I recently heard about an entrepreneurial woman who started a business that now employs her husband and over 100 employees. The business has been enormously successful. The couple has two young children and all is well–except that they are starting to worry about a problem they never thought they’d have: raising wealthy children.
You may have heard about affluenza, a made up name for a so-called “illness” that wealthy people are particularly susceptible to catching. It’s characterized by over-spending, feeling and acting entitled to things most people have to earn, and disrespect for rules in a variety of settings and situations. A simpler name for it might be “spoiled”.
Raising wealthy kids does have its own unique set of challenges. From my work with women in family businesses, some who are quite wealthy, I’ve realized that the issue is as much about the values parents set as it is about money. Many family business owners have a strong work ethic, contribute time to their communities, and are committed to philanthropy. They set limits on their own spending and frequently express gratitude for what they have. Their values-and they way they live them out-are as important a “currency” they give to their children as their wealth.
What values were you raised with-and did they affect your relationship with money? If you have children, what values do you hope to instill? How will you do that? I think these are questions worth considering.
If you have experiences and insights you’d be willing to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some references you may find helpful:
Acquirers’ and Inheritors’ Dilemma: Discovering Life Purpose and Building Personal Identity in the Presence of Wealth