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How To Teach Rich Kids About Money?

Contributed by mm | August 6, 2007 1:18 AM PST

Many of personal finance bloggers do not have formal financial education, and I am no exception. Therefore, I can never imagine what will be taught in a $5,000-entrance-fee retreat aming at boosting the financial skills of kids from super-rich families. WSJ Robert Frank reported the dismal outcome: only a few of the silver spoons "could explain the difference between a stock and a mutual fund."

Here is Robert's conclusion of the growing niche of financial education for the rich kids:

"When I got to the Skills Retreat, I thought it would confirm my worst fears about growing inequality. Here was a camp designed specifically to help rich kids get richer (or at least, keep them from getting poorer). It was yet another way for the children of wealth to get a leg up on members of the middle class, who can't afford financial education camps and won't have big inheritances to carry them through life.

Yet after two days, I realized I was wrong. Today's rich kids may be cash-rich, but many are skills-poor, with little chance of growing their wealth or landing top jobs. Raised in a bubble of privilege and insulated from the competitive pressures of the everyday world, many tend to have low self-confidence, little drive and few of the necessary tools to succeed in today's global economy. Only a few of the kids, for instance, could explain the difference between a stock and a mutual fund.

In the end, I concluded that these kids wouldn't be tomorrow's chief executives and billionaire entrepreneurs. Most would probably drift through life spending their parents' money and hoping it would last. Tomorrow's economic superstars will more likely come from the striving middle class, just as they have for much of American history.

And all that inherited wealth will wind up going to people who actually earned it -- an encouraging sign for those of us worried about the wealth gap."

Should I feel blessed? At least, my 6-year-old can do three-figure additions and substractions in his little head now.

This Post Has Received 65 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.

Myself Commented on August 6, 2007

That's pretty darn good (3 digit addition and subtraction in his head). Our twins only do 2 digit addition/subtraction in their head, and they're 7. But of course, we've been working on multiplication/division/percentages as of this summer. Granted, they won't be doing that until 3rd grade I believe.

NP Commented on August 7, 2007

debatable, rich dad poor dad

The Dividend Guy Commented on August 7, 2007

This is amazing but not too shocking. I think in general, whether your family is rich or poor, the education on the financial systems of the world to children is not great. My wife and I have started a system (I got the idea from someone else so I can't take credit for it) with our 6 year old and 4 year old. Each week they receive an allowance for ensuring their room is clean every night before bed. If this is accomplished (and we are very strict about it), then they each receive $5 which is separated into 3 jars - savings, investing, and giving. On the investing side, every time they have saved $25, I am going to put the money into a Canadian Shareowners Association account where they will select a stock to buy based on what they like and know about (Disney, Coca-Cola, etc). I hope this will teach them some financial concepts that will help them in their later years. Commented on August 8, 2007

I concur with Dividend Guy, our education system is broken. I love your idea about teaching your children about saving and investing!

I find a lot of rich kids don't need to work as hard to get things in life, and as a result, they don't always have the same drive, determination and passion that their self-made parents do. That said, it doesn't take a genius to manage money in a reasonable smart way and they sure have a head start!

Personal Finance Management Guide Commented on November 23, 2007

The preteen years are a golden time to teach your kids about saving for the future. They already know the value of money, having learned basic money concepts in school, and the mathematical operations involved.

If they have abided by your rule to set aside 10 percent of their cash gifts received as savings over the years, then they already have "seed money" invested. They're not starting from zero. If these savings were deposited in a savings account, then show them how their money grew over time. The steps you take now to teach your children about saving and investing will bear fruit in the future. I have discussed the 9 Easy Steps on How to Teach Kids about Saving and Investing for the Future. Please follow link to read more...

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