Wealthy parents of young children, or even of young adult children, are typically desperately concerned about the financial maturity of their children. They don’t want to raise or create trust fund babies, and they don’t want to raise spoiled brats. Yet many are at a loss as to why, despite their good intentions and efforts, their children do not appear to be reaching financial maturity. So what’s happening? Of course, every situation is unique — but in this post we focus on one very common issue: Being raised around wealth has its own challenges for both parent and child.
Recently in a client meeting, I was told of one teenage daughter’s protest at her father’s admonition to stop acting like a spoiled, little kid. “Don’t spoil me and call me spoiled,” she shouted — words which have stayed with her father to this day. In that moment, he realized that by enjoying the wealth that they had been blessed with, and allowing their daughter to enjoy it along with them, they had effectively — although unintentionally — provided the perfect environment for “spoilage.”
Whether that’s true for you and your family or not requires introspection and perhaps some difficult conversations with someone who can provide an unbiased perspective on your family. But if your goal is truly to raise financial mature and responsible children, consider the following:
- Should you cut back on your family’s lifestyle in certain ways to reduce the chances of spoilage?
- Evaluate whether you are unconsciously over-providing in response to your own less wealthy upbringing or past financial hardships.
- Engage your children as to whether they feel they are being spoiled. You may be surprised at their level of insight on the subject — even at a fairly young age.
- Lastly, although related to the first, ask yourself the tough question: are my actions consistent with valuing my own lifestyle and comfort over my child’s future financial maturity?
Do you have other things you think should be considered?