Being Rich can Ruin your Kids Life

Katherine - posted on 11/26/2011 ( 38 moms have responded )

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The holidays are here, and so are the non-stop commercials, catalogs, and billboards advertising holiday treats for the kids. Do you know what it's like to have your child beg to see the magic of Disneyland at Christmas every day at 5:23 pm when you drive by the flashing billboard? I do.

The discussion I've been having with my kids, that is certainly getting more heated as the Toys 'R' Us circular arrives, goes like this: Them : "I want it." Me: "We're not made of money." Them: "How do we get more money?" Me: "I would have to work another job." Them: "Can you do that by Christmas?"

While explaining money to kids is incredibly unsatisfying, I recently realized that having them want more of it, was actually a great thing.

I did not grow up rich -- not even close. I always wished we could go on fabulous vacations, and I could have Guess? jeans in time for the first day of school, and that I could have a car. Any car. None of these luxuries were made available to me, but I swore someday (someday!!) these would be mine. This drive led me to college, twice, and to explore living in a variety of cities far away from the farm where I grew up. It led me to a career that I love, and the drive to make it happen. I honestly feel that if I never had to worry about money I might be sitting home on my butt right now complaining about the maid.

Maybe not, but being motivated to change your circumstances breeds creativity. Ambition is coupled with hard work. Being a trust fund kid, however, can almost guarantee you a spot on Celebrity Rehab. Of course not every rich kid falls into a deep, dark, hole. Many go on to work on Wall Street and create deep, dark, holes for others. (I kid! Sort of.) But it can be incredibly difficult to find your way, or to even aspire to be a better person, if you never have to work for a living.

So even though my kids think that it's unfair that they can't have a birthday party at the Staples Center, I know what I'm giving them is something even better: a chance to make it on their own. Plus, I can stop believing that life would only be better if we lived on top of the hill. Mucking around in the middle is a heck of a lot better -- for all of us.

Do you think rich kids are worse off than the rest of us?

Do you agree with this blog?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

...being motivated to change your circumstances breeds creativity. Ambition is coupled with hard work.



Even this is spoken from a position of privilege. Maybe not the kind of orgiastic privilege the top 1% enjoy, but even "poor" people in America/Europe are vastly more well-off than most people in the world.



It's easy to say when you have a fairly middle-class quality of life and stability, plus state-funded education and social programs, that you worked hard to better yourself.



Being poor doesn't breed much creativity and opportunity when your mother is a crack addict, or if you're a 14yo Chinese factory worker making iPads.

[deleted account]

I, personally, think it has a lot more to do w/ attitude (of the parents AND the kids) and what you do or do not do w/ the money over how much you actually have.

You can have amazingly generous, hard working, rich people just as much as you can have spoiled, self entitled broke people.

[deleted account]

I think indulgent parents, not rich parents, will ruin your life. It's just easier to be indulgent when you are rich.

Sal - posted on 11/27/2011

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I'll just add it to the list of things that will ruin their lives... Mind you the list is getting pretty full

Stifler's - posted on 11/26/2011

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NO. Rich kids go to Dreamworld and get jewelry other than Kleins jewelry as presents. Being poor didn't teach me anything except to wish I was rich then date people who made way more money than my parents. Now I give my kids everything they want and don't budget as do a lot of other people who grew up with nothing.

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Carol - posted on 11/30/2011

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Money management. This is something I wasn't taught as a kid, my mom would watch our son - if we paid her 10 dollars or buy her cigerettes, I was going to school and paying my way and my husband at the time worked 12 + hours a week with no over time allowed for 8 dollars we barely had money to buy our son diapers. My mom stopped working when i was 12 because she broke her clavical and while the VA would have paid in full to get it fixed, she refused file a lawsuit agasint her former empoyers and when i left for the military took everything i had earned other than one months wages to buy herself things she didnt need, even a new car and sold her old one even thought she knew i wanted it. At the time i joined they where giving bonuses and she tried to get half of that saying she needed it for my nephew however my recuiter who would run with me, told me that once I was away from her i didn't have to support her any longer. I had supported my mom since i was 9 when my dad died and i got SSI. I didn't have alot growing up, i barely ever had new clothes yes i hated it i would have loved to have gotten my drivers liscense but my mom decided her boyfriend was more important. Teaching my kids they can be happy with with they need is very important to me, because there may be a time when my husband and i can't provide the things they want to them, we might not be able to send our kids to school or buy them a car because their friends have one. My husband works a fantastic job, where we are lucky enough to put money away for college from his wages for them pre taxed, we already have a plan when our kids come to us and say they want a car - they are going to have to get a job and keep good grades. If they want help paying for college, or if we can pay for it they will have to live at home, and have a job so they can go out with their friends and put gas in their cars - a lot of great schools are a mile away from our house. Teaching fical responsibility to our kids is very important for my husband and I. We ant them to know that if they do need something that they can come to us, but that we aren't a bank, and loans given will need to be repaid. This can mean money, or helping us out around the house doign projects or even cooking us dinner a few times. But money put away from their college isn't a loan for us, and if they dont want to go to school, they can use that money for other things. But later down the line if they want to then and have spent their school moeny they will have to find their own way then.

