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THE LEN LESSER REPORT  

THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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SPOILED CHILDREN ARE PARENTíS WORST NIGHTMARE

So you and your wife have worked very hard and have accumulated over the years a six/ seven figure legacy that you hope will be spent wisely by your children.

Hopefully you have taught your children well to be responsible with their/

your money. They did not need you to pay for their expensive educations, latest fashion in clothes and cars and anything else that strikes their fancy. For too many rich kids money is not a concern and you giving into their wishes is not a God given need.

Some parents are wisely practicing a form of tough money love and finding ways to brat-proof their kids; wanting them to be financially responsible and independent.

I just finished reading the biography, " Distillery" all about the demise of the Bronfman family dynasty by Charles Bronfman: a must read for all parents.

In the year 2000 Edgar Bronfman Junior a 37 year old who had dropped out of university became president of Seagramís. He sold controlling interest in Seagramís and Dupont to Vivendi. When offered cash or stock Junior opted for the stock.

His uncle, Charles, did not want a family rift with his brother Edgar Senior and allowed his son Edgar Junior to be the CEO of Seagramís. Junior thought that Seagramís and Dupont were boring investments and wanted to get into MCA. Charles described the sale as "it is a disaster, it will be a disaster,"a family disaster."

You canít blame it on Sam Bronfman the grandfather and founder of Seagramís. He left behind billions
to be administered by his two sons Edgar Senior and Charles. Sam called the shots before he passed
on the reins to his family: "shirt- sleeve to shirtless in three generations" prediction. Junior nearly bankrupted the family fortune.

Often times the first generation creates, the second generation appreciates and the third generation lacking the work ethic/will power simply choose to take the cash.

I have had young men who I have counselled tell me that they have made plans for their future. "They are waiters". No they do not want to work in a restaurant; "they are waiting for their parents to die". Winters at Whistler Ski Resort and summers in Europe at the folks expense. In the interim it helps the moocher to marry into a wealthy family to pay for the expensive summer/ winter vacations.

Perhaps we can all learn from Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, who is the richest man in the world. He has made it no secret that 99% of his estimated $65 billion US will go to charity. He advises that " A very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing." He has graciously has paid for his childrenís education but refused a loan of $30,000 to update his daughterís kitchen. " You donít need it."

Overindulgence is one of the main concerns that wealthy parents have about their children and grandchildren. There are no university courses to learn to manage their inheritances and spend the
folks money wisely.

Very young children have to be taught the word "NO" when they ask for trivial stuff on your way from
the cashier counter in the super market. They should be encouraged to open a bank account with 1/3
to save, 1/3 to charity and 1/3 to spend wisely.

You do not pay your kids money to make their beds, pick up after themselves, help make their school lunches, shovel the walk, take the dog for a walk or cut the grass on your 30ft frontage home.

Financial planning by the family for university should start in Grade 9 with the opening of a tax free education account.

The Frosh should pay for the first semester college/university tuition and mom and dad pick up the tab
for second semester after reviewing the marks to ensure that he/she is not going to school to party an become a Christmas grad( kicked out of school)

In the last year of university the prospective grads should make plans in December where they are
going to work after the graduation ceremonies. Staying in university for a 5th, 6th post-grad Poli Sci,
Arts, Anthropology or Philosophy credits is not a wise viable choice..

Expensive trips to South East Asia/Iceland for the grads to find themselves is a waste of their time and your hard earned money. If your son/daughter wants to find them- self it is simple: go into the bathroom, turn on the light, look in the mirror and voila there they are.

I suspect that the vast majority of kids from rich families will not like my column. I hope parents learn not to be enablerís.

Drop me an e mail lenlesser@hotmail.com Len is an education/career counsellor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com