Inherited wealth need not be “an albatross around the neck of the children” as Sting so succinctly put it recently when asked if he was leaving his wealth to his children.
His children will not see much of his millions, but not all wealthy parents feel the way he does. Many a great family fortune has been built by successive generations of the same family – and many lost as well. The difference is that successful families develop skills in the next generation for respecting, protecting and growing inherited wealth.
Covie Edwards-Pitt, the author of a book called Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, says there are four critical skills children must develop before they receive an inheritance from parents or a trust. She interviewed scores of successful inheritors to identify theses four skills, which are:
The ability to earn their own money and live off what they make.Children raised with wealth feel they are the most successful when they earn enough on their own to support themselves without the family money.
The ability to set and pursue their own work goals. Children of wealth who are encouraged to find work they enjoy are much more likely to find satisfaction in that work if they are taught that it takes time and perseverance to reach this goal and that they should focus on learning from every job and give it their best.
The ability to develop self-worth that is separate from family wealth. Children who develop a core identity based on their own accomplishments and the choices they make in life are much happier and more successful.
The ability to be resilient and bounce back from adversity. Family wealth can cushion many blows, but the most successful inheritors are those who were allowed to experience and navigate failure on their own.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation.