As a parent of quickly-growing teenage kids, I find myself thinking about the difficult time the next generation is going to have in keeping up with their parents financially. Eventually (I hope), my kids will find their passion – something they love to do and want to spend the rest of their lives doing. Whether or not they’ll be able to make money at whatever they choose, though, makes me a bit nervous.
Yes, I believe money does sorta buy happiness. Or, as I heard someone recently say, money at least lets you rent it for a while. It’s not that I think that true happiness comes from money; money is not sufficient for happiness. It is greatly necessary for it, though. Assuming that this blog is blocked in China (I’m sure the Chinese government could care less about my drivel, I’m thinking more about blanket censorship), most of the rest of us live in capitalistic societies. Let’s face it, it’s just harder to be happy without money when you’re among practicing capitalists.
To be clear, the problem isn’t capitalism, which I love and believe in, it’s simply my belief in the prospects for future economic growth and expansion versus the same historically. In my view, there’s just no way that we’re going to see the same rates of positive change we saw in the last 100 years in the next 100.
So, what do I advise my kids to do? How do I steer them toward their futures? The mere fact that I ask this question implies that I believe that I have the power to do this. I’m sure this is a naive concept (they are teenagers, after all) but one I’m not going to give up without a fight.
With these thoughts running through my head frequently these days I jumped on a link in a post by Jeff Cornwall that referenced an article in the Dallas Morning News titled, Are You Wealthy? It’s all Relative.
The author of the article states many interesting facts and figures about the definition of wealth these days, but more interesting to me were his thoughts on the sources of wealth. From the article:
“Citing data from other sources, Mr. Murphy observed that 50 percent of all households with a net worth of $1 million to $10 million were business owners. But 76 percent of those with $10 million to $50 million owned a business, and 89 percent of those worth more than $50 million owned a business.”
If this holds up over time my parental urging needs to morph into something like: find the set of pursuits in the intersection of what you love to do and what others are willing to pay for you to do. Then, build a business around it.
Or, after college, they could always just move back in with their parents. Yikes! I love you, but how can I miss you if you never go away.