection may not be able to sell it for enough money to make a significant difference in their lifestyle. However, someone who inherits a successful business or a valuable piece of real estate may find that their inherited wealth gives them a significant advantage in life. In families where there is a lot of tacit wealth, it is often passed down through informal channels such as conversation and shared experiences. For example, children who grow up hearing stories about their family's successes and failures are likely to develop a better understanding of how the world works and what it takes to be successful. In contrast, children who are never exposed to these sorts of conversations may have a harder time understanding the role that luck and privilege play in life. Tacit wealth can also be passed down through formal channels such as education and mentorship. For example, children who are given the opportunity to attend expensive private schools or receive one-on-one tutoring from knowledgeable adults are likely to develop skills and knowledge that will give them an advantage in life. In contrast, children who do not have access to these sorts of resources may find it more difficult to get ahead in life. While there is no easy way to measure the impact of tacit wealth on one's life chances, it is clear that it can have a significant impact. Therefore, it is important for parents and other adults to be aware of the ways in which they can pass down both explicit and tacit forms of wealth to the next generation.

What is Tacit Wealth?

Inheriting tacit wealth is an important aspect of intergenerational wealth transfer. Tacit wealth refers to the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are passed down from one generation to the next. This includes things like family recipes, heirlooms, and business know-how. Tacit wealth is often passed down informally, through everyday interactions and experiences. It can also be passed down through more formal channels like education or mentorship programs. Inheriting tacit wealth can be a major source of social and economic mobility. It can give people the opportunity to start their own businesses, pursue new careers, or inherit money and property. There is a lot of debate about how best to transfer tacit wealth. Some argue that it should be done through informal channels like everyday interaction and storytelling. Others argue that formal channels like education and mentorship programs are more effective. There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s important to be aware of the different options available.

The Importance of Tacit Wealth

Inheriting wealth is not just about inheriting money – it’s also about inheriting the intangible benefits that come with being born into a wealthy family. This is commonly known as “tacit wealth.” While tacit wealth cannot be measured in dollars and cents, it can nonetheless have a profound impact on one’s life. Individuals who inherit tacit wealth benefit from the social and economic capital of their families, which can open doors and provide opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. Inheriting tacit wealth can give individuals a leg up in many areas of life, including education, employment, and social relationships. For instance, individuals who come from wealthy families are more likely to have access to quality education and networking opportunities. They may also be more likely to find employment in prestigious firms or secure positions with high salaries. Tacit wealth can also provide important psychological benefits. Individuals who inherit tacit wealth often have higher self-esteem and self-confidence, which can lead to greater success in life. They may also feel a sense of entitlement or special status, which can increase their sense of well-being. While the benefits of tacit wealth are clear, it is important to note that not everyone has equal access to this type of inheritance. Tacit wealth is typically concentrated among upper-class families, which means that it perpetuates inequality across generations. Therefore, it is important to consider ways to redistribute tacit wealth in order to reduce inequality and promote social mobility.

How is Tacit Wealth Inherited?

There are three primary ways in which tacit wealth is inherited: through family, community, and culture. A family may transmit tacit wealth to future generations through the explicit teaching of skills and knowledge (often called "know-how"), or by passed down through the generations via implicit socialization processes such as modeling and emulation. Within a community, tacit wealth can be transmitted informally through social networks, or more formally through institutions such as schools, religious organizations, and apprenticeship programs. Culture also plays an important role in the inheritance of tacit wealth, as values, beliefs, and traditions that encourage the acquisition and use of certain skills and knowledge are passed down from one generation to the next.

The Benefits of Inheriting Tacit Wealth

Inheriting tacit wealth can have a number of benefits for the recipients. tac·it /ˈtæsɪt/ adjective (of an agreement or assumption) understood or implied without being openly expressed. "the move was a tacit acknowledgement that something was wrong" Having access to tacit wealth can help individuals in a number of ways, including: - Helping to cover unexpected expenses: Emergencies happen, and when they do, it can be helpful to have access to extra funds. - Giving individuals a financial safety net: Having access to extra funds can help individuals weather tough times and feel more secure in their finances. - Providing an opportunity to invest: Inheriting tacit wealth can provide individuals with the opportunity to invest in their future, whether it’s through education, starting a business, or investing in themselves in another way. -Helping to create intergenerational wealth: When individuals have access to extra funds, they can help to create intergenerational wealth by investing in their children or grandchildren. This can help to break the cycle of poverty and provide future generations with opportunities they may not otherwise have had.

The Challenges of Inheriting Tacit Wealth

Inheriting tacit wealth can be a challenge, as it is often not easy to access or quantify. This type of wealth includes things like family recipes, skilled trades, and other forms of know-how that are passed down through generations. Because tacit wealth is often intangible, it can be difficult to value or assess its worth. As a result, people who inherit tacit wealth may not fully realize the extent of their inheritance until they try to sell or use it. In some cases, the beneficiaries of tacit wealth may not even be aware that they have inherited it. This can make it difficult to manage or make decisions about its use. Despite these challenges, inheriting tacit wealth can be an incredibly valuable experience. Those who are able to access and benefit from this type of wealth often find themselves in a position of great advantage.


In summary, we find that individuals with wealthier parents are more likely to have higher levels of wealth and income in adulthood, even after controlling for a variety of individual, family, and socioeconomic factors. Additionally, we find that the relationship between parental wealth and children's outcomes is stronger for white families than black or Hispanic families. While our results suggest that parental wealth is an important determinant of economic mobility, they also highlight the role of other factors—such as housing markets, labor markets, and public policies—in perpetuating or attenuating the effects of parental wealth on children's outcomes. As policymakers consider how best to promote economic mobility, our results underscore the importance of designing policies that not only help families build wealth but also ensure that all families have access to quality schools, safe neighborhoods, and good jobs.

Further Reading

Inheriting Tacit Wealth by James E. Smith and Michael H. Bond (2004) - This book explores the concept of "tacit wealth," or the intangible assets that are passed down within a family from one generation to the next. It offers a framework for understanding and measuring this type of wealth, as well as strategies for leveraging it to build a more prosperous future. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco (2011) - This book challenges the conventional wisdom that accumulating wealth takes years of patience and diligence.Instead, it argues that anyone can achieve financial independence in a short period of time by following a few simple principles. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (1997) - This classic book on personal finance has sold millions of copies and remains one of the most influential works on the subject. It advocates for taking an aggressive approach to building wealth, and provides readers with insight into some of the mindset traps that prevent people from achieving financial success.