Money Born rich; Lessons from death
There is a perception that the children of the very wealthy are so indulged that those who do become successful, do it on the backs of their parent’s wealth while the rest are just happy to live off the fruits of their parents’ efforts.
New World Wealth reports that Johannesburg, with over 23 000 millionaires as at 2013, is ranked as the city having the highest number of millionaires* in Africa, a drop in the ocean compared to London, which reportedly has nearly 340 000. This could potentially mean that if one takes the average of 2.25 children per household, over 57 000 children have been, or could be, born into a wealthy family in Johannesburg alone!
While the presence of money in a family grounded in solid values and ethics can allow for, broaden and energise interests, one of the main concerns that psychologists have is that children in very affluent families are very often handed everything on a silver platter. These youngsters are therefore more at risk of not being motivated to f ind direction and work to achieve goals and success on their own.
So, while pampered and privileged kids are ironically often disadvantaged by wealth that can sometimes impede them from making their own mark on the world, there are also those youngsters who, despite an indulged and fortunate background, are firmly rooted in strong core ethics and values and strike out alone to success. Finding a healthy balance, guarding against excess as well as instilling sound values, morals and ethics to these privileged youngsters can be a challenge, especially for wealthy parents.
Too much of a good thing – in this case money – can be bad. But, being born into a wealthy family does not necessarily mean that you are entitled to that wealth. There are some parents who strongly believe that overindulgence and leaving their vast wealth to their offspring is detrimental, and there are plenty of reasons why they should be concerned. The reasoning, it seems, is that foisting so much wealth upon young shoulders could ultimately distort morals and values as well as severely impair their work ethic. It’s not difficult to see why. A myriad of Louis Vuitton accessories, fast cars, parties and exotic vacations is likely to have a profound impact on even the most well brought up youngster, potentially causing them to be immune to, or uncaring about, life in the real world.
Super-rich parents Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs recognised the potential ill effects that handing over an enormous amount of wealth to their offspring might have. They, together with many other affluent individuals who decide to leave the major portion of their wealth to charities, appear to be guarding against the potential negative effects of overindulgence – effects such as laziness and lack of motivation to work, materialism, conceit, snobbery, a sense of entitlement, preoccupation with self, and distorted values and morals.
These wealthy philanthropists have sent a clear message. They are encouraging and, more importantly, enabling their offspring to remain grounded while mak-