Are your kids suffering from too well off syndrome? If so, how do you turn things around?
You, like so many successful individuals, have a nagging concern about teaching your children and grandchildren the mindset and skills to handle the challenges that come with inherited wealth. Simply growing up watching you make sound financial decisions isn’t enough to prepare your children for the great responsibility they’ll carry one day when wealth transfer takes place.
Dr. Ray Guarendi, a prominent child psychologist and author, sets up two simple rules to employ from babyhood on into the teen and young adult years:
- Don’t give your kids all you’re able to when it comes to material things.
- Don’t give your kids all they want you to give to them in material things.
It is possible you have already broken these two rules with your children or maybe extended family insists on showering your kids with all of the latest trends and fashions and even some that aren’t trending.
The rationale behind our pleasing may be that we want to give our children and grandchildren what we didn’t have growing up, that we love to see them happy and of course, why not give them what they like since we can afford it.
Although these overindulgences may come with love and good intentions, they can set kids up with struggles and burdens that far surpass the usual challenges that come with inherited wealth. This overindulgence can cause the children to develop a mindset of entitlement.
So, how can you begin to counteract the mindset this causes?
- Enlists the help of your immediate and extended family – in addition to keeping the 2 rules mentioned above, Dr. Guarendi suggests that you enlist your relatives to help with your goals. Explain how your goal is to teach them to direct their love to the people themselves and move away from material things.
- Appeal to your children’s generous spirit – make up a game! Go on a “treasure hunt”, of sorts, in their closets and play areas. Find clothes they’ve outgrown, “like new” toys they don’t use anymore, and other gently used items and donate them to a local charity or church.
- Volunteer as a family – volunteering at a soup kitchen, repairing homes for the needy, visiting elderly shut-ins, or at any other community outreach program can begin to sow the seeds of charity.
- Allow your children to recommend grants from your donor advised fund – with your help, children can research the charities that support the causes they are passionate about and learn how their grant has helped mitigate some specific need.
Over time, this act of giving in this way will expand and deepen their natural desire to help others. Working closely with you will instill in them a sense of pride in their family history and ignite a desire to continue the legacy well into adulthood and with their own children. It’s in this way that you will ensure they will have the appreciation and respect for your work and those who went before them. You will feel better knowing that they are armed with the skills required to handle inherited wealth in the future and that it’s all worth it.