“One of my father’s most precious legacies to me was spiritual. I learned from him the value of courage and the strength of will.” – Armand Hammer (Hammer, 1987)
TG told me that a mutual friend, OJ, had burned through an inheritance of $180,000 in a year. Most of it went to drinking and drugs. Two years later, OJ has nothing to show for it, is living in the basement of a friend’s house, and is still hustling for his beer money.
So what do you do with your kids? Do you leave them your money?
TR, PR’s wife, doesn’t want to leave their children anything. She believes the best they can do is to give them a good education, a moral way of looking at things, and the freedom to make their own way.
That’s a brave stance. One I’ve pretended to take with my own children. (Just so they won’t get complacent.) But as PR points out, there is something very fundamental about the desire to see your offspring succeed. It’s in the DNA. It’s the same thing that drives you to choose an attractive, energetic, sympathetic spouse to begin with.
But, although you recognize that sometimes the best thing you can do for your children is nothing, it’s hard to do so.
I don’t pretend to have the ultimate answer. But here are a few suggestions to start out with:
1. Tell them repeatedly that they are not going to inherit a nickel. This will preclude them from getting complacent and curtail the chance they’ll have you murdered.
2. Don’t spoil them. Give them less allowance than their peers and fewer gifts of all sorts. Give them presents only on birthdays and holidays.
3. Never buy them anything just because their friends have it.
4. Make them work three jobs. Their first job is schoolwork. If they don’t maintain good grades, they shouldn’t be allowed to do anything else. Their second job is to help out around the house. They should put in at least four solid hours of work each week — grunt work they don’t get paid for. This is to acknowledge their obligation to the family. Their third job is for themselves. Get them working part-time as soon as they are able to work. Let them know you expect them to generate their own income. Make it a habit.
In addition to the above, get your kids into the habit of saving. The best and easiest way to do this is with Justin Ford’s program, Seeds of Wealth. This will give you a simple and complete strategy for putting all your children’s earned money (and allowance) where it should be in order to ensure their future success.
Do that and get into the habit of saying “no.” If your kids are like mine, you’ll need to say “no” more often than you say “yes.” Children want and need to hear that smallest little word of love. “No.”
This isn’t the Ten Commandments — but it’s a pretty good start. I’d like to hear some more ideas from you. Please post them on “Speak Out” (www.earlytorise.com).