Money Lessons for Children – Within Families of Wealth

Author of a new book, “Raised Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Lessons from Successful and Grounded Inheritors and How They Got That Way,” by Coventry “Covie” Edwards-Pitt, joined us in Seattle on Friday, May 15 at a jointly hosted luncheon between MIYFS, The Seattle Foundation and the Mercer Island community.

May 15 Photo(left to right: Kim Wright, Director of Philathropic Services at The Seattle Foundation; Cynthia Goodwin, Director of Mercer Island Youth & Family Services; Coventry Edwards-Pitt, Chief Wealth Advisory Officer at Ballentine Partners; and Barbara Potashnick, MIYFS Foundation Board Member

At our luncheon, Covie explained why it’s sometimes harder for kids who grew up with money to be motivated to complete goals. It is also hard for parents to set limits. Often, the children have everything taken care of for them, and this experience robs them of the chance to be self-reliant. Covie reflected on several of her interviews, where she discovered four critical areas where the successful parents guided their children, including:

1. How to earn their own money and live largely contentedly off of money they’ve earned
2. How to set and pursue their own vocational goals
3. Have a self-worth that is not wholly wrapped up in the family’s wealth or influence
4. Have an earned sense of resilience and ability to overcome setbacks

Covie found that while often these parents helped, even around kids starting businesses, this help often capped out at only around 10-20%. The rest came from the hard work and success of the kids.  She also acknowledges some of the challenges that wealthy parents face because it’s often easier to say yes than no. Covie recommends parents focus on helping their children learn how to make money on their own vs. material gifts.

“That the value of working, and learning what it means to work for others, has powerful formative repercussions later in life. These children learn what it means to have someone expect something of them, be accountable for the results of their efforts, have someone thank them for their work, and develop a productive role in the world.” – Excerpt from the Afterword by Drew McMorrow, President of Ballantine Partners.

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