How To Stop Worrying About Your Child’s Future In This Competitive World

They say a parent's worry never ends. They also say a parent is only as happy as their least happiest child. This post offers a solution on how to stop worrying about your child's future.

I'm a father of two young children and used to worry about their futures all the time. From discrimination against Asian applicants in college admissions due to affirmative action, to crazy college tuition expenses, to diversity hires not giving my kids a fair chance at employment, I feared for my children's futures.

However, once I discovered this solution, so many of my worries and frustrations melted away. No longer did I worry about whether my kids will get into public or private grade school. I also stopped worrying about them getting into college or finding a good job.

The key to stop worrying about your children's futures is to grow your family business. While your children are growing up, teach them all there is to know about finance, marketing, sales, and operations. Then if your children get shut out from college and the job market, you can hire them into your family business!

Stop Worrying And Helping Our Children Grow

Ever since publishing, The Fear Of Screwing Up Our Kids As FIRE Parents, I've been brainstorming how we can give our kids everything without giving them everything.

The worst thing we can do as parents is take away our child's sense of accomplishment. I pity the kid who starts off driving a BMW to school instead of walking or biking.

But recently, I've been losing enthusiasm for writing because I'm often too tired due to full-time fatherhood. With preschools shut down, the days have been extremely long during shelter-in-place.

If I had a mundane job that required little thinking, work might be easier than parenthood. Besides, how hard is taking care of a child if you're gone for 12 – 15 hours a day, right?

Unfortunately, even as a stay at home dad with an online business, it's difficult to be creative when you lack sleep. It's also impossible to write when your kids are all over you. It's as if creativity uses a different chemical in the brain that is finite in supply.

The Epiphany To Keep Going

I thought that hitting the 10-year business anniversary mark in 2019 meant I would finally relax. I thought I would become Keyser Söze and never to be seen or heard from again.

But what I realized after reaching my 10-year Financial Samurai anniversary is that I've got to last until 2042! Why? Because the absolute best benefit of owning a business is creating a life safety net for our children.

Not only does a business provide insurance they don't fall through the cracks, a business produces a perpetual teachable moment for all our kids to apply what they've learned in the classroom to the real world. 

Besides, with the war on merit going on, having your own business helps ensure your kids will always have educational and income opportunities.

The Real World Is Brutally Difficult

Imagine spending $500,000 in private K-12 tuition only to see your child go to an average university anybody could have gotten into. Because the school is average, he will likely land an average job or no job.

Now imagine the best case scenario where you send your kids to public grade school. Then they get into a top rated university. You still have to pay out the wazoo, yet there is no guarantee they'll get a great job.

I know plenty of Harvard graduates who end up doing the exact same thing everybody else is doing. In such cases, their Harvard education is a relative waste.

The world is now a hyper competitive place. Even if your child is “perfect,” s/he will have a difficult time getting ahead. There is someone across the world with nothing who will do everything possible to succeed.

And what if your kid has some challenges and disabilities, like 15% of the world's population does? Life can get even more difficult.

Now wonder why some parents feel like they need to accumulate generational wealth for their children to be OK. However, for individuals to achieve a top 1% net worth in 2024 requires at least $5.8 million according to Knight Frank. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve data says households need at least $13 million to be in the top 1%. Not easy to do!

The Challenges Your Child May Face

Here are some things you may worry about for your child that can be overcome by owning your own business:

  • Your child may be a minority who will face racial discrimination her entire life
  • Your child may be Asian American who is required to score higher on standardized tests to have the same chance of getting into a university, despite affirmative action being abolished by the Supreme Court
  • Your child may have a learning disability
  • Your child may have a physical disability
  • Your child may get into an accident, resulting in a disability
  • Your child may be small in stature and get picked on by bullies because their parents are terrible
  • Your child may be unattractive, even though you think he's the cutest ever
  • Your child may get in trouble with the law
  • Your child may get suspended or expelled from school
  • Your child might have a “bad personality” as they get throttled by a university to justify rejecting applicants using the Personal Score subjective system

Here's how to stop worrying about your child's future. OWN A BUSINESS!

If you own a business, you ensure that your child will always have something interesting to do no matter how much they try and fail on their own. Getting straight A's or going to an elite university no longer matters as much, so long as they are learning. Your stress and anxiety will melt away.

