Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dividing a shrinking pie?

How can family's without sufficient assets and their advisors broach this issue with family leaders?

Only 61% of respondents have enough resources to divide their assets fairly among heirs who work in the business and those who do not, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global family business survey. Also:
• 14.6% of global respondents do not have sufficient assets to distribute fairly
• 23.6% do not know or have not even considered the issue.

Our intergenerational equity calculators can help you see what your estate might be worth in 20 and 40 years, and also show how much your company must grow to support your growing family. You may be surprised!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What are YOU doing for Financial Literacy Month?

Today is not just April Fool's Day, with a big April Fool's nor'easter. It's also the first day of National Financial Literacy Month. And we have a few ideas (and money games, financial calculators, budget spreadsheets and other financial parenting tools) to help you make the most of it, whether you are a parent trying to instill financial literacy and financial values to your children, or a wealth advisor trying to help your clients do that with their children. Or both.

You can find these ideas and tools at:

So... what are YOU going to do for Financial Literacy Month?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Entitlement on steroids?!
(03-28) 17:09 PDT Fort Myers, Fla. (AP) --

Authorities in southwest Florida say a 17-year-old girl pointed a gun at her mother, pistol-whipped her and forced her to drive to a dealership to buy her a used car.
The sheriff's office in Lee County said Monday that the teen has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, among other counts, and was being held at a juvenile detention center. The Associated Press doesn't identify minors charged with juvenile crimes.
According to officials, the mother said she didn't want to press charges because her daughter had been accepted to several Ivy League schools.
Authorities said they decided to arrest the teenager after learning that the gun had been stolen last year. The teen was not charged in that crime.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jayne's former employer, Forbes magazine, weighs in on the theory of another former employer (Tom Peters) about the power of kindness in business: How does this apply to us at home, as parents? Feel free to comment -- or email Jayne at

Happy New Year from Jayne and Rich!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Spirit

In the midst of the pre-holiday shopping frenzy, many parents may wonder, how much is really enough? At what point will we know if our children are really spoiled?

Some parents are so worried their children will become entitled that they make them earn their own money to pay for some combination of their needs and wants. Others give their children everything they need and want all year long, and eventually feel it's tough to top whatever they bought them the last time. These parents do risk spoiling their kids.

It’s so hard not to cave in, with the media pulling out all the stops trying to whet our appetites for more and more material things. A recent special holiday episode of ABC’s The Middle called “A Simple Christmas” depicts the mom trying to create a simpler Christmas. An ad by Target, the sponsor of the episode on, seemed, at first, ironic. It entreats viewers to “take a spree through the season’s hottest gifts” with a shopping cart viewers are supposed to move with their computer cursor to “catch” falling presents, including a smart phone, computer, fuzzy pink slippers and a GPS.

The irony: doesn’t this undermine the “simple Christmas” message? Actually, it reinforces the ultimate message of the program. Spoiler alert: the mom loses her battle to emphasize family and values over consumption when her parents pile a mountain of gifts under and around the Christmas tree. Gifts she had convinced everyone to do without this year. The program seemed to conclude, oh come on, where’s your holiday spirit? Give more, more, more!

Although many parents don't want to deprive their children, if you give them everything they always want and need, then there's nothing left for them to desire to get on their own. That can create real problems for their motivation in life. The trick is never to fully satisfy all their wants. Give gifts that are thoughtful and will motivate your kids rather than satiate them with all their wants.

One of the most common questions parents ask us during our financial parenting workshops is whether it's best to let children earn spending money to buy their own toys. Our answer: Yes! Children learn to differentiate between wants and needs and appreciate that money is a finite resource when they receive an allowance based on financial responsibilities--a combination of needs and wants they are expected to cover.

During this season, even parents who emphasize the more spiritual and family aspects of the holidays may find their efforts lost, as they feel unable to dodge the barrage of goodies well-meaning friends and relatives send to our children.

Here are a few sage suggestions to redirect their children's holiday excitement and spirit:

· Teach children to be good givers. Invite young children (ages five to 10) to chip in some of their allowance or savings to buy a thoughtful gift for some friends and relatives. Encourage pre-teens and teens to save a portion of their money in advance to buy modest gifts on their own.

· Show them it's not all about money. Kids' and parenting magazines are filled with ideas about how to make gifts. Let your kids choose from a few possibilities you suggest, such as making fleece scarves (which just involves cutting), a personalized book of photos you can create online, little cotton microwavable heating pad pillows made from cotton squares (lined with muslin) that you fill half with rice, half with oatmeal. Set aside an evening or two to make gifts for siblings, cousins and friends.

· Remember those in need. Guide children to donate a portion of their allowance or money from jobs to charity. Also let them help you decide which organizations you will donate to this year. If a relative or friend is struggling with some disease, perhaps a research foundation for that illness would be a meaningful place. If your children have expressed fear or sadness about some major tragedy in the news, they are likely to feel good helping you find a nonprofit group that helps people suffering from that tragedy. Older kids can even research online to make sure the groups spend little on administrative and marketing, and pass through most of the donations to support the cause directly.

Another way to deemphasize the material aspects of the holidays is to volunteer together. Perhaps you can help cook, serve or clean at a nearby soup kitchen, or visit a local nursing home.

You may want to arrange with some relatives and friends to forgo buying each other more stuff you may not need and, instead, make charitable donations in each other's honor, to causes those people care about.

· Teach good receivers. What happens when generous but clueless Uncle Joey presents your 14-year-old son with a giant box of sports paraphernalia from the very team he disdains the most? Or when Aunt Sally sends your 13-year-old daughter an expensive designer sweater that's so last season? Do they laugh despite their efforts not to? Do they complain? Cry? Or lie? Challenge them to find one sincere, positive thing to say about the gift. "That's the most set of stuff from one team I've ever gotten!" or "I'm so impressed you knew one of my favorite clothing designers!"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don't Change That Dial!

There you are, driving to pick up the kids from school, soccer or kung-fu class, listening to the news or your favorite talk host on the car radio. While the kids buckle up, you may be in the habit or switching to a music station you can both tolerate or hitting the off button. Instead, why not turn up the volume a bit?

Let the kids catch a few minutes of whatever issue or problem is being discussed. You even may want to set the dial to a program about money or consumer issues--with syndicated hosts such as Clark Howard, Bob Brinker, Dave Ramsey or Joan Hamburg--that might be on at that time.

It's an opportunity to spark an interesting conversation with your kids. Start out asking a younger child:

• What do you think the announcer is talking about?
• Do you have any questions about that?
• What do you think about this issue?
• What are some reasons that someone might believe the opposite point of view?
• What family members or family friends do you think are most affected by this?

Of course you can do the same thing at home, with the television news, radio or internet. Or watch one of the many cable programs that focus on wealthy kids, such as "Cribs," "My Super Sweet-Sixteen," or any other show involving parents and teens.

• What unintended messages about their financial values are the parents sending their kids by how they dress, what they say, their expressions and gestures?
• Which characters seem the most spoiled and why?
• When have us (parent or child) acted or thought in a similar way?
• How have we dealt with similar situations in our lives?
• How does money seem to make the characters' lives and relationships more difficult or complicated -- instead of easier?

Money doesn't have to be an uncomfortable topic! In fact, it can be fun, and a wonderful way to engage kids -- especially when they reach the sullen teen years -- in conversation.