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​Taking Time to Teach

Raising Responsible Children Amid Affluence


​Researchers found a discrepancy between parents and children when asked how young people learn about the role of money and wealth: 80% of parents believed that their children learn everything they need to know about money in school, and 90% of these students said that whatever they know about money they learned from their parents.

​​SOURCE: Making the Case for Financial Literacy. Jumpstart Coalition, 2005.


Many families recognize the opportunities that wealth can provide for their children. At the same time, some worry that wealth may have undesirable consequences – such as the expectation of luxury without work or the inability to manage the family fortune.

At Abbot Downing, we encourage families to incorporate lessons about money into their children's lives at a young age. While it can seem easy to simply fulfill every request your children make, it is important to teach them about how money works, the importance of saving for the items they really want, and prepare them for life as financially responsible adults.

In this paper we provide guidance on recognizing teachable moments at various ages and share ideas to tackle common issues that arise within a family, including privacy concerns and how to answer the question, “Are we rich?” 


  • Significant wealth requires not only careful management of assets but also preparation of family members for the implications and complexities of wealth.
  • Financial literacy is a long-term process that best starts in early childhood.
  • A key to raising responsible children in affluence is finding or creating teachable moments in everyday life when money lessons can be shared.
  • While you might want to jump in to save your child when he or she is floundering, it is important that children learn that behavior has consequences. These moments are critical for developing self-discipline and discouraging entitlement.