Further, you don't have to wait until your child graduates from college before introducing her to every facet of your company. You can start in elementary school or middle school so that by the time she goes to college, she'll have a much better idea at what she wants to study.

Your business will help your child better appreciate money. He or she will develop a stronger work ethic. Further, you can help your children save and invest for retirement in a custodial Roth IRA. By the time they turn 18, they could easily have more than $100,000 in their Roth IRA.

Education Isn't Practical Enough

One of the biggest problems with education is that we learn a bunch of subjects and forget everything we learned years later because we don't see the relevance. Nor do we apply what we learn to the real world.

Therefore, we're only teaching our children how to listen, follow instructions, study, and take tests. What a shame to only create an army of “yes sir, yes ma'am” in society.

When I went back to Berkeley for business school part-time, it was amazing to use my professors as business consultants for my job in finance. Suddenly, theory turned into application, and education became super impactful. The same can be said for getting your child involved in your business. 

Having your own business teaches your child practical skills to survive in the real world. The more you can teach your children to survive, the more you can stop worrying about their survival.

The Ultimate Business Expense

How To Stop Worrying About Your Child's Future In This Competitive World

My wife and I were going over our YTD numbers and realized that our tax bill is going to be high because our revenue growth accelerated YoY.

Because running an online media company has relatively low fixed costs, there is huge operational leverage where the majority of revenue flows straight to the bottom line. As a result, we started brainstorming ways to keep our taxable income down.

Some fun things we thought about included: 1) creating a conglomerate to buy real estate to flip or lease (See: How to make your business last forever), 2) hosting a business conference in Hawaii for a month, 3) hiring friends and relatives in a lower tax bracket to do some work.

Then we thought to ourselves: wouldn't it be awesome to hire our son to help us with so many things we've been wanting to do? Too bad he's not even a year old.

Gutting Things Out In Finance

I had zero job offers when I graduated from The College of William & Mary with an Economics major and a Mandarin minor in 1999. I got rejected from every single consulting job I interviewed for.

There was only one company I was hanging onto, and that was an investment bank in NYC. But after over 50 interviews, Goldman Sachs still hadn't made me an offer prior to commencement. I finally got the job at Goldman, but it was like winning the lottery. And you don't count on winning the lottery to survive.

The same thing happened with my then girlfriend and now wife. She didn't receive a job offer after college. Although, by the time she graduated, she was determined to come out to San Francisco to be with me.

I was looking to get any job anywhere that would hopefully pay more than $35,000 a year. She somehow had confidence knowing that everything would turn out OK on the job front after she arrived in San Francisco.

Our post college unemployment story is not unique. According to an Accenture study below, 78% of college graduates don't have a job offer upon graduation. Further, Accenture found that 51% of graduates from the classes of 2014 and 2015 said they are working in jobs that do not require their college degree.

In 2024+, that percentage is surely higher. An expensive college education is no longer as necessary to have a career and make money. Having valuable skills are! As well as networking.

Percent of college graduates with job offers after college - how to stop worrying about a child

The Pay And Awesome Jobs We Could Offer Our Son

Let's say our son ends up exactly like his old man: unemployed at college graduation. So long as he's done his best to find a relevant job, that's all that matters. Instead of having to feel depressed for a long period of time without an offer, he's now got options.

As of now, we could comfortably pay our son a starting salary between $60,000 – $120,000, which would make his salary competitive to the Googles, Facebooks, Apples, and Procter & Gambles of the world.

We would also offer him equity in the business, with similar 3-5 year vesting periods that match any promising startup out there. If he performs well, we can also offer a year end bonus just like the investment banks and strategy consulting firms.

If he joins our company, he would have the best mentors possible teaching him every aspect of running a business. And if we do our jobs right as parents, he'll be able to hit the ground running because we'll have already taught him about the business for the past 10 years.

Jobs For Our Son Thanks To Owning A Small Business

To stop worrying about work for our son, here are some jobs he could do that may be applicable to your business as well. And worrying about our sons is naturally since men are having a more difficult time making it in the world.

Business Development. This is a revenue generating role for bringing in new business. He would be responsible for finding new synergistic products and advertising partnerships with Financial Samurai. Business development is the most common and coveted role every post-MBA graduate, who isn't a founder, wants to land. Maybe he can develop a tie-up with Financial Samurai and the NBA. Or maybe he can reach out to the fast-growing Chinese and Indian advertising market. The possibilities are endless.

