Want to know what keeps the owners of the most successful family businesses up at night? The dread that their kids will grow up to be entitled.
This is the concern of most parents, but among the very wealthy, the anxiety can be sometimes paralyzing: Will their children and grandchildren end up lazy, good-for-nothings, who are not contributing to society? In other words, “trust fund babies,” the kind whose scandalous antics fill the pages of the New York Post.
That’s not paranoia; the fear is grounded in reality. In business families, it’s quite common for the next generation to grow up in a much wealthier environment than the current generation. The problem is not limited to them. A study of over 3,000 families found that when wealth is passed from one generation to the next, a whopping 70% of it is squandered. Speaking generally, wealth is a very difficult thing to manage well.
That said, in reality, money turns out to be a less important factor than one might think in the development of entitlement. Some very rich kids turn out to be highly motivated and engaged – we see this in our work every day. Our experience also suggests, however, that kids don’t mysteriously end up entitled; there are some common choices parents – all parents – make to a greater or lesser degree that substantially increase the odds that kids end up feeling that the world owes them a living. These choices are often made with the best of intentions, but they work against the long-term interest of our children.
How do you avoid the entitlement trap? There are no pat answers. What we learned from our work with family businesses is that you can start by asking yourselves questions. This is not a scientific formula, but the more “no” answers that are scored, the greater the likelihood that you are putting your children on the path to entitlement:
Much more can be said on many fronts, and we look forward to your comments on this issue. But one last word: in our experience, the way that the most successful business families curb the next generation’s sense of entitlement is by staying involved in their kids’ lives. If they fail to get some quality time, your children turn to money as the next best substitute. That sounds trivial, trite, perhaps even a platitude. But every child is entitled to love. The rest is gravy.
When you’re living on your own on an entry-level salary, the cable bill can be one of your largest monthly expenses. Add in premium channels, a DVR box, and on-demand rentals, and you’re easily looking at $100+ dollars a month.
Fear not: if you’re looking to save on your cable bill, you don’t need cut the cord completely or replace your TV altogether with streaming options. There are a few tricks you can use to keep your monthly costs low, while keeping your entertainment level high.
One of the biggest ways to save, no matter where you live, is bundling. Bundling with one provider means streamlining your services. Instead of paying one cable bill, one Internet bill and another separate home phone bill, you can save by combining them into a bundle.
You can choose to bundle what you want , so you eliminate the cost of the things you don’t. According to providers’ sites like Fios.Verizon.com, if you combine all three – TV, phone and Internet—you save the most dinero. With some providers you can even bundle your security system to save on literally all your home services.
Keep in mind:
If you have premium cable channels, ask yourself if you get enough use out of them.
It can cost an extra $20 to $50 monthly to get a few movie channels (think HBO, Showtime, Starz) for your TV service– that money adds up. If you still want access to movies but don’t want to pay extra for premium channels, consider going with an online streaming site like Netflix, RedBox Instant or Hulu Plus. Each of those online streaming services costs $8 a month. Each offers movies, current TV shows and TV shows that are off the air.
Using your tablet might not be a money saving tactic, but it’s a great way to actually take advantage of all the apps and features you get with your cable TV subscription.
There are apps available that take your TV watching to the next level – so if you’re already paying for the channels, you might as well make use of the TV provider’s corresponding app. You may be able to save yourself the monthly expense of a DVR box in your bedroom, for instance, if you can use an app to watch your shows from another DVR in the house on your tablet.
Depending on how extreme you want to go with your saving, you can cut out cable entirely and buy a set of antennas (they run about $30 to $50). That will give you basic cable for news, weather, and sports—then you can catch up on your shows by subscribing to services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. It’s not ideal, and the picture won’t be hi-def, but it’s worth considering if you’re trying to drastically cut your bill.
If you’re determined to keep your TV subscription top-of-the-line, call your service provider and explain the situation. Often times they can help move you to a limited-time promotion to save some money, or give you some premium channels for free for a couple of months. If you’re having technical trouble with your DVR box or connection, many providers will throw in a few months of Showtime or HBO for free, simply to compensate for the inconvenience. It’s worth a shot.
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