Stifler's - posted on 11/29/2011

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Once they're 18... they're an adult. Not my little baby that i have to buy toys for. It's time to make your own way.

Medic - posted on 11/29/2011

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I do feel that we should pay for our childrens education. My parents paid for mine and are still paying for it as well as helping my husband go back to school. They bought our cars outright and we paid them back. My dad instilled in me never to get a loan or to have a credit card. We pay cash for everything. I do think that we should fund our kids lives within reason as long as they are in school and making good grades and choices. That is how I was raised and I think my brothers and I are just fine. We never got what we wanted when we wanted but we had to work for things, but my parents made sure that we had everything we needed and some of what we wanted.

Stifler's - posted on 11/29/2011

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I think being a dickhead with money can ruin your kids lives. And your own life.

Stifler's - posted on 11/29/2011

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I irresponsibly bought a brand new car. i had a great 2 year old car, with less than 30 000 on the clock and we owned it no loans and no debt and yeah now we have to pay 200 bucks a week off a car which is also more expensive on fuel and costs more to service. fun times.

[deleted account]

I'm sorry, Sherri, I didn't mean to imply that you were. Re-reading my post, I can see how it came across that way, but I was just talking about Americans in general.
I know how things come up and force us to make decisions that we wouldn't otherwise make, but most of the people I see around me are spending frivolously just to keep up with each other. None of them are spending on things that really make them happy, they just buy and buy because they fear others will look down on them if they don't.

[deleted account]

But if you pay the loan you have off after, say 5 years, which should be plenty of time to pay for a car, then continue to make your car payment into a savings account, you would have a lump sum in 3-4 years big enough to pay for the next car. You just have to drive the original car a bit longer. We drive our cars for 10+ years--we buy them brand new and take care of them. My car is only 3 years old, I have enough in savings to replace it with a new one of the same model. It would have taken my 5 years to pay off a loan for it if I were making payments of the same amount I put in savings to a bank. My husband's is 12 years old; he's saved enough in that 12 years to buy 3 new models of the car he currently drives. Of course, buying 3 cars in 12 years would be stupid for a myriad of reasons, yet most American's do it. Why? Perhaps we ARE too rich and perhaps it IS ruining our lives.

Going back to the original post, even our poor are fairly rich, and we teach our kids that if they want something they should have it right then. Buying something on credit and paying for it later is not the same as saving up for something then buying it--a skill most Americans in today's society no longer have. Isn't it better to learn to make the payments, to get used to that portion of income missing, when there is nothing to loose? If something comes up, and I can't make a car payment into my savings account, nothing happens, except that I don't have as much savings--I don't loose anything. But if I miss a payment on a loan secured by my home or car, I may very well find myself homeless and stranded.

Americans have this horrendous need to one up everyone else. We look down on those driving older cars, living in smaller homes, and we think that we are better than them. Perhaps we need to instill in our kids, rich or poor, that having newer things, bigger houses, and more expensive labels on our clothes does not make us any better than those preserving our environment by living in smaller homes, leaving a smaller carbon footprint by replacing things less often and adding less to the landfills (the scrap yard I lived in was full of old cars that could be repaired with a little elbow grease, but no one wanted them b/c they were old--that's where my parents got the one we used!). We should feel the same pride we feel when walking to our brand new car in a parking lot when we walk to the car we've driven for 10 years, and we can teach our kids that same pride.

[deleted account]

It is one thing if parents cannot pay for college, I know many parents cannot, it is just my opinion that if we are able to pay for it, as many parents are, that we should.

