Pierre du Pont recently published a LinkedIn article titled “Raising Children Into Wealth: Hungry, Productive and Compassionate“. In it, Pierre shares some excellent insights and suggestions about raising children to be the kind of young people (and, eventually, even older people) who handle wealth successfully. Although common sense is a start, there is more to it than that, and Pierre’s ideas are worth reading and considering. I was pleased to be able to contribute just a bit with two thoughts about children and wealth.
First, raising children is, of course, a process and not a one-time event. Similarly, conversations and guidance to children about how to deal with wealth and how to be both hungry for a productive life and, also, compassionate people need to be ongoing. It’s best to start early and, in truth, it never really ends. They say that once you become a parent, you are one for as long as you are able. So, too, you continue to provide an example in the way you live, long after your children reach adulthood.
Second, it is essential to talk with children and not at them. It can be tempting to provide “guidance” in a one-dimensional way. Heck, I am the parent, aren’t I? Yet any meaningful education about family values, legacy, or wealth will have far more impact if it is a conversation and not a lecture. (True of most topics!) We can tell children all about the family’s past and how it got to where it is today. That is probably necessary, though not sufficient. Children need to think about where they fit into the picture in the present, and in the future. A genuine discussion allows that thought process to begin — and to continue over time.