Warren Buffet has been quoted to say that he plans to leave his children "“enough so that they feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing." On that note, here's an interesting article in the UK Times: Why wealthy children are giving their inheritance to charity; No more little rich kids The article profiles a number of young entrepreneurs and other wealthy young people in the UK and US who, unlike many of their counterparts, have decided to give all their money away to charity instead of spending it on their lifestyles. “The key thing is that it's not a wealthy individual deciding what's best for others, but shifting power and sharing it with the community,” says Taij Moteelall, executive director of Resource Generation. With the top 1 per cent of the US population controlling 33 per cent of the wealth, Moteelall says that there is a need to help the new generation deal with the confusion of inheriting vast sums. In 2003, 10,000 US households were reportedly worth $100 million."
According to Hurun's 2008 report, there are over 101 US$ billionaires in China this year, and 1000 individuals making over US$100M per year. We have yet to hear much so far about the children of these individuals and what these kids are being taught about stewardship and philanthropy. A mentor in the foundation field in the US once told me that it's a commonly accepted axiom that inherited wealth only carries down one generation before it is squandered or misused by the next. One man's hard earned living over a lifetime is the next generation's trust fund, and believe me, I interned in a private bank in college, and I saw glimpses of how a trust can be used for selfish gain only. It is encouraging that it has not only become "cool" to be socially active, philanthropically involved and environmentally aware these days and that many are putting their money to work for the common good. It also encouraging that wealthy individuals are teaching the next generation about the biblical truism "to those much has been given, much will be expected."