career. If you're giving cash, limit it to no more than twice the amount
of the net worth they have earned by their own efforts. It is experience that teaches
values, not time or money by themselves.
Q. If it is
destructive to give our children a subsidy, what can we give them?
A. Give them skill-developing toys, educational experiences, small
responsibility-developing investments, and appropriate experiences as they grow. Give them
your skills and time while you can. Provide a prepared environment, then teach them to
prepare their own environment. Only then should you begin to leave money. You always have
the option of starting your will, "Being of sound mind and body, we spent it
Q. How much money should
we leave to our children in our wilt, and how much should we leave to organizations?
A. Ask yourself what you're trying to accomplish with your money after you're
gone, and what the likely results will be of your actions. It it is an
important cause, consider giving now, while you can observe the results and possibly
modify the change. If you like what you see, increase your contributions, or provide for
bequests in your will. Look for organizations that reflect your own philosophy. Ask them
about their programs and what they would do with the extra money.
As for your children, give them experience instead of cash. Provide them with educations
that teach "tool" skills. Remember Goethe's admonition: "That which thy
fathers hath bequeathed to thee, earn it anew if thou wouldst possess it."
George and Elizabeth
Stoll have taught more than 1,000 children during the last 15 years. They publish a
monthly newsletter called Your children's Future. Address your questions for future
columns to them c/c Wealth, 4425 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, La. 70001.