Gordon Ramsay, famous TV chef who has an estimated net worth of $140M1, has four children who are 15-18 years old. But heâ€™s not leaving them a dime. In his words, â€œItâ€™s definitely not going to them, and thatâ€™s not in a mean way â€” itâ€™s to not spoil them.â€2
Itâ€™s a pretty bold statement. Certainly, some kids who grow up with money are spoiled. You might spot a few on the Instagram feed titled, â€˜Rich Kids of Instagram.â€™
But the concern most parents have is simple â€” how will the kids handle the money? Will they just spend it?
Thereâ€™s a fair amount of research on the topic. One study showed that â€œ70% of family wealth is typically gone by the end of the second generation, and 90% is destroyed by the end of the third.â€3
A Wall Street Journal article states that â€œthe first generation works hard to create a fortune; the second generation enjoys its spoils, substituting hard work with entertainment, and the third generationâ€”with no role model to followâ€”squanders what remains of the fortune. Unsurprisingly, when the family fortune is blown, family unity is typically obliterated along with it.â€4
â€œIt takes the average recipient of an inheritance 19 days until they buy a new car.â€5
Why do they spend it?
Ok, we get that the money can be easily lost. But why? One article studied 3,250 families who had lost their wealth. It stated that â€œless than 3% said poor planning and investments were cause for reversal of fortune. 25% said heirs were unprepared, and 60% replied it was a lack of communication and trust in the family.â€6
But this doesnâ€™t mean you shouldnâ€™t pass money along to your kids. It just means you should do it carefully.
Here are a few tips:
1.) Talk it out
Itâ€™s crucial to talk to your kids about money. Give them a crash course in financial literacy. Tell them how you handle your finances, what you save, and what you expect from them regarding an inheritance. This not only provides more structure, but can give them appreciation for the value of money.7
2.) Elephant in the room
Often a Will is created in secret without disclosing the details to the recipients. But this can backfire. Instead, parents should sit down with all of their children and go through the nitty-gritty of the Will. Get it out in the open and work through the details, possibly making adjustments along the way. Because eventually all of the kids are going to find out who got what anyway. By having open communication, you can avoid potential legal battles and family in-fighting later.8
3.) Make a family plan
According to one study, â€œAlmost one-quarter of baby boomers think their kids will not be able to handle wealth properly until the ripe age of 40.â€9 Thatâ€™s why you should consider creating a financial roadmap for your kids. You can formally write out what you expect in terms of saving, spending, donating, and even growing their wealth.10
Whether you have a lot of money or only a little, be careful how you pass it on because this is where families can get it wrong. And this is what Chef Gordon Ramsey is likely worried about. The most important thing is to keep the family intact beyond any money considerations because, in the end, thatâ€™s what matters.