Gathered around the dining table, we were having a late breakfast on a downcast Sunday. I was browsing through the newspaper filled with sorry tales of the havoc the incessant rains had wreaked on Bangalore when I came across an article on why Indians do not contribute much to charity. It was a comparison on how wealth is generally not given away to worthy causes and rather accrued to be passed on to the kids.
It was an interesting article, and a topic that I was discussed with the family. The kids and the husband agreed that yes, we, in fact prefer to not give away our wealth. It could be a cultural phenomenon and also related to tax implications too.Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have pledged 99% of their wealth their charity and so has Warren Buffett. Bill and Melinda Gates are also pledging most of their wealth to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that works for social causes. There are only a handful of people (billionaires in India) that have pledged any part of their wealth to worthy causes while many in the West give away most of their wealth. I am talking of billionaires here, but I can very easily see the example of this all around us.
We in India stay tied to our kids even when they are well in their 40s or 50s. Parents are expected to leave behind an inheritance for their children whether real estate, jewellery or cash. I know of progeny who consider it their God given right to have a stake in their parents’ property. Some of them do not stop at ill-treatment if they don’t get what they think is their due. This when many adult children continue to live with their parents even after their marriage and when their parents have not only financed their education, higher education, rent, houses and even their weddings.
In the same vein, as our parents age and lose one spouse, we constantly worry about them. The concept of retirement homes or communities is still not prevalent in India. Most of us prefer to move our ailing parent in with us and provide them the care they need in their twilight years, not to mention foot their expensive medical and caregiving bills.
Dynasties seem to be the order of the day in our families. Businesses often have the kids of CEOs as bosses or Board members irrespective of merit. Lawyers and Doctors pass on flourishing practices to their children. And of course politicians pave the way for their children (very often incompetent ones like RaGa). Thus, it is no surprise that all wealth and goodwill is often meant to stay in the family.
Is it any surprise then that some of these new kids on the block are brash, irresponsible and entitled? After all, do they have to really earn their living or worry about working hard? Do they even understand the value of earning every penny?Are the parents to blame in how they turn out?
I really liked this quote from BuffettI want to give my kids just enough so that they feel that they can do anything, but not so much that they feel like doing nothing. -- Buffett Click To Tweet
Of course, lesser mortals like us don’t have so much wealth to give away, yet I think this is food for thought.
Don’t you think it is time for all of us to think in this direction. Let’s enable our kids to realize their potential and make the best of it. Let’s initiate them to work for the life and lifestyle they wish to have in the future. Let us give them wings by holding back.Let us give our kids wings by holding back. Click To Tweet
What do you feel?
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