Entitlement an ailment that kids have to avoid

Rich-kid-itis: Believing that you have a right to a fortune and to live large – just because.

This is a highly addictive, contagious condition that can strike at any age. Being exposed to a lot of money, or wealthy people is usually a trigger.

Symptoms include apathy and deep rooted entitlement. It is extremely difficult to shake off once it takes hold.

Not to be confused with spoiled-rich-kid-itis. A telling difference is that the latter has the money, the former doesn’t necessarily.

Rich-kid-itis. You know exactly what I mean. If you have children, and you’re reading this, the thought of how to keep your offspring – old or young – from being afflicted has crossed your mind at some point.

Because, let’s face it, even if you don’t have money, they’re likely exposed to many others who do, and prone to developing the dreaded disease.

I don’t know which is worse: expecting your family to pay out big money that they cannot afford just because friends are loaded – many a parent has confided that they’re worried their child will be damaged because they can’t have a driver/ posh car picking them up/ the latest branded accessories.

Or expecting to be handed a fortune that someone else has built up – just because they are related.

This is what someone in my “birth-tribe” – who thankfully will never happen upon this article – believes to his core. And he has been waiting – for decades – to reap the fruit that was sown, not by him.

He recently found out that, alas, the company sale didn’t go through, and he has to wait a bit longer for payout day. This angered him considerably – especially as he’d already spent it – in his head – on his dream life skiing. The fact that the sale not going through means that he still has a job (the company employs him and has done for many years) was definitely not something to be celebrated. Rats, as Charlie Brown would’ve said.

How many people do you know who have this attitude?

They could be the offspring of successful entrepreneurs – as above – or born into old money, or simply have financially successful parents – whatever their jobs.

There’s no danger of my young ones having to grapple with that one. Phew.

But what about the “I want to have what they have” even if we don’t have the disposable cash – or, if we do, it’s going to be set aside for something totally different.

Well, so far so good. Granted, my boys are six and nine, so there’s a way to go, but at least we appear to have work ethic sorted.

I’m over the moon to hear that my nine-year-old wants a job. He wants to work every Saturday, starting now.

OK, so last night he did ask about jobs related to dragons – that’s the kind of thing he’s currently angling for – having been told that he cannot take up employment at a vet. This morning he wants to know how he can earn as an artist. I take this as him showing not only signs of having a work ethic, but an enterprising spirit too – his past ventures include creating and selling comics door-to-door – with 100 per cent sales, I might add.

Seriously though, a chat with the father of an 11-year-old just a couple of days ago highlighted what we all struggle with at some point: if you’re surrounded by it, it’s your norm. It’s no longer aspirational or special. And that’s one of the big issues I hear repeated in the UAE: how to get children to understand the value of money and of possessions.

All I can think right now is that it’s going to be one whopper of a party when the next generation get their trillions.

Canada’s Imperial Bank of Commerce estimates that C$750 billion (Dh2.08 trillion) will be inherited by members of the boomer generation over the next decade.

In the US, boomers are already passing on US$30tn to Generation X and Y.

Some of this money has been generated by expat families – ours. How do you think our children will handle their money in future – whether it comes from us or not? It hinges on our values. Not our value.

Nima Abu Wardeh describes herself using three words: Person. Parent. Pupil. Each day she works out which one gets priority, sharing her journey on finding-nima.com.


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