I was raised in a medical family, meaning I was exposed to doctors and hospitals from the get go. It was a nice, comfortable atmosphere where none of the three sons was ever concerned about money. My mother never worked and my father did quite well except for stock investments.But in all those years living at home, I wouldn’t think of asking my father how much money he had or what kind of estate he was considering leaving to us kids, or even my mother. It just wasn’t the topic of any dinnertime conversation and my mother certainly never raised it. Actually, she was smart enough to take a portion of her weekly allowance and put it aside in stocks and bonds, and did quite well. Talk about a self-made woman. Without any formal education, she was just street smart about making sure she had her own protection in the event my father’s latest foray in investments went awry. It did once when he was a principal investor in Tucker automobiles but that’s a story for another time.
The reason I bring this all up is that things have certainly changed from the time I rode up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. It surfaced because of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, aptly titled “Googling Dad’s Assets,” which tells the story of how offspring today can find out everything about their parents’ wealth by simply going online. For example, there is related one nine-year-old who went to Zillow.com to check on the value of the family’s multimillion-dollar house and compared it with his classmates’ houses.
It’s extraordinary. We’ve gone from not asking anything to asking and being pushed aside to not even bother asking and finding out on one’s own.
My kids never questioned me but after my own financial plan was prepared, I told them exactly what kind of estate I had and what I intended leaving. I didn’t want fights among children later on and of course, I quickly took away any sharp objects from them. My kids are all grown and have their own careers and hopefully, won’t need anything from me.
As to my own financial plan, I ascribe to the theory that shrouds have no pockets so I don’t intend to take anything with me and except for certain specific portfolios or property, my kids already know I plan to live it up and enjoy my senior years. In short, they don’t have to bother researching what, if anything, they may get.
From that Journal article, I especially liked the answer to the question of “Mommy, are we rich?” The response from a psychologist and wealth consultant was “You will inherit some money to get all the education you need. And perhaps help buy a house and start a business. But you will have to work hard, have your own career, and shop on your own dollar.”
Not bad, eh!
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