In terms of first world problems, the handicap of wealth has to be among the best problems to have. The idea is that your wealth can put a tremendous hindrance on your life by limiting your social and personal development. Since money solves many of your problems and makes life easy, you miss out on the developmental lessons such as work ethic, ambition, discipline, and even compassion.
Raising ‘good’ kids into wealth can’t be easy. We all want the best for our kids and provide them with abundant opportunity, but when does it become a point of diminishing returns? At what point do we provide for our kids and make sure they develop the proper character without them becoming douches?
I’m not rich yet, nor do I have kids, but I worry about this. Suppose you live in a big house, drive an expensive car, have millions of dollars in your bank account and your kid wants a new pair of shoes. What’s the play? Do you tell them ‘we can’t afford it’, tell them to get a job, or reward them only after getting an ‘A’ on their report card?
After giving it some thought, I think the best way to counteract the handicap of wealth is to make them work for things they receive. This will teach them the value of money, hard work, and discipline, as well as setting and achieving goals.
The second thing I would do is enroll them into some kind of sport. Sports have a way of humbling a person because it requires hard work, dedication, and team work. To develop character, we have to go through trying ordeals. We must face competition and failure and then find a way to persevere. We have to learn how to deal with loss, not having everything go right, and how to accomplish a difficult task on our own merit.
The reason that sports are great is because success and accomplishment have very clearly defined goals such as winning games and championships. However, being socially successful is much more difficult to determine since there is such a grey area. It is possible to go your entire life without having character and not even knowing it.
So avoiding the handicap of wealth comes down to the same strategy that works for everyone else: be honest with your personal assessment, work hard, and set clearly defined goals so you can recognize your accomplishments.
Article by Edward Mullen
Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast