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Raising Healthy Wealthy Kids:
Improving Your Chances

Increasingly Key Resources is contacted by high net worth families to guide them through the challenges of raising their children to become responsible, self-reliant adults who contribute to society. For the very rich, raising healthy kids poses special challenges. Each child is different, with his or her own unique strengths and weaknesses, and they come with no guarantees or money-back offers! We do, however, have some recommendations for improving your odds of helping your children become responsible and self-reliant adults:

1. Begin with the end in mind; think about your children as adults.

  • What are the values that you want them to learn?
  • What is important to you and your family?
  • What do you want them to remember from your teachings and parenting?
  • What kind of relationship do you want with them?

2. Draft a family mission statement

The family mission states what the family stands for, what it values, how the family will use its wealth, and a broad strategy for accomplishing these goals. It should be simple, clear, and unambiguous. It should inspire, and motivate, be achievable, realistic and visionary. It should make the family stronger, more cohesive and enduring, so that successes can be passed from one generation to the next.

Whether it is short or long, the mission statement must be one that everyone understands and will remember. The term derives from the metaphor of the family as a business; yet the analogy continues to be a useful one, for the object of the family mission, in most cases, runs parallel to that of the well-managed enterprise: to organize our financial, intellectual, and human assets for the purpose of preserving and enhancing each of these in succeeding generations. (Check out this article on building a family mission statement at worth.com)

Mission statements often include:

  • Family's shared values: value system and system of beliefs the family shares
  • Rules and procedures for interacting; communications and information: how the family shares financial and other information among its members; how will family resolve disputes; and rules for family meetings
  • Meaning and use of wealth; and how family will manage the wealth and charitable activities.
  • Hopes for the future and family legacy.

Think about the above issues and talk about them. Separate the responses into categories by dividing them into goals (what you are striving for) and how you will reach the goals. You can shorten the lists by combining similar ideas. Keep going over the suggestions and re-writing them until everyone is in agreement on what your family mission statement should include. Each family member should ultimately agree, since working together toward the same objective is essential for a family to work toward a shared vision.

Putting a mission statement in writing makes it stronger, emphasizes its importance, and reinforces commitment. Other than that, a mission statement does not have to conform to any set of rules. It may be in the form of prose or poetry. It can be a phrase, a sentence, or an entire page. It may incorporate a picture, symbol, or mottoYour mission statement will remind you of the discussions you had on each topic, so it will have a special meaning for your family that goes beyond the meaning it would have for anyone else.

Guiding Questions for the Process of creating a Mission Statement:

  • Individuals
    • What do I want for myself?
    • How do I envision the future?
  • Couples/parents
    • What do I want for us?
    • What kind of parents do we to be?
    • What do we want for our kids?
  • What is the purpose of the wealth?
  • What are expectations for the next generation that we as parents share? That we differ on?
  • What are rules of behavior that we share? That we differ on? (Be specific at this stage.)
  • When and how do we want to deal with the issue of our children 'coming into wealth'?
  • What is the best use of our wealth?
  • What does it mean to be a family? What things are most important to us as a family? What are our strengths as a family, and what areas could use some improvement? What do other people say about our family? What do we want them to say about us?
  • What are the priorities on which we want our family to focus (e.g., trust, honesty, kindness, service)? What guiding principles and values do we want our family to live by? What would we like to accomplish as a family?
  • What competencies do we want to develop (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually)? What are the responsibilities of parents and children?
  • What kind of home environment do we want?
  • What are our long-term goals and expectations for the future? What is our purpose in life?
  • How do we want to be remembered? What is our legacy?

Here are some examples of family mission statements:

From Preparing Heirs, Williams and Preisser, V. (2003)

  • To use our resources to strengthen our family and to support causes in which we believe.
  • To strengthen our family and use its assets wisely; to enable our family and others to realize their fullest potential; to value and encourage love, work, self-sufficiency, and cooperation within the family and in the larger community.
  • To maximize the equitable transfer of my assets in a way that will enable and encourage my heirs to work for the benefit of humanity.

From Managing for the Long Run, Miller, D.& Le Breton-Miller, I. (2005) (See book review below)

  • New York Times The past takes the form of a proven legacy handed over from the previous generation-an heirloom to be respected and treasured-as is the Times' mission (in spite of recent Jason Blair episode) of being a public trust. Matriarch Iphigene Sulzberger, who died in 1990 at the age of 98, spanned all the generations of the paper back to Adolph Ochs, who first purchased the Times. She saw her purpose as transmitting to the 'kids' Adolph's core values of "duty, unity, and the central importance of nurturing the New York Times".

  • The Halls of Hallmark ("You care enough to send the very best.") They articulate in their credo very clear values and intentions. "Enriching people's lives and enhancing their relationships (at the very top of the list), creativity and quality in products, distinguished financial performance is a must, not as an end in itself, but as a means to accomplish our broader mission.

  • From: Tom Chappell, Co-founder and CEO of Tom's of Maine
    (See www.saltwater.org/our_story/beliefs.htm)
    We believe that responsible human beings and societies are structured around the following commonly held values:

    • respect and appreciation for the natural world
    • service and stewardship
    • the necessity for work and productivity
    • an intentional commitment to goodness
    • Family and community responsibility

3. Teach your children the 4 Qs:

  • EQ (Emotional Intelligence)= Self awareness, self control; motivation; empathy; social skills

  • TQ (Team Intelligence)= EQ plus the ability to negotiate and communicate with others, to deal effectively with conflicts; make collective decisions in a team; to listen and collaborate.

  • FQ (Financial Intelligence)= Earning, saving, managing, spending and giving money wisely.

  • WQ (Wealth Intelligence)= FQ plus appreciating the meaning of wealth, managing financial relationships, and using wealth wisely.

We have developed guidelines and resources for teaching the "Qs" for each of the developmental stages, from ages 2 through 35. It is important to tailor your teachings to each stage and to answer the questions: What works at what age? When does wealth begin to affect the child? When is the best time to tell them? What are the risks of each age? If you'd like more information about our program: "Dollars and Sense of the 4 Qs", please contact us.

4. Remember this is about more than money; it's about raising responsible, independent kids.

A. Time is a major challenge, especially for wealthy families. There is no substitute for spending time with your children. Resist over-using caretakers. Values and virtues are passed along during the 'hands-on' times of diaper changing, bed times, disciplining, helping with homework, assigning and helping with chores.

B. Make sure your caretakers and others know what you want to teach your kids and what and how you want the family values communicated.

C. A basic question constantly comes up: "Will knowing about our wealth take away their motivation to work, their sense of responsibility, their independence?" From my experience, and that of others (see reference list at the end of the article), it is clear that:

  • It won't if you raise them with a strong work ethic, good self-esteem, sense of responsibility, and emotional and financial literacy.
  • More damage is done by waiting too long to discuss specifics of the family's resources, although under 15 seems too early. However, kids figure it out very early and may not feel comfortable about it-kids want to fit in. Secrecy sets into motion dynamics that hinder our ability to cope.
  • Too much money too early will drive away the incentive, especially before they have been prepared and have developed the 4 Qs.
  • Research and experience seems to distinguish those who do well with inherited wealth. They:
    • Have had a broad spectrum of life experiences.
    • Have parents who have been open and straightforward with age appropriate information and teachings and expect children to be self-sufficient
    • Have had the money distributed over time rather than all at once, or as Warren Buffett says, "I'm In favor of "giving my children enough money that they can do anything but not so much that they could do nothing.")
    • Have been taught to be financially competent and are expected to be responsible with and for their money
    • Have a passion to follow in life.
    • Know parents' concerns and expectations of them.
    • The whole family is involved. It does take a village.

5. Money does not bring happiness.
("Happiness is not a goal but a by-product."-Eleanor Roosevelt)

In fact, research has shown that lottery winners are as happy as paraplegics. We all have a 'set point' of happiness, which is about 60% genetic (so choose your parents well!). No matter what happens to us, good or bad, we tend to bounce back to our set point

However, the following are ways we can improve our happiness 'set point'. We can and should teach our children to practice them:

a. Make the right choices about time & money
b. Give to others, time and money
c. Practice gratitude exercises: daily, state at least one thing you are grateful for.
d. Identify strengths and find new ways to use them
e. Gravitate toward people and activities that energize, don't drain you.
f. Find humor in things. (You know the optimist is one who finds a pile of horse manure in his yard and says, "There's got to be a horse here somewhere.")

For more info on this topic, check out:
http://authentichappiness.org/ http://www.psych.uiuc.edu/~ediener/hottopic/hottopic.html

Recommended Reading:

Kids (Age 8 and under)

Godfrey, Neale S. (1998) Ultimate Kids' Money Book. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Hauser, Barbara.(2001) Mommy Are We Rich? Talking to Children about Family Money, Mesatop Press.

Rogers, Fred (2000). The Giving Box. Philadelphia: Running Press.

Kids (Ages 8-12)

Bateman, Katherine, (2001) The Young Investors: Projects and Activities for Making Your Money. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Berg, Adriane and Arthur Bochner. (2002) The Totally Awesome Money Book for Kids. (Ages 10-17)

Otfinoski, Steve and Kelly Kennedy,(1996) The Kid's Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending It, Growing It, Sharing It. (Ages 9-12) Scholastic Reference.


Burkett, Larry and Todd Temple. (1998) Money Matters for Teens Workbook. Age 11-14
Edition. Chicago: Moody Press.

Burkett, Larry and Todd Temple.(1998) Money Matters for Teens Workbook. Age 15-18
Edition. Chicago: Moody Press.

Smith, Pat and Lynn Roney.(2000) Wow The Dow! New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Parents and Kids and Families

Blouin, Barbara , Ed. (2001) Coming into Money: preparing your children for an inheritance. Halifax Canada: The Inheritance Project/Trio Press

Blouin, Barbara , Ed. (2001) The Legacy of Inherited Wealthy: Interviews with heirs, Halifax Canada: The Inheritance Project/Trio Press
Brooks, Andrée Aelion. Children of Fast-Track Parents. New York: Viking, 1989.

Brown, Bonnie (2004) Unexpected Wealth: A Fire Drill. Euguene OR: TDI Press.

Collier, Charles (2001). Wealth in Families. Cambridge MA: Harvard University.

Dashew, Leslie(1997) Health, Wealth and Families, Tucson: Beowulf Publications.

Dungan, Nathan. (2003) Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to be Your Child's ATM. New York: Wiley.

Glen, S. & Nelsen, J. (1988) Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People. Fair Oaks, CA: Sunrise Press.

Gallo, Eileen and John.(2001) Silver Spoon Kids. New York: Contemporary Books.

Godfrey, Joline (2003) Raising Financially Fit Kids. Toronto: Ten Speed Press.

Goldbart, S., J. DiFuria, & D. Jaffee. (2003) Chldren and Money: The Impact of Wealth on Raising Children of All Ages, a publication of the Money, Meaning & Choices Institute, Kentfield, CA.

Hausner, Lee (1990) Children of Paradise: Successful Parenting for Prosperous Families. Los Angeles: Tarcher.

Hughes, James E. Hughes, Jr.(1997) Family Wealth: Keeping it in the Family. NetWrx, Inc.

Lermitte, Paul W.(2002) Making Allowances: A dollars and sense guide to teaching kids about money. New York: McGraw Hill.

Pearl, Jayne A.(1999) Kids and Money: Giving Them Savvy to Succeed Financially. Princeton: Bloomberg Press, and workbook: "How to Gimme-Proof your Kids"

Price, Susan Crites. The Giving Family - Raising Our Children to Help Others. The Council on Foundations, 2001

Rottenberg, Dan (1999). The Inheritor's Handbook: A Definitive Guide for Beneficiaries. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Stawski, Willard II. Kids, Parents & Money: Teaching Personal Finance From Piggy Bank To Prom. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000.

Weltman, Barbara. The Complete Idiot's Guide To Raising Money-Smart Kids. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1999.

Williams, Roy and Preisser, Vic. (2003) Preparing Heirs. San Francisco: Robert Reed Publishers.

Willis, Thayer Cheatham.(2003) Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth: A Life Guide for Inheritors. Portland, Oregon: New Concord Press.



www.cashuniversity.com: teaching parents and children to handle money

www.familyeducation.com: general resource site for families

www.financial-education-icfe.org: Institute of Consumer Financial Education website

www.inheritance-project.com: impact of inherited wealth

www.kidsbanking.com: a place for children to learn about money and banking

www.moneymentors.net - provides information for parents wanting to teach children money management skills

www.morethanmoney.org: journal and resource for families of wealth

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu (article "Teaching Kids about Money: Why It's Not Just Fun and Games")

The Allowance Game (Lakeshore Learning Materials, 800-421-5354)

Payday (8 and up)

Careers (10 and up)

Money Cents (5 and up)

Game of Life (9 and up)

Mall Madness (9 and up)

Monopoly (8 and up)

The Bottom Line

Deluxe Pit

Stockticker (9 and up)

Wall Street


Born Rich (Available through www.amazon.com) In this video, Jamie Johnson, 20 year old heir to the Johnson & Johnson empire, turns the camera on himself and 10 of his friends. This is an eye-opening and cautionary tale of the effects of wealth.



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