What happens when the grown children of successful parents take over the family enterprise? Anything. Take Donald Trump. He was born to real estate tycoon Fred Trump in New York City. When he died, he left The Donald with an inheritance worth anywhere from $40 million to $200 million. Not a bad way to start a business career. To be sure, The Donald intelligently and shrewdly expanded his father's cash into the many enterprises he owns today.
But many gazillionaires don't feel the way the elder Trump did. Warren Buffet says, "I want to give my kids just enough so they would feel like they could do anything, but not so much that they feel like doing nothing." There's a list of 14 more tycoons who are saying they're not leaving all their fortune to their children, including Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates.
Sometimes the kids squander the family fortune. Probably the most famous is the Woolworth's heir, Barbara Hutton. Her grandfather started Woolworth's five-and-dime and her father started E. F. Hutton, the investment bank and one time Wall Street institution. At its peak, her wealth was thought to be $900 million, adjusted for inflation. When she died in 1979, she was said to be penniless after seven divorces.
Some people can't handle wealth. They have neither the education, organizational skills, nor the understanding of what that money means. Money is a tool and it can be used for the good of the community, or to fill selfish desires. Ideally, in the right hands, it can be used for both.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun