The vast majority of us want to do the best we can to ensure our children’s futures will be happy and secure. Yet we have different ideas on how to do this and what it takes to follow through.
Back in 2004, a pro basketball player by the name of Latrell Sprewell was offended by a three year offer of $30 million. ''Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me. I'm at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed.'' Keep in mind, Sprewell made over $14 million in 2004.
Now whether he was worthy of more money or not is not the issue here. What caught the attention of most people was his plea, “I got my family to feed”. There are two immediate thoughts here.
1) You don’t get paid according to what you need. You get paid for what you are worth. Being paid more than you are worth is a form of charity. Sprewell needed more money to feed his family?
2) Obviously, you don’t need millions of dollars to feed your family. The median family income in 2004 was $44,000. That means fully half of families made less than $44,000 a year.
Well, you might say, he was just saying that to mean ‘he must do the best he can for his family’. It’s true, a man must do the best he can for his family. But to intimate that he needed it to feed his family was insulting to people who actually struggled to feed their families. Maybe he wanted his children to be “set for life”? If so, it would be interesting to see how they are doing 10 years later. My guess is not so well for having a father who earned more than $96,000,000 over his career. Mr. Sprewell had 4 children from one woman and was sued for child support!! He reportedly many more children from other women.
Then there is Adam Wainwright, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. He, too, makes millions of dollars, much of which he donates to various causes. He doesn’t worry about feeding his family. He worries about his children being set for life, not monetarily, but with character and life skills.
What may not sound like a problem to most, can be an issue for families that have more money than they will ever need. In a radio interview, Wainwright said he wanted his children to be able to stand on their own. This is one reason he said he’d like his “last check to bounce” just before he died, meaning he will have done all he could with his ‘good fortune’ through service to others. Of course he will leave money to his children or grandchildren, but if I know Adam Wainwright, there will be conditions placed on most of that money.
When your children are ‘set for life’, that shouldn’t mean having money, ready for them, when they want it.
Being set for life means:
A useful education
An independent and responsible attitude
The ability to work with others
A good work ethic
Both a toughness and softness, both to be used when appropriate
If your children have these characteristics, you don’t have to leave them a dime, because they will be set for life!!