I inherited a fortune and then frittered it all away

Graham Roos knew that he was in for a windfall. But when he got it, he blew it

MY GREAT aunt inherited a fortune when her rich fiance died, and I always knew that I would inherit part of it from her. I wasn't told how much but I knew that it would be a substantial amount.

My parents weren't rich. My dad is working class and ironically he too gained a fortune when he won the pools in the Fifties, but lost the money through a bad investment. My mother saw the inheritance more as a curse than a blessing and said that it had never brought anyone any happiness. However, I had a taste for the high life from an early age: as a child I wanted to live in a palace with banquets and sorcerers.

My great aunt was a very grand woman who reminded me of the Duchess of Windsor, with all her elegant clothes and jewels. When I began to rebel, she threatened to cut me out of her will unless I toed the line, so I rebelled all the more. Perhaps I was too extreme: I had a weird look, weird music, weird interests, black hair one day, red hair the next. I was an eccentric with extravagant tastes.

I went to university to study history and when I left I had a number of good jobs but never stuck at them because I knew that I was soon going to be rich.

Two years ago, when I was 26, my aunt died and I inherited about a third of a million, much more than I'd expected. My reaction was to start spending it on a grand scale, having all the fun that my great aunt had failed to have.

I stopped working and basically frittered the money away on a ''sex and drugs and rock'n'roll'' lifestyle. I spent it on flashy Concorde trips, a private jet, a flat and lots of smart, posh holidays. I bought works of art and antiquities, I blew a lot on cocaine, and I had huge, expensive parties. I'd take out pounds 2,000 on a Friday and would have none left by the Monday. The partying got more and more frantic as time went on. It was a life of sensation seeking. I wanted to taste and experience the vast spectrum of life.

I was naive when I inherited the money but I've been on a huge learning curve since. At the time, my ego was massaged because I couldn't distinguish between the people who genuinely liked me and those who thought, ''let's help this fool get rid of some of his money''. I thought it was never going to run out and inevitably I got ripped off. I started off feeling like a star and ended up as a bit of a prat.

I was surprised by how quickly I spent it all. Towards the end I began to ask myself what I was doing. I was taking a lot of drugs and leading a very decadent life. I got very paranoid and didn't know who my real friends were. I realised that if I continued, it was a lifestyle that would destroy me.

I had a strange moment after I came back from Jerusalem. I was very interested in the occult and mysticism and I thought that money could buy spiritual awareness. I tried to put a Gnostic magic mirror up on the wall but it fell to the floor and smashed. From that moment, everything started to go wrong. I lost all the money I had saved through a bad investment. A lecturing job I'd been banking on fell through, so did a potential love affair, and I was robbed and hadn't bothered to keep up my insurance.

I suddenly felt spiritually kicked in the arse for taking everything for granted. I saw myself as decadent and felt very ashamed and very humble.

By now I was at my wits end and in debt, with bills mounting up, and I was forced to take a job in a launderette. It took me five months to pick up my self esteem and realise who I was and what I'd been through. Ten months later, I've learned my lesson, paid my penance and now I'm being rewarded again, but with proper things.

I don't regret what happened because I've learned so much. Now the essential things in life for me are home, love, food, and money for bills. I'm still in touch with my parents - my father never judged me and my mother told me that she knew I'd waste the money, although she had hoped that she would never have to worry about me ever again.

I did buy a lottery ticket, rather hoping that I would win because this time round I'd know what to do with it. I'd share it out, set up charities and find out where it would be most useful. But in spite of my own experience, I was pleased that the lottery winners were ordinary people. If the money had been won by an MP, a rich business man or a lord, I think they would have been morally obliged to give the money back to the people.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

    Service Desk Analyst - (Active Directory, Support, London)

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...

    Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

    Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition