Over the past six years, Lane Fury has collected more than $185,000 in family money. Eventually, Fury stands to inherit roughly $6 million, but the 27-year-old doesn’t see this good fortune as a positive thing.
“I don’t actually want it,” says Fury. “There is this sense of shame or embarrassment, like maybe some of the problems in the world are my fault, so I shouldn’t really be open about [my wealth].”
While many people struggle to pay the bills and make ends meet, those lucky enough to have family money say they have problems of their own. Fury says having a trust fund is alienating and can lead to feelings of loneliness, guilt, depression and confusion.
“The fear is that their money will be a source of disconnection and isolation from the people who are important to them,” says Amanda Clayman, a New York-based psychotherapist specializing in financial issues. She has seen this issue come up frequently in her practice, especially among her younger, more progressive clientele.
She notes that many millennials have crushing student-loan debt and entered the job force during the recession, so those that have inherited money feel estranged from their less fortunate peers.
“We are turning the rich people into villains,” Clayman says. “It certainly does not lead to [a wealthy young person] feeling like one can really be in mixed company.”
Growing up, with a lawyer father and nurse-practitioner mother, Fury longed to talk more about money and class, but “there was not a lot of openness.”
Fury expected college would lead to answers, but says that “even within those spaces learning about gender and racial justice,” there was little talk about class inequality. After graduating and still feeling conflicted, Fury heard about Resource Generation, a nonprofit that organizes wealthy young people to pledge their riches to greater-good initiatives.
Since then, Fury has given some $60,000 to loved ones in need, and pledged nearly $20,000 toward various grass-roots groups this year. Fury’s even convinced family members to form a donor-advised fund at Social Justice Fund Northwest, with plans to put up $150,000 per year.
“When I think about the possibility of doing some really amazing grass-roots organizing with that [money], and doing that side-by-side with my family, that makes me feel really empowered, powerful and hopeful,” says Fury, a loan and outreach officer for the Cooperative Fund of New England, based in Barre, Vt.
Adam Roberts, who grew up going to the same beach club Ivanka Trump visited in tony Newport, RI, has also struggled to feel comfortable with his money. His inheritance, which totals more than $1 million in assets, revealed a side of his family that made him uncomfortable.
“I remember getting the trust statement when I graduated from college and seeing that I had ExxonMobil and Chevron stock — at a time when I was learning about climate change and the ways these large corporations exploit people and the planet,” Roberts, 34, tells The Post. “My first reaction was to disassociate and compartmentalize.”
But that only made him feel more like part of the problem.
“One of the ways wealthy communities [don’t confront their privilege] is by staying in these wealthy communities,” he says. “The impact of that is a lot of isolation.”
‘There is this sense of shame or embarrassment.’
For a time, Roberts wondered if he might even be better off without the money: “I experienced longing to be less isolated in this experience, and for a world in which there weren’t these huge differences between people.”
But, after Roberts finished graduate school in 2011, he started working primarily in nonprofits. Teaming with Resource Generation, he has donated more than $250,000 to charities and nonprofit initiatives that focus on racial, economic, gender and climate justice — “led by people [who have been] most impacted by those issues,” he says.
For Park Slope resident Robin Lee Allen, having money made him feel not only isolated from his peers, but his own family. His mother died when he was 8, not long after splitting up with his father. He was sent to live with relatives in Tallahassee, Fla., who weren’t as well off as his family had been and weren’t very welcoming.
“It was just really not pleasant,” says Allen, now 34. “I think my awkwardness got interpreted as snobbery.”
He recounts experiences in his childhood that “ranged from emotional abuse [from family and peers] to long periods of confinement as a child,” he says.
At 17, Allen’s estranged father died, giving him access to a sum “below $5 million” when he turned 18. He quickly burned through it.
“I was very irresponsible,” he says. “A lot parties, a lot of travel, fancy, needless s–t, like getting clothes custom made. A lot of taxis. It was just me trying to be a socialite.”
In just five years, he found himself in a transitional housing program in New York City — essentially homeless.
“The money wasn’t infinite,” he says.
Eventually, Allen found camaraderie with folks who understood his plight — namely, an Upper East Side couple who took him in at his lowest, and whom he affectionately refers to as his godparents.
“I couldn’t talk about so many other issues that I was facing with most people, so it wasn’t until I [met them] that I realized there are lots of people [like me],” he says.
He went to college and is now a managing partner at a private equity firm in Midtown. He gives back to a number of philanthropic organizations, including the Brooklyn Public Library and LGBTQ youth outreach group New Alternatives, which, he notes, helped him during homelessness. Earning his own money has brought him peace.
“Everything I have, I had to build it for myself,” he says. “I don’t have any regrets.”
Rob, a Brooklyn-based musician and self-employed studio engineer, is struggling with what having a trust fund — and being a musician — means for his life.
“You hear a lot about the struggle of the artist,” says Rob, who had roughly $500,000 in stocks and funds and declined to give his last name.
Rob, 31, grew up in South Carolina and was raised to believe he was middle class, but learned in his late teens that he had a trust fund that could finance his college tuition and musical aspirations. Now, he says he feels like a perpetual impostor, playing the starving artist, when he has hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank.
And, he says, he can’t help but wonder: “Would I have been more successful knowing I didn’t have that to fall back on?