Essential Reading: Passing On Your Fortune

Bloomberg and Peter Robinson share insight how passing your fortune to your children is not that easy. 

The first clue that this is no ordinary crowd of sulky teenagers comes when the instructor asks those who’ve invested in the market to raise their hands. Most hands go up. As a financial planner explains the benefits of investing, one boy interrupts. “What do you suggest investing in right now?” asks Liam Whitfield, 18, a senior at a private Seattle high school, with swooping bangs and a shaggy sweater. The speaker, from a local investment firm, suggests a standard mix of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds. Whitfield looks disappointed. He already owns shares of Apple, Facebook, and Starbucks. “I was kind of looking for an actual stock tip,” he says.

It’s a Saturday morning in March, and Whitfield is sitting with two dozen teens in an antiseptic meeting room for a lesson on money management arranged by their well-to-do parents. The lecturers have broken the ice with a Saturday Night Live ad for a book of financial advice called Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford. (It’s one page long.) They show photos of cars that go from humble to glamorous and ask the kids to pick one—but only after calculating how long it would take to afford by saving $2,000 a year.

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