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Do rich people make bad parents? Print
 
mustang yellow.jpg
It’s your son’s sixteenth birthday and he is expecting a car.

Why is he expecting a car?
 
Because since his fifteenth birthday he's been telling you there is only one kid in his grade who didn’t get a brand new car and his father is making license plates for the federal authorities.
 
So let’s examine the choices in front of you:

Option a) Buy him the brand new Mustang – bright yellow – that he’s been hinting at for the last year.

Option b) Buy him a 10 year old Ford Taurus in faded blue with roll-up windows, no a/c and rusted windshield wipers. Tell him if he wants the Mustang, he needs to work over the summer and you will match him $-for-$.

Option c) Get him the same thing your father got you, a pat on the back and some ideas for a weekend job so he can save up for the 10 year old Taurus.

For those who don’t have the finances to avail yourself of these choices you will probably fail to appreciate how difficult it really is. So let me spell out for you what goes through the mind of a rich dad as he thinks about each of those options:

Option a)  New Yellow Mustang:
I’ll be lucky if the only thing in two pieces by his 17th birthday is the car. Do you want me to tell you about all the rich kids who are now paraplegics because they got a car like this?

Option b)  10 Year Old Ford Taurus:
My son is going to get very depressed. He’ll be incredibly embarrassed that all his friends have fancy cars. His friends will make fun of him to no end. He’s going to think I hate him and he’s going to start hanging with the kids who drive this kind of car, like the one whose father is making arts-and-crafts for the State of Florida. Those kids don’t take school seriously, many are taking drugs and most drop out of school. And if you think I am exaggerating, that’s what his school counselor told me!

Option c)  Car Wash:
My neighbor did that with his kid three years ago. On the way home from work his son was mugged. He’s now blind in one eye and has a phobia about leaving the house, which he can only do if he’s seriously medicated.

Of course, any one of them could be the choice that makes the boy into a man, but which one? It’s so easy to pick, but if you pick the wrong one you will never forget it.
 
Never! 

Having met a significant number of these parents who now live with the knowledge that they picked the wrong option, I can attest to the fact you will never forget making the wrong choice.

Alternatively, the poor parent has an easy choice. In fact he or she doesn’t really have any choice at all. It’s the son who has the choice, and it’s real simple and real clear: grow up or be bitter.

Ok, so what’s a rich father or mother to do?

Rich parents care just as much as poor parents. It’s just that rich parents need more than just caring.

If you were raised in a life style of lesser financial means than the one you are raising your children in, then there are very different rules in play that don’t usually portend well for those who don’t know what they are.

One of the most important concepts to get your arms around is that your child's distance from absolute poverty, is matched by an equal distance in motivation.

This reality plagues all successful civilizations, and is usually their undoing. Be that as it may, I am not here to solve the plight of Western man, only to point out to you that your drive to overcome whatever obstacles in life you were born into, is not going to be matched in your children, precisely because you have made their life easier.

As T. Boone Pickens Jr. said, “If you don't watch out, you can set up a situation where a child never has the pleasure of bringing home a paycheck.”

Therefore, the easier you make their lives the less inclined they are to improve them.

Expounding to your children how tough you had it, has only a nostalgic value not a motivational one.

To get a sense of this, I doubt you work any harder because your neighbor can’t afford a vacation. Your childhood is as irrelevant to your children as that.

I am not proposing you live in a tent and draw water from a well, but what I am giving is this principle:

“Wherever you can, DON'T!”

Let me explain.

You cannot NOT provide health care for your children, similarly you cannot not provide the best education for them. The things you cannot not do is long, so you need to find the things you can do ---- and don’t.

Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, that might be the latest and greatest gadget, telephone, etc. ---- that you don't buy them.

I know it’s odd, you have worked hard to give your children the life you didn’t have. I'm sorry, but I didn’t make these rules.

So do rich people make bad parents?

That’s a question your grandchildren will hopefully answer.

 

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