Multi-media Director. This role would expand communication beyond writing and into audio, video, virtual reality, and so forth. People consume information differently. The role of the MMD is to reach out to as many different types of consumers as possible to grow traffic.

Marketing / Advertising Director. The marketing director is responsible for not only organic marketing, but also paid marketing. The marketing director knows that if he spends $1 to get $1.01 in profits, he should do so all day long. He will become an expert in PPC, CPL, CPM, and organic marketing, which is vital for all companies who have an online presence.

Head Of Content. The head of content will be responsible for editing all articles, coming up with the editorial calendar, staying in tune with current events, and potentially hiring and managing a team of writers. It takes a shrewd eye to produce topics that resonate with people at the right time.

More Jobs For Our Children Thanks To A Family Business

Now that we also have a daughter, here are more jobs we can provide for our children to eliminate worry about their future.

Director Of Finance. The Director of Finance will be responsible for conducting monthly financial reports, paying attention to areas that need optimizing (reducing expenses, maximizing revenue in the podcast channel etc), raising money if necessary, and providing financial optimization presentations. He will also be responsible for tax filing.

Head of Engineering. The head of engineering will be in charge of creating the best online user experience possible for Financial Samurai readers. He will create new features on the website, manage the back end systems, make sure the website is always online, experiment with new technology delivery systems, and more.

Head of Public Relations. PR is responsible for generating as much buzz around a company's product as possible. One way to do so is by pitching to journalists and TV producers. Another way to create publicity is to work with creative agencies. A PR professional will also write press releases and spend as much time explaining a product to consumers and investors.

Director Of Community. One of the no brainer expansion opportunities for Financial Samurai is to start and grow a personal finance forum directed towards financially savvy individuals. He would be tasked with managing the forum installation, growing the community, setting the guidelines, managing conflicts and spammers, and eventually creating a business opportunity.

Anything. When you run your own private business, you can literally create any role you want for your son or daughter. Let's say your daughter majored in Art. She eventually wants to get into a career that has everything to do with art. You can hire your daughter as the Artistic Director for your company in charge of branding, imagery, and display. Or, you can pay her to create great images for your business. The possibilities are endless.

Your son or daughter doesn't have to work for your company forever. But I'm sure they will learn way more about each job role than if they were to work for another company.

A Family Business Provides Better Solutions

Think about these two common scenarios:

Traditional Scenario One

Your son gets a set weekly allowance, if he's good. Maybe he'll do some chores here and there, but that's it.

Business Ownership Solution

Your 7th grader only gets an allowance this month if he creates an advertisement flier, stuffs them into 500 envelopes, and mails them out to prospective customers. He gets a $10 bonus for every response above five.

He uses his art and writing skills, while also developing operational efficiency and grit. You get to explain to him about conversion rate metrics for gorilla marketing and teach him why he is targeting a certain demographic.

Traditional Scenario Two

You take your 9th grader on her first trip out of state to Williamsburg, Virginia to learn about American history and check out The College of William & Mary, a public university. She's bored out of her mind and forgets about her summer once school starts.

Business Ownership Solution

You tell your daughter this is her first business trip. Therefore, she must save her receipts and work within a budget. She must take notes about what she learns. Further, she needs to take insightful pictures and write a post about whether it's worth paying up for private school. Finally, she could also write an article about the benefits of risk-taking after King William & Queen Mary decided to expand in a new land.

In terms of pay, she will earn 10 cents for every pageview her article generates (1,000 pageviews = $100), incentivizing her to learn about A/B testing and write convincing prose. After publication, she just might get extra credit from her high school English class.

Related: Working Summer Jobs Landscaping A Rental Property With My Children

Creating A New Business Is Fine Too

What's also great about the business ownership solution is you don't even need to have an established business to help your kids. You can just create a business together with your daughter when she is of age. So long as you can afford the time and money you're good. This is my plan just in case Financial Samurai doesn't last until 2042.

The sooner your child can launch, the sooner s/he can find happiness. With a good job, a heart full of gratitude, and a healthy amount of self-esteem, your child can then spend more time focusing on health and finding a life partner. What's there left to worry about after money, career, health, and love are taken care of?

Just make sure as parents, we do our best to nurture a great relationship. What a shame it would be if our children wanted nothing to do with us once they graduate.

Conventional Tips To Stop Worrying About Your Kids

  • Put things in perspective. There are many situations that are way worse than your child's.
  • Imagine the worst, and realize it's unlikely to come true. The fear in our head is always worse than reality.
  • Get smart about being a parent, a doctor, a teacher, a coach. The more information you can arm yourself with, the less you will fear.
  • Take deep breaths and meditate.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Spend as much time with your children before age 19 as possible
  • Unplug from Facebook and the internet. They bring about the worst situations.
  • Exercise every day, even if it's just a walk.
  • Share your concerns beyond your partner to develop a support network.
  • Open up a custodial Roth IRA account

As a parent, it's hard to stop worrying about your child's future. However, starting your own business, building a real estate empire, getting your finances right, and growing your network all help.

Best of luck! A parent's worry is never over. Just try to stop worrying.

Related posts on stop worrying about your children:

The Top 10 Best Reasons For Starting An Online Business

How To Start A Profitable Website

Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord

Recommendations And Questions

What is a better reason for running a business than being able to educate our kids and provide them direction? What are some other things you do that allow you to worry less about your child's future? How do you stop worrying about a child in this hyper-competitive world? How do you stop worrying about your kids?

Listen and subscribe to The Financial Samurai podcast on Apple or Spotify. I interview experts in their respective fields and discuss some of the most interesting topics on this site. Please share, rate, and review!

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92 thoughts on “How To Stop Worrying About Your Child’s Future In This Competitive World”

  1. Sam, I just read this post and agree with the overall message. But aren’t you putting the cart before the horse? What if your son has no interest in working for your business? Or what if his talents do not match the needs of the business?

    Based on your recent posts it sounds like running your business is a struggle for you these days. Are you willing to endure this struggle for another 15 years for an opportunity that your son may not even want?

    1. If my kids are uninterested in working on an online business, then they can go the regular route and try to find a job.

      Financial Samurai is just insurance. Not a certainty for them. I like to use every motivation to help me keep going.

  2. It is crazy how competitive it is for kids now. In a place like San Francisco, some preschools take applications before a baby is even born. Come on! That is ridiculous.

    The internet has made a lot of things easier, but it’s definitely made a lot of things so much more competitive.

    If my kids don’t get into a good school, I plan to homeschool them myself temporarily or possibly indefinitely. It’s a big commitment, but something I’m open to.

  3. Regarding hiring your son in the family business – do you know if business travel is considered legitimate for minor employees (i.e. your own kids)? For example if you bring your son to the company off-site in Hawaii, and his job is modeling for website content, would his travel expenses be considered a business expense if he was working while there too?

    We just hired our child this year for a similar role in the family business, and occasionally our business brings us to far corners of the country for various events where more representatives of our business would be helpful even if just in a physical body presence role (i.e. an activist event needing large numbers, for a cause that directly benefits our bottom line). I’ve always been curious about clearly delineating the business reason for bringing child employees along.

  4. Roger Thomas

    Actually being a minority means you can score lower on standardized tests and get accepted to a good school. Being a minority makes it easier to be hired for work when the other person is just as good or better as a candidate but you are hired for political correctness. Being a minority means you will have to do less work and have a lower chance of being fired in professional fields.

    In the U.S. and Europe it’s white people who are discriminated against in university admissions and employment. In every other country in the world, people look out for their own. Blacks look out for blacks. Indians for Indians, asians for asians, Jews for Jews. Blacks, Indians or asians would be upset if foreigners came to their countries and took jobs, opportunities and be upset if foreigners forced their way into the country illegally and bring higher level of violence. But if whites look out for white people or if whites are upset that their jobs and opportunities are being taken away by non white immigrants and illegal immigrants are bring higher levels of crime and violence, whites are labeled the bad guy and raycis. But if people belong to the black caucus or la raza or the Indian alliance then there is no problem.

    Double standard.

    1. quantakiran

      Copied and re-pasted my comment from
      That’s not true at all. Over the years, I know Angola at least has had a huge influx of Portuguese, estimated at over 100 000. And in my African country, there are expats from Europe, North and South America working, even lecturing at universities. I work with quite a few. Admittedly the influx of immigrants from neighbouring African countries as well as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China to here is much greater.

  5. I’d bet for most parents, the fear will never go away. As a parent of a 7 and 3 year old, I think about the future for my kids all of the time. Having perspective that they have nearly all that they NEED, and an awful lot that they want is comforting.
    I recognize that not everyone is in the same situation.

    I would add to your story, that many, many children will grow up to do great things, including some blue collar job: plumber, mechanic, delivery person, etc.

    In fact, as time goes on, I think there will be great demand for qualified folks for these roles.
    So, I’m comforted by the fact that if my kids don’t grow up to be a doctor or scholar, maybe they will be a plumber or such, and this is ok. Cheers. Tom

  6. Graham @ Reverse the Crush

    Thanks for pointing this post out, Sam! I enjoyed the read and the interesting conversation that unfolded in the comments. Admittedly, I might’ve missed this post because I don’t have any children of my own. However, I do have 3 younger brothers and the thought has crossed my mind that it would be nice to be able to provide jobs for them if I ever had the opportunity to do so. In regards to that comment about you being obsessed, that’s definitely a compliment. I have a lot of respect for your drive and consistency with this blog. Also, I really enjoyed the breakdown of the potential jobs that could be created. In a way, it provided a really good breakdown of the business of blogging. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sam – this is an interesting post. It is very interesting to see how your focus has changed since you’ve had a child. I have 3 little ones, and I feel like a different person since my first took her first breath of air. It truly changes you in every fundamental way, its like you suddenly realize your entire new life is ahead of you, and while everything in the past was great and unique etc. it has become somewhat trivial. Let me save you some trouble, you will never stop worrying about your child’s future, never. And that’s not a bad thing. My entire life now and almost all my thoughts revolve thinking around the safety, success, comfort, happiness and survival of my children. When I get injured or sick, my first thought is how will my kids suffer during the duration of my illness or injury. Will I be able to take them swimming or to the park today. I feel accountable for all my time away from my children, whether its work, exercise, meeting friends, Netflix etc. I consider whether the time would be better spent with them. So don’t beat yourself about this stuff, you will always be worried. The key IMO is to always seek balance. Yes, you should provide your kids with shelter, food, clothing, education but also with fun times, silliness, sharing your experiences, teaching them how to learn and love and care, and cultivate a healthy hunger for success (whatever that may mean) and knowledge. Yes, you can also give them too much, also known as helicopter/tiger/coddling parenting. You have to find the balance, and recalibrate constantly. There is no right answer. But there can be very very wrong answers at the extremes – I can assure you have that you will not be that parent!
    WRT family business, I’ll chime in. I was never ever interested in doing what my dad did, although he was successful and a millionaire by 30 back in the 70s. I was somehow raised to be hungry regardless of my UMC upbringing, and wanted to forge my own way. I am thankful for being raised that way, intentionally or not. My other friends, coworkers, family, business acquaintances (100+ examples) who have had family business – I can’t think of a single example where the child joined their family business and can say that they feel truly accomplished in the way that one feels when one succeeds independently. It creates an insecurity that lives with you forever, and if you can be happy with that then that’s great. Many of the examples I know, were able to distance themselves from family business either immediately after graduation or a few years later. It is great that you are thinking of providing a family business alternative for your son, it is incredibly thoughtful of you. But don’t sweat it too much.

  8. As a father to a 19 month old son, I’m already thinking ahead of how he would fare in school, develop independence, and standing up for himself. We as parents can do so much but in the end it will be up to the kid who makes that final decision.
    Setting him up in a private school can feel secure less worrisome to some parents because they are paying all that money to send them over there but at the same time is it the right school for your kid?
    I just want to have a strong relationship with my kid so he knows that he can always rely on us on whatever issues he may have.

  9. Hey Sam,
    Are you Ok if your son does not want to attend college? I was a little ticked when my youngest did not want to start after graduating. It is an epiphany when you realize they are NOT going to be you. Instead, he became a volunteer fire fighter and helps me remodel our rental properties. He wants to do full-time fire fighting but can’t until he is 21. Will gives him steady pay, health insurance, and a retirement plus plenty of down time for rentals as his side gig.

    Have another kid, the stress is way lower with the second!

    1. Hi Brad – I won’t be upset or disappointed so long as he knows what he wants to do, or actively tries to fulfill his dreams. If he decides to just goof off with the plan to live at home, I will kick his ass!

      I do wonder though, what if the cost to attend university is $500,000 – $1,000,000 by 2040. Would it be too attempting to offer him the cash instead of going to college, so long as he gets an apprenticeship somewhere?

      Why is having a second kid way lower in stress? I’m intrigued and have recently discussed the possibilities!



      1. You overcome the learning curve and don’t obsess as much. Skinned knee, seen it before. Spilled drink in the car, no big deal. Plus the kids begin to entertain each other and take some of the immediacy out of parenting. Best way for them to learn to share. If I could do it all again, I would have 4-6 children.

        On the university idea, I am not convinced that the expensive schools will continue to yield better opportunities. I believe (FWIW) that skills and not credentials will mean more in the future. If your son learns a trade such as construction, and you have that kind of money available to him, he could develop his own projects from the outset. Or, maybe even a smaller less expensive school. I agree, no living at home playing X Box.

        1. Wow 4-6! What does your partner think? Does she agree? I feel is easy for me to say, but that’s because I don’t have to carry him for nine months and go through all the doctors visits, shots, sickness, postpartum depression and so forth.

          I definitely think I will be less worried and neurotic with number two. But that is if he or she is healthy.

          1. We are too old. Had a vasectomy reversal, but it didn’t work. Waiting on grand kids now, but she was on board.

  10. Fatherhood can definitely drain your creativity and will to hustle. It can also help a lot if you’re just starting out and want to make the most for your little family. Your situation is probably very unique. You don’t really have to work or do anything. You could just focus on your child, wife and hot tub.

    I think my children might not even have “jobs” in the traditional sense. They certainly won’t need much money. I doubt we’ll be paying a ton for them to go to a fancy school. I just want them to have grit, solve problems, and be a leader in their field. Who knows what that field will be: AI or machine learning maybe?? Something beyond that?

    Keep writing Sam…people love your site and you put out great content.

  11. FS,

    Been there, Done that! Owning ones own business sure is an advantage for the kids, but, be
    careful Sam, DO NOT be a helicopter Pops! Allow them to explore and make mistakes so they can learn.

    I employed both my Sons during their freshman and Sophomore years(summer breaks only) so I can teach them
    “the ropes” but they had to work twice harder than my regular employees so they can earn
    their own respect.

    Junior and Senior(summer) years, sorry bye kids. They had to go work for somebody else so they learn to walk the walk and talk the talk and of course, hopefully, they learn from other mentors what they don’t learn from me.

    Wife and I are very fortunate they both are starting out in great careers and hope they’ll finish strong.

    Ever hear the old proverb “give someone a fish and they eat for the day – teach them to fish and they can eat for a lifetime”

    1. Good stuff Dick. What was the business you ran, and do you still have it? What type of business would they have wanted to work for if you ran one you think? Or is it more the desire of breaking away from mom and dad and doing their own thing?

      I think the proverb you mention is pertinent to the reason why I’ve written why having a business is good: to provide perpetual teachable moments that connect what’s learned in the class room with the real world.

      1. Sam,

        I run an OLD SCHOOL business and still going at it, EXPORTING to Asia. My sons are in the Tech industry. So unfortunately, they don’t want to carry on. Boo! Hoo! Says, they want to “blaze their own trails”. Good for them!

        BTW, I sent them your link on How to start an online business, hopefully, they’ll make use of it. Thanks.

        1. Ah, Then you must be very rich! That was a business I was thinking about doing when I was a middle schooler in the 80s Growing up in Asia but knowing I would be going to high school and college in the United States.

          So maybe the secret is to try to anticipate what type of businesses will be in high demand in the future, start that business, and hope our kids find them interesting.

          It’s hard to predict the future, but I have to imagine that some type of Internet, technology related business is what will The most interesting. And also, every business needs to sell, so having some type of sales position should never go away.

          Learning to sell includes learning how to communicate, build relationships, and convince. These attributes will Always be needed.

  12. Also, the *best* solution I can see to this is, if you really care, just work really really hard and be really good at what you’re doing.

  13. Sorry Sam but you are becoming obsessed with your child’s success.

    I’m all for setting up a child to succeed but you seem to stress about it CONSTANTLY and build your entire life around ensuring he succeeds, to the extent you want to extend your business plan for decades to employ him in case he fails. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? What is this teaching him? Your parents are always there to bail you out? Your parents are willing to sacrifice themselves and their own happiness to ensure you don’t fail? They don’t sound like great lessons to me, certainly not conducive to raising an ambitious and driven child.

    Sure, do everything you can to encourage your child to learn and grow, send him to good schools etc., but he’s got to learn to stand on his own two feet and the world is cruel place, he might fail and HE has to try hard to ensure he doesn’t, not his rich parents.

