Kiplinger

One of the Toughest Questions for Wealthy People to Answer

"Dad -- are we wealthy?" That's the exact question a seventh-grader recently asked of a client of mine. In the moment, poor Dad didn't know how to respond.

When we later chatted about the situation, our dialogue went something like this:

Me: Tell me more ... why did that conversation make you uncomfortable? Client: Well, I just didn't know what to say. It is obvious that we have wealth compared to some of my child's friends, but I wasn't clear on how to address that. I worry about what I share with my children because I don't want them to feel entitled. Me: How does the wealth currently show up in the child's eyes? Client: Well, one thing my children have noticed is that we travel a lot as a family Me: Interesting. Why do you put an emphasis on travel as a family? Client: We believe it's important to expose them to different cultures, beliefs and ways of thinking to help them become well-rounded adults. We also believe it is a key part of their education and allows us to instill some of our values around giving back to others as we often participate in relief efforts during our travels. Me: So, how could you shift your framing of what being wealthy means with your children to line up with your beliefs? Client: Oh, I hadn't really thought of it that way before. Me: That's quite normal. Let's talk through what it might sound like ...

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