Preparing Your Children for Wealth and Philanthropy
Listen to Harry Martin, a Family Business Advisor and Family Office Expert explain why good parenting is the necessary ingredient to create business families who have the values and disciplines to be sustainable in the long term. Youth that have been raised with the knowledge of giving back, will be more helpful when it comes to making philanthropic decisions in the family business.
A lot of people think, “Gee, would it not be wonderful to be rich?” Not necessarily. The best thing to be is in a family where everybody values you and makes you do your best, and you become a really human being – does not matter what you do. And there are times when you may need money, but money is an enemy of the good parenting, and the good parenting is what is going to create families who have the values and the discipline to continue their family company and continue the values and start giving back to the world. The Rockefellers were like that. The Rockefellers are not remembered for their money, the Rockefellers are remembered, because they had the agricultural institute that found the rice that is twice as… They had the medical institute that founded this. Some families have at the age of six and eight and ten, the kids would get in the car, and they would take their allowance, and they would take their toys, and they would go to places where people had very little money, and they would give toys, and they would give food, and they would cook meals. That is the way to teach a child showing that wealth is a responsibility not a privilege. Talk to kids about it. We are amazed how our grandchildren understand stuff that we do not think they do, and then show you have got a philanthropic program. But if you are dealing with teenagers or kids in their early twenties, they tend to be idealistic at least some of them. They tend to care about the world. So if you are saying, “Gee, let us show you about the family investment and how we are going to do global asset allocation, do we buy gold or merging markets?” Are they going to be interested in that? Or you say, “Look, we have a family foundation. We have to decide where we are going to give the money, because it will be more meaningful if we target. Do we do single mother help? Do we do help for orphan children? Where do we do it? You can sit around the table with us, and we are going to talk about it together.” They are going to have good ideas. They are going to feel they are participating. So without the parenting, all the governance, the family meetings, the family counsels, forget it, because you have got to have people in those family counsels and meetings who have learned how to live and be responsible people.