I mean, why purposely give our kids such a big setback if we don't have to? Sure, at 15 they can only work a few hours, in my state it is 27 hours a week, most work around 20, but when you put that on top of a 35 hour school week, homework/study demands of at least 10 hours a week, and sports and other extracurriculars, You have a kid working about 75+ hours a week. It can be done, yes, but why make it harder than it has to be? I mean, it's college, something many deem essential in today's market, it's not like a fancy car or some luxury they don't need. That I could see making them work for.

Also, you don't have to apologize to me for taking out car loans, that's your decision. I'm just saying, financially speaking, it's better to pay up front--it's cheaper and safer. If you are fine with the risk of a loan and are fortunate enough to afford the interest payments on them, then take out a loan.

[deleted account]

Ah, Teresa nailed it--I want him to have more choices than I did. The problem I have with forcing him to get a job at 15 is that it was extremely difficult for me to balance my jobs with school and keep my grades at a level that would earn scholarships. On the pay a high school kid usually makes working at the Gap or whatever, it would be impossible to pay for a car, gas, insurance, and other expenses and still have enough left over to save for college.

Also, I don't believe in going into debt. It is a bad financial decision every way you look at it--there is NO way to see into the future, so if you take out an $120,000 loan for college then can't get a job--a very real possibility in today's market--you are screwed. But if I just save up $120,000 and pay for him to go to college, it won't matter if he gets a job immediately after. I won't support him, but the job he gets will only have to pay his survival bills, not a huge loan on top of that.

Plus there is the interest, which can be astronomical if you carry the debt for more than a few months. Like any big purchase, one should wait until they can pay up front for it. That is why all these people are loosing their homes--they bought them before they could afford them, then lost their jobs. If they had just waited until they had $200,000 saved up, even if they still had to finance part of the cost, they would not be in debt for more than the house is worth if they needed to sell it. Unfortunately, in our current market, unless you plan to let your kid live with you for quite some time while he saves for college, it will be impossible for him to ever save up the money to pay for it before actually going to college because the cost of survival will eat up most of his pay. Right?

[deleted account]

If I have the money I'll definitely help my kids go to college. There's probably a 99% chance that I WON'T have the money to help though. I never went to college and didn't even get my GED (high school diploma equivalent) til I was 34. College isn't a guarantee of anything, but I want my kids to have more options available to them than I gave myself.

[deleted account]

Maybe being rich wont' bring happiness but at least you'll have nice things to wear while being depressed.

Isobel - posted on 11/28/2011

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my favourite quote ever? money doesn't buy happiness...but poverty guarantees it.

Sal - posted on 11/28/2011

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In aus we are pretty lucky we have a system in in place called hecs it is where fees are deferred until the student is working then it is collected through tax so here paying uni fees up front isn't really nessersary... And we get ausstudy which give students some money to live on, it is based on parents income as a rule (very simple ) the more money your folks make the less you get and vice versa it is ment to make it possible for anyone from any back ground can go onto tertiary Ed...I. Think some paynents etc might have different names now but the idea is the same.... This is why (Partly at leeast) why us Aussie dont feel the need to pay for uni
E

[deleted account]

I find it interesting that so many of you are not planning to pay for your child's university. While I don't plan on paying for every thing for J, I do plan to pay for university.



I think that college was SOOOO important to me, and SOOOO difficult for me to get to, and despite my best efforts, I was never able to finish. I know I have no one to blame but myself, but I know if I'd had some financial help, I could have done it when I should have. I don't want J to be forced to put off going to college just because he can't afford because then life gets in the way, and once he has the money, he won't have the time unless he is willing to sacrifice time with his family, like me.



I do plan to make him pay his own car insurance, and buy his own gas (I'm buying the car because I want it to be a safe one and I have more say if I foot the bill), and most of his clothes, non-essential electronics, etc. but I feel his education, all of it, not just the first 12 years, is my responsibility as a parent.



Anyone else agree? If not, what do you think of this mindset?



Is that too far off topic? Should I have posted as a new debate? Sorry :P

Stifler's - posted on 11/28/2011

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Being indulgent with money comes also a lot of the time from parents who bail their kids out. My husband's cousin just gets loan for whatever he wants, buys whatever he wants and borrows money or get's his dad to pay out his loans if he can't afford it. My kids will sink or swim because I;m not having them turn out like that.

Stifler's - posted on 11/28/2011

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Even if you are rich. Once the kids are gone it's time to buy a cool car, rent the house out and go on holidays and retire and spend money on yourself. The money you spent raising the kids for 20 years.

Stifler's - posted on 11/28/2011

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I don't understand the culture on paying for your child to go to university/college. Isn't that their responsibility? Get a loan and pay for it yourself.

Carol - posted on 11/28/2011

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I don't see rich kids being worst off. Bill Gates didn't support his kids in college and he's one of the richest people in the world! I think its poor kids who have it the worst. When we tell our kids we can't afford something, it makes they wonder what else we can't afford, like food and clothing. However, alot of this has to do wth marketing. From a young age we are taught to want what we don't have, dont need but want. As parents we are the only ones that can teach our kids that hard work and dedication can get what we need, and that we don't need to have materilistic things to be happy.

Jeannette - posted on 11/28/2011

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Sherri, I agree. I think we messed up by not making our kids earn more of what they got. They all plan on going to college, but they also have some unrealistic expectations.

Jeannette - posted on 11/28/2011

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'Being rich can ruin your kids life' - I would like to test this theory! ;p
I believe there is something to be gained in learning how to acquire whatever it is you want for yourself. Many parents around me make me feel as if I am to pay for all three of my kids college educations, yet I had to and still have to pay for my own. Why shouldn't I? It is my choice to go to college and then choose what field I want to study. My kids have the same optioin. My husband and I are wiling to assist them, but they will graduate with student loan debt for a couple of reasons: 1. We don't owe them a career choice, they get to build that option for themselves. 2. If we pay, the university choices are so much more expensive than if the kids take out loans themselves. I don't know about you, but I believe an art, business, accounting, or whatever degree looks just as good from one school as the other.
My oldest daughter said, 'I can't wait to turn 16!' I asked why; she said 'because I get a car'. I told her that wasn't going to happen. I barely trust a teenager to drive, much less offer them a weapon to go out and kill people with that they can call their very own. So I asked her, are you willing to work and save money? Um, no. No car until she needed one when she was 18 and went off to college. She got a decent used Toyota.
My second daughter suffered from the same delusion oddly enough. She will be 18 in April and will go off to college 4 hours away, which is when she will get her first car.
My son asked for a 2nd XBOX 360. Do you know why? He said he wanted it so when he went to spend the night or hang out, he could take it with him. My husband replied, you obviously have lived a life of luxury if your gift choice is to have a portable console and I, the one who works for the money you spend, do not even have 2 consoles.
Yes, you can absolutely ruin your children with money. My husband and I grew up very differently than our children, and sometimes it saddens us that we kinda screwed up.

[deleted account]

...I just re-read my post, and while it WAS really long, I totally forgot to put how I feel I benefited from being poor....in my defense, I didn't like being poor, so I tend to gloss over those sections :P

Anyway, I learned a lot about perseverance being poor. So many people today hit one roadblock and think their dreams are out of reach. Roadblocks are not the end of the road, you can go around them, knock them out of the way, climb over them, whatever you need to, but you can almost always get past them somehow.
When the bus stopped going by our scrap yard, a lot of the kids there stopped going to school because they said they "couldn't get to school" when in reality, they could get there--I did--it just took some extra effort. I do think that being poor taught me to look at blocks in my path more creatively, which is a skill I hope to instill in J even though he will not be poor.

On the other hand, many of those kids gave up so easily because they didn't know what they were missing. I was very lucky as a kid...well, lucky for a homeless kid, I guess "lucky" would have been being born to a family with a house and stuff...anyway, I was very talented in art, so the art teacher took me in and mentored me a little. She took me to museums, galleries, and showed me little snippets of what life COULD be like. Most of my friends had no exposure to that, so they didn't know what they wanted to mold their lives into. You can't have a path without a direction, You can't desire to change a situation that you do not realize is bad....I guess...does that make sense?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/27/2011

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I don't know, but I would love to be rich and find out.

Lady Heather - posted on 11/27/2011

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Parenting is obviously pretty important, but I've seen some good parents with money end up with a spoiled kid. Totally weird - I have these two cousins who are three years apart and raised entirely the same way by my awesome aunt and uncle who do everything they can to keep their kids humble. The guy turned out spoiled and delusional while his little sister has turned out totally grateful. They have very different personalities so I assume that comes into play. The older one drives me batty. I love him, but dude - I remember one time he was all "I'm so glad my dad works so hard so that we have all this". And yeah, his dad works hard. But I actually had to explain to him that plenty of other people work as hard or harder and get nothing for it because they have shitty luck or were born into disadvantaged situations that are hard to get out of. No matter how hard we all work, we aren't all going to be millionaires. He really didn't get it.

