Affluenza: The more I buy, the happier I'll become
Giving in to the initial flood of excitement around receiving an inheritance could be dangerous, says Bradley. "The impulse is to go out and buy lots of shiny new things," she says. But "usually that first round of impulses won't get you lasting happiness."
Instead, she advises, take a minor amount of money and buy something to scratch the initial itch. Consider "trying on" bigger, longer-term purchases by renting rather than buying. Lease the expensive car for a year, for example, before making a commitment to ownership.
Collins says inheritors should look at happy people and consider how much it would take in material goods to achieve and maintain that outlook. "We all desire some level of materialism," he says, but "above a certain level, it doesn't increase your happiness."
To balance out what he calls "the Gatsby syndrome," he advises people who inherited wealth to immerse themselves in simple living. "Realize that wealth isn't just money -- it's community and balance and living in a healthy environment," he says. "There are plenty of wealthy people who have figured this out."