Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No! Really?

Millionaire Parents Say Their Kids Are Unfit to Inherit

This is my shocked face. Seriously. Rich parents are saying that their kids
“lacked the requisite capacity or skill, knowledge, experience, judgment or responsible work ethic” to manage the business and inheritance."
While that quote comes from Australian mom & rich person Gina Rinehart, it's reported that half of US millionaire parents agree with her.

The author offers two explanations. One is that the parents value the struggle they faced to become rich, and want their kids to have the same same difficult but fulfilling experience. The other is that they don't feel the kids can handle all that money--they're not prepared emotionally and financially for it.

I'm calling bullshit. Leaving aside the whole notion of not being prepared financially to be financially well off--whatever that means--what I'm seeing is my generation doing what it does best--blaming someone else, in this case their children, for their own failings.

This is something that a large part of the Boomer generation has a great talent for. Back in the 60s it was "The Man" keeping you down (I'm sure the drugs and not working had nothing to do with it). In the 70s it was the economy (again, I'm sure the drugs and not working had nothing to do with it). In the 80s it was greed (and the fact that we didn't have the foresight to get a Harvard MBA of our own and work in investment banking) doing the dirty work. In the 90s it was Wall Street and the Republicans, with an encore presentation in the first decade of the 2000s (with the Global War on Terror added for zest). I have yet to figure out whose fault it is in this decade, but I'm betting on the Mayans with Global Warming to place.

It couldn't possibly be that Mommy and Daddy Richest failed to teach their kids how money works, how to deal with it, how to make it and how to make it grow. I refuse to believe that, not with the evidence of the generations of the Hilton family building a great hotel chain and Paris as their offspring, waiting for her turn to prove herself in business. It cannot be!

What I'm betting really went on is that these successful Boomers were so engrossed in making the money that they ignored everything but that. The heck with the kids, the nanny and the expensive private school will take care of them. We've worked hard to be successful--let's take a vacation on the Riviera, just you and me! And while we're gone, we can have the house redecorated.

Our parents were the Greatest Generation. They survived the Great Depression, won World War II and the Cold War. (Yes, we did win, not that you can tell it now.) But, as imperfect humans, they had their flaws.

Us.

I'm hoping that, rather than taking us as good examples, our children are smart enough to take us as terrible warnings. Our parents, who had been through so much, wanted it to be easier for us, and showered us with everything except the hard lessons they had learned. Don't forget, we've also been called the "Me Generation", and with damned good reason. It's all about us--that's what our parents unwittingly taught us. As a generation, we partied it up and generally enjoyed the hell out of it, and our children, our grandchildren and likely our great-grandchildren will pay the bills.

I hope they will still remember us fondly.

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