Barbara Hauser, special counsel at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, who will be speaking at the AIMR Integrated Private Wealth Management conference in Phoenix March 11-12, will be taking the podium to talk about one of the most difficult subjects to broach with children: money.
Says Hauser, “It’s easier to talk about sex than money.” She points out that many wealthy parents, while fearing that their children will grow up to be spoiled and without ambition, nevertheless have no idea how to begin steering them toward the values they want their children to be able to rely on later in life. “They kept saying, ‘Isn’t there a book I can read about this?’” she laughs, and notes that she and co-author Suzan Peterfriend were unable to find one. So they wrote one. Entitled, Mommy, Are We Rich? Talking to Children About Money, the little book, illustrated by a four-year-old artist, brings the subject back to the basics.
First, consider a child’s question and current level of knowledge, the book advises. Second, tell the child what he or she wants to know. Remember, the authors warn, the case of the child who asked where her baby brother came from; she got a long and detailed “biological answer” when all she had wanted to know was if her baby brother came from the same hospital her friend’s baby brother came from. Children’s questions often ask for information other than what our adult brains think they want.