[deleted account]

I don't know....I learned a lot from being poor and I credit my current success with the trials of my childhood and early 20's.



Born to a meth addict I would be homeless from the time I was 4 until my parents cleaned up and moved into a house with no electricity or running water when I was 14. By the time I was 16, they had fixed it up to have electricity & water, but our jobs didn't cover the cost of those luxuries, and by 17, I had to move out--into my car--to attend college. I spent my childhood collecting trash to pay public bus fair to the only school in the district that would accept you without an address. When I was 12, the buss stopped coming to the scrap yard where I was living and I moved, by myself, to an ally downtown where I would move trash for a row of high-end restaurants in exchange for food and $$ so that I could be on the bus route. I worked my ass off to get to school, and at school, because I KNEW I did not want that life for myself.

At 17, I was living in my Volkswagon Beetle, in a public garage (because it didn't run), working 2 full time jobs, and going to college (on scholarship I earned through excelling in Visual Arts) when I was diagnosed with lymph node cancer and a cluster of tumors was found along my spine.

Obviously, college was no longer an option. It took 4 years to get better, but I couldn't just sit for those 4 years, I still needed money to survive, and I still didn't want to be poor, so I started an online business from my hospital room on my school issued computer (I "failed to return" that computer, but I did make a big donation to the school afterwards to cover it).



By the time I was 21, I was a millionaire. I'm not a millionaire anymore--I spent that money.....well, I don't regret how I spent it, but some would say irresponsibly. I put my dad in rehab for 2 years, I bought my mom & myself homes, I paid my medical bills, I gave a lot to the food kitchens that had fed me throughout my childhood, I paid for my wedding ( I got engaged on my 21st birthday!!) and so on.

Competition ate into my income after that first 3 years, but I still had a really nice income for a chick in my early 20's. I've never been poor again. I'm not "rich", but we are well off--not so well of that the threat of my cancer returning is not a financial worry, or that the treatment I just received did not impact us financially, but J doesn't have to worry about money.



Now, do I feel J is at a disadvantage for not having to go through what I did? No, I feel that if I raise him properly, he will be able to make his situation whatever he wants it to be. It's not about being rich or poor, it is more about molding your situation into the situation you WANT to be in.



Liz is right, anyone in the US or most developed countries has the ability to create whatever kind of life they want, but in less fortunate countries, it is not possible for many. Nothing stops us here, so we should be thankful for where we are.

[deleted account]

Being rich will not ruin anyone's life but how you treat money and raise your children to respect what they have will determine whether it will ruin there life or not.You do it right and i say you have a blessed life if not you just have children who feel entitled there whole life.

Medic - posted on 11/27/2011

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I can't agree with it. I don't know that we were "rich" but we never had to worry about money and had everything we needed and most of what we wanted. We were encouraged to find what made us happy, and I am lucky enough to have both emotional and financial support from my parents because it has allowed me to go to school and find out what really got me excited about working and did not force me into something just so I could work and make money for my kids. Being raised the way I was I learned the value of a dollar but I also learned the value of doing what you LOVE with with ones you LOVE. I want my kids to see us happy and working jobs we love not jobs we have to have. I want to teach them that there is a cost to everything be it monetary, or anything else. Yes I have friends that fit the "trust fund" kid stereo type, and yes I have some friends that have come from less than and are still indulgent with their money. I think it is the values and life skills that are taught that matter more. My kids do not ask for everything under the sun, they can go to the store and not ask for a single thing, but they are kids and still make requests every now and then.

Katherine - posted on 11/26/2011

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I don't think rich kids are worse off than the rest of us either. Now celebrity kids maybe. They will never know the value of a dollar because they will never have to work for it.

Maybe when they are older, but most parents have trust funds.

[deleted account]

Rich or poor, I believe it's in how you actually parent them. I'm sure there are many rich kids out there whose parents are teaching them the value of a dollar by working for it. And I'm sure there are many poor kids out there whose parents give into every whim (living on credit perhaps). Maybe it's more likely that rich kids will grow up not understanding how money works, but having rich parents does not guarantee that.

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