Robyn ScheinHaving the Talk: Talking to Your Kids about Wealth and Philanthropy

By: Robyn Schein In: 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference| Family Philanthropy

25 Jan 2011

For some parents, talking about wealth ranks right up there with the birds and the bees as important but dreaded conversations to have with your kids. This creates a significant challenge for philanthropic families, because you can’t talk about giving without bringing up wealth, inheritance, and financial responsibility.

In my work with donor advised fund families at The Minneapolis Foundation, I hear from parents who are afraid to tell their children about their fund because they are unprepared for the questions that would follow about the family’s overall financial situation. So the purpose of the session “The Second Most Important Conversation to Have With Your Kids” at the 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference was to provide parents, grandparents, and staff working with philanthropic families tips and tools to get over their fears and talk effectively about wealth and giving.

Nathan Dungan of Share Save Spend works with families across the country, helping them link their money decisions to their values. He talked about the importance of creating your family’s money narrative. This is a collection of past events, people, stories, values, and actions that make up your money story. If you don’t intentionally write your narrative, your children will default to the societal narrative of “see money, spend money.”

Lisa Parker of Family Circle Advisors, president of Lawrence Welk Family Foundation, shared her personal story of learning about wealth and philanthropy in her family. Parker expressed that to grow and nurture givers you have to teach about legacy, empathy, and gratitude. Research shows that parental involvement in nonprofits increases the odds of a child becoming a donor by more than 80 percent.

Together, the speakers provided tips to introduce wealth and philanthropy to your children and grandchildren of all ages.*

  • Have your kids divide their money into Share Save Spend categories—apply this strategy to everything from allowance and birthday gifts to their paychecks from part-time jobs.
  • Bring your children along on site visits to see nonprofits firsthand.
  • Create junior boards of your foundation.
  • Give your kids “Share Checks,” which they can make out to the nonprofits of their choice.
  • Tell the family legacy stories—over and over again.

What has worked for you? Share your successes and challenges by talking to your children or grandchildren about money and giving.

*Check out Dungan’s latest book, “Money Sanity Solutions,” for tools to use in your family discussions about money.

Robyn Schein is a client services officer at The Minneapolis Foundation

3 Responses to Having the Talk: Talking to Your Kids about Wealth and Philanthropy

Tweets that mention Having the Talk: Talking to Your Kids about Wealth and Philanthropy - RE:Philanthropy, RE:Philanthropy -- Topsy.com

January 26th, 2011 at 10:38 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CouncilonFoundations, Robyn Schein. Robyn Schein said: Talking Wealth & Philanthropy with your kids; harder than talking the birds & the bees? My blog post on Re: Philanthropy http://ow.ly/3KzgN [...]

Giving Back Blog: Learning by doing and seeing vs. telling | Johnson Center for Philanthropy

October 27th, 2011 at 6:50 am

[...] Perhaps this a generational thing.  There did seem to be a sense at the meeting that in many cases the reluctance to talk about giving in families was tied to a reluctance to talk about money at all, especially among a certain (post-World War II) generation of parents, and especially among parents who started out with little money.  The current generation of parents does seem to be more overt in their philanthropic tutelage, and there is good advice out there now on creating an effective philanthropic/money “narrative” with your kids.  There was another whole session at the conference (which I couldn’t attend) on talking to kids about giving, which is summarized nicely here.  [...]

Giving Back Blog: Learning by doing and seeing vs. telling « Johnson Center for Philanthropy

January 28th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

[...] Perhaps this a generational thing.  There did seem to be a sense at the meeting that in many cases the reluctance to talk about giving in families was tied to a reluctance to talk about money at all, especially among a certain (post-World War II) generation of parents, and especially among parents who started out with little money.  The current generation of parents does seem to be more overt in their philanthropic tutelage, and there is good advice out there now on creating an effective philanthropic/money “narrative” with your kids.  There was another whole session at the conference (which I couldn’t attend) on talking to kids about giving, which is summarized nicely here.  [...]

Comment Form


Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact webteam@cof.org.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.

Contributors

Vicki Rosenberg
Brooke Bailey
Courtney Kaezyk
Brenda Chumley
Van Evans
Rachel Leon
Susie Nelson
John Porter
Jeffrey Cufaude
R. Christine Hershey
Phil Buchanan
Malika Harrison
David P. Janes
Rachael Gibson
Rodney McKenzie
Nicole Robinson
Marika Lynch
Tina Arnoldi
Nicole Lewis
Dawn Plimmer
Vincent Robinson
Susan McPherson
Rockhelle Johnson
Christine Kendall
Alicia Philipp
Benna Wilde
Sara Watson
Dana Nelson
Lana Williams
Margaret Gage
Leanne Breiby
Sterling Speirn
Daniel Mansoor
Diana Campoamor
Donnell Mersereau
Darryl Lester
Joshua Gibb
Dan Siegel and Jenny Yancey
Diane Miller
Laura Meyer
Priscilla Enriquez
Stanley S. Litow
Andrew Allen
Paul Major
Carina Wendel and Rebecca Graves
Raul Perea-Henze
Leslie Dunford
Monica Buhlig
Helen Brunner
Michele Frix