In the summer of 2013 a remarkable event occurred in the publishing industry. A challenging, 685-page economic text written by an obscure French economist and published by an academic press became an overnight best seller.
Even small children love to hear simple stories about their ancestors, and as children grow into teenagers and then young adults the stories can become more complex and serious.
In the last few posts I’ve spent a lot of time talking about kids who grow up in wealthy families and the issues they face, as well as a bit of time talking about how virtually all American kids are raised these days. I’ve devoted so much time to these subjects because I want to emphasize the many minefields that surround the subject of money, even though they don’t always seem to be directly related to money.
In the fall of 1997 I found myself in the spacious, many-windowed living room of a large home in a southern state I’ll call Florida, although that’s not where it was. I have also slightly modified some of the details of the family to protect their privacy.
The typical trust fund baby is well-known to all of us: a life devoted to spending down the family’s capital on themselves, not working, having difficulty maintaining relationships, living empty lives.
We are talking, in a roundabout way that has taken us back to first principles, about the human maturation process and how it interacts with the fear of affluent parents that money will ruin their children.
We are talking about the complex process through which infants and children are transformed from little beasts into responsible adults. More particularly, we are talking about how that process often goes wrong and never goes perfectly.
No, not that talk.
Talking to kids about sex is a walk in the park compared to talking to kids about their family’s money. The worst that can happen with the-birds-and-the-bees conversation is massive parental mortification. The worst that can happen with the money talk, however, is… Well, let’s look into that.
Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. Janet Yellen
I’m less interested in the return on my money than in the return of my money. – Mark Twain