Kid Connection

Lenox Advisors' program reaches out to clients' children

Having high-net-worth clients means that the offspring of these clients may eventually be the next wave of high-net-worth potentials. With this in mind, it's a good idea to make a connection with these children--aid clients' children in learning how to handle money and they may come back to you when it's their turn to control the family fortune.

Lenox Advisors, a firm based in New York, knows the importance of keeping in contact with clients' children. The firm launched the Lenox Money-Smart Kids Program--designed to help parents raise financially literate children--after high-net-worth clients requested more information on how best to discuss money and financial issues with their children. "It started because of supply and demand," says Tom Henske, partner at Lenox Advisors and one of the executives running the program. Henske notes that parents may be looking for a way to teach their children money responsibility, but aren't sure how. This is where a financial advisor can be a resource.

Lenox created the newly developed program with the aid of Joline Godfrey, the author of Raising Financially Fit Kids and the CEO of Independent Means, a financial education firm based in Santa Barbara, California. It offers a year-by-year lesson plan that outlines different events and discussions that parents should have with their children as they mature. In addition, with the program's partnership with Independent Means, clients will receive newsletters and be invited to speaking engagements on relevant topics. "We talk about how to plan for their kids, about getting the right amount of money to the kids in the best way possible, when parents should start giving kids allowances, and what kids need to know about credit cards," Henske adds.

The program begins with a "Money Constitution," which gauges parents' personal financial values. "We interview clients when they walk in the door, not just about money, but their relationships with their spouse and kids, and develop report cards where the parent rates their kids strengths and weaknesses, " explains Henske. It then gives parents suggestions on how to address such money issues as allowances, philanthropic giving, savings, and responsible use of cell phones and credit cards. The Lenox Money-Smart Kids Program continues through the first years of college and even includes a subscription to The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition for high school students. The service is offered to all of the firm's fee-based clients.

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