Wealthy parents obsess over how to raise children to have sound money values. Their advisors obsess over how to build a relationship that will carry over to the next generation. Both obsess over making sure the kids don’t squander the family fortune.
Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, a new book by advisor Coventry Edwards-Pitt, features interviews with 24 inheritors who share how their upbringing gave them what they consider the tools for success. Pitt is the chief wealth advisory officer at Ballentine Partners, which manages $4.8 billion in Waltham, Mass.
At a high level, the book offers eight guidelines that other advisors can use as a tip sheet when working with high-net-worth clients: Make kids work and earn their own money. Develop their drive to achieve personal goals. Build in them a realistic sense of self-worth. Instill in kids an ability to overcome setbacks. Set financial limits on their lifestyle. Reward their desire to strive for success. Clarify family values. Let kids make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
In their eagerness to do a good job, successful parents run the risk of micromanaging their kids. That’s probably why the book dedicates an entire chapter to the wisdom of making adult children strike out on their own after college. Edwards-Pitt’s interviewees all agree their success took root in their twenties. The way they were raised, she writes, allowed them to form independent identities after college, making decisions for themselves, defining success on their own terms and pursuing the skills to achieve it.
In the afterword, Ballentine’s president makes an interesting point. “The paradox of this book is that the children of wealth who feel most successful are less likely to actually need the family wealth,” he writes. Such inheritors may thus be able to pass more wealth on to their own children, starting a virtuous cycle; and their advisors, in turn, could have that much more to work with.