May 24th, 2019
In chapter five of my book Legacy, I address the question that is on the hearts and minds of parents, especially parents of financially successful families, and that is: How do I prepare my children for the opportunity and responsibility of wealth? I addressed this question in a prior blog titled: 4 Parenting Tips for Financially Successful Families.
However, what is rarely addressed is: How do I as a Millennial prepare myself for the opportunity and responsibility of family wealth? Here are four of the ten tips also provided in chapter five of my book Legacy.
Principle 1: Maximize your happiness
Whether you are anticipating an inheritance or engaged in creating your own wealth, base your work, life, and relationships on your strengths, your passions, and your purpose to the greatest degree that you can. Let any financial capital you’ve inherited or created up to now serve them.
Also, please know that your parents want you to be happy; however, they don’t always know how to ensure you are so they may try to put their definition of happiness on you. This is because they love you and want the best for you. It is important that you let them know how best to support you in your pursuit of happiness. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own happiness.
Principle 2: Adopt a first-generation mindset
Whether you are in a generation that’s two, three, or four beyond the generation that created significant wealth for your family is ultimately irrelevant to the decisions you make. No matter what kind of wealth your family controls, your life purpose is not necessarily to perpetuate the legacy of your parents, or to agree to live a life focused on stewarding someone else’s wealth. Instead, learn to see yourself as a first-generation wealth creator who may or may not have material resources you can draw upon.
Your grandparents may have started out with one dollar, your parents with one hundred dollars, and you with a thousand dollars—but now you are still the first generation. You should be thinking, Now that I have a thousand dollars, how do I maximize these resources not only to carry forward the family legacy, but also to have the greatest impact on future generations and contribute my part to the family legacy story?
Principle 3: Be a giver
Whether or not you have access to your family wealth yet, you can give. Giving incorporates our time and talents as much as our treasures. As part of your pursuit of a happy life, it is important for you to contribute to other people’s well-being. Get involved with groups whose work you believe in. If your family has a foundation, be part of the family giving. For example, you could help identify which organizations to give grants to. If there is an expectation that you will help direct the family foundation when the prior generation passes away, find out what the specific expectations are.
Principle 4: Know your parents are watching
Your parents are watching you to see what decisions you make and actions you take, and whether you take responsibility for your life. The degree you do this is the degree they will feel you are prepared for what they want to share with you (both materially and otherwise). The more you turn to them to make decisions for you (as opposed to seeking their guidance), depend on their financial assets, and don’t take responsibility for your actions, the less prepared they will imagine you are.
This practice is not about living an unblemished life or one that is based on meeting all your parents’ expectations. The potential paradox is that the more you go to them to help you, the more they are likely to help, because this is the natural instinct of a parent. However, the cost of that help to you will be exactly what you (and they) do not want, that is, a life of dependency on others and their resources. Part of increasing your life IQ is about you preparing yourself.
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