STrICT, A HIS­TOrY

“The el­dest son was sit­ting on At­tila’s own couch, right on the very edge, with his eyes fixed on the ground in fear of his fa­ther.” beau­ti­ful dresses I give her... as she cares about me!”

Town & Country (Philippines) - - #MODERNFAMILY -

But even if the par­ents’ salaries do not ap­pear in pub­lic doc­u­ments, most fam­i­lies that are luck­ier than av­er­age show it in some way. Kids look for clues about where they stand, and they find them in all sorts of places you might not ex­pect. I went hunt­ing for my par­ents’ tax re­turns when I was a teen— and found them.

So when the ques­tion of your net worth comes up, as it even­tu­ally may, con­sider how the re­sponse will go over if you refuse to an­swer. What mes­sage does it send? One of trust? Of trans­parency? An ac­knowl­edge­ment of money’s power? Sure, you can tell the younger ones that they don’t have the con­text to un­der­stand the an­swer quite yet. But once you’ve done your job of teach­ing them about money, an eva­sive an­swer won’t be sat­is­fy­ing for an older teenager who is rea­son­ably dis­creet and ought to know the real deal.

Be­sides the con­cern that a teen will blab, many par­ents worry about en­ti­tle­ment, or the loss of a proper work ethic, if kids come to be­lieve that they will have a lot of money com­ing to them sooner rather than later. But all such wealth trans­fer de­ci­sions are rev­ersible, and you can re­write trust doc­u­ments fairly eas­ily. Noth­ing is guar­an­teed, and our chil­dren should know that, too.

And so it goes in the Krawcheck house­hold. The kids—the son is now 23, out of col­lege and teach­ing English in Tai­wan, and the daugh­ter is a 20-year-old stu­dent—may have a bit of money com­ing to them as part of the fam­ily’s es­tate plan­ning, but the amount de­clines over time. If the par­ents live a long time, a lot more money will go to the Univer­sity of North Carolina, where Krawcheck was a Moore­head Scholar (per­haps the most pres­ti­gious un­der­grad­u­ate award for an in­com­ing stu­dent in all of Amer­ica).

Mean­while, her chil­dren are well aware of the trade-offs that their mother has made to get her new busi­ness off the ground, in­clud­ing down­siz­ing to a smaller apart­ment in Man­hat­tan. What about when her old­est re­turns from overseas? “There will be no hous­ing al­lowance,” she says, chuck­ling. “And we’ve told him he’s not mov­ing back in. We don’t even have a bed­room for him.” Through­out the ages, rich and fa­mous par­ents have tried all sorts of strate­gies to avoid spoil­ing their kids.

wAstE NOt, wANt NOt

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