    You also need to accept it for your personal well-being. You can’t control everything, your son might fail and you need to be content with that. Sure, be ready to support him if it happens, but don’t stress about things you can’t control and certainly don’t give up your own life goals just in case your kid isn’t a success.

    1. You are right. I am overly concerned about my child’s happiness. And I know it is kind of strange to be so concerned about my child’s future well-being, especially given he may have some visual issues. Maybe it’s bc I had a lot of difficulties in my childhood wrt to bullying, suspensions etc.

      For example, I do have life-insurance because I do worry that I might one day die early not to be able to take care of my family. But actually, I don’t think I’m alone because millions of people have life insurance. Life insurance companies are huge businesses.

      How do you not worry about your kids? What are some of the methods you have used and how old are they today? Are you a stay at home father as well? It would be great to meet Moore stayed home fathers who also run a business from home as well to trade Tips and strategies about parenthood and business.

      I do want to learn about how to not worry as much, and also how to not help other parents not worry as much and just go with the flow. It does feel good when parents emailed me saying this was a good idea, but perhaps I need to focus on my well-being more and not care so much. So any advice you can provide is very helpful. I’m always trying to learn from people who have been there before me.

      Did you buy your place in Vancouver yet? Seems like prices are rebounding after that foreign tax.


      1. Sam, you just seem a very stressful person based on a lot of your posts, and most of it seems unnecessary. You worry about how your family will cope financially if you die (you’re multi millionaire) and you worry about your child’s future career when he is 1, to the extent you want to extend your business far beyond you envisaged as a backup plan in case he fails.

        To me that seems excessive and I’d be concerned about my future health if you worry about those kind of things already. What happens if something you really do have to worry about comes to fruition? How will you cope if your wife passes and you’re left an only father? You’re going to become neurotic at this rate, worrying about anything and everything, even things outside of your control. You can’t bubble wrap everything in life and devise back up plans for every single thing that can go wrong.

        My comment was an observation of this post, but it’s more so an overall perception I’m getting from various posts you make revolving around stress and worry. You stress a lot, too much IMO, about things you shouldn’t be. You want to control the outcome of things you have little control over, and you worry about it seemingly constantly.

        Yes, millions of people have life insurance, but how many of those are multi millionaire retirees? Many people have life insurance just because it’s provided through work. To use that as a validation to get life insurance is silly as you are in the top 1% of the Americans, not some person scraping by.

        I don’t have kids, and I’m sure you already know that, so I obviously don’t know what it’s like to raise one and the stresses that come with it. However, I’ve seen the results of molly-coddling parents all too often and it’s usually not pretty. There is a fine line between supporting your child if he needs you and being that overprotective parent giving him everything he “needs”. Your job as a parent is to raise a child that can thrive in the world we live in, not to wrap him up and protect him from it.

        Sometimes it’s good to get an opposing view, though clearly I’m in the minority here. Surrounding yourself with wealthy parents and only listening to their advice is only going to get the same response. Take from it what you will, at least it got you thinking.

        And no, I haven’t bought a house in Vancouver, never will most likely.

        1. I do think it is interesting that you are telling me how to think without being in my shoes or other parent’s shoes. But I will take it as a compliment about your comments on me being obsessed, because that shows me that I go into great detail producing these posts and they make a connection.

          This is something you should consider if you’re trying to grow your website. You mentioned that you are embarrassed for linking your site here in the past. And that’s a shame that you’re not proud of what you produce. So one suggestion is to produce such good content that makes other people feel that you are obsessed. This way, you can stop being annoyed about other people’s work and be more proud of your own.

          I actually did not realize you do not have kids, because I don’t know people who criticize others or give advice about things they don’t have any knowledge about. Does that make sense to you? As I visit your website I now realize you’re 28 years old without kids. Write what you are knowledge about, otherwise nobody will give a crap.

          Sorry you did not buy in Vancouver when you arrived in 2012. I know it’s frustrating to see prices zoom higher and others get much wealthier in one of the biggest RE bull markets in the world. You just have to keep the faith. And if not, you can always just work for a longer period of time if you really want to get neutral inflation.

        2. As an observer myself, you sound like a bitter a—hole who thinks he knows it all but really doesn’t. And to try and make yourself feel better you have a need to bring others down and try to tell them they’re doing things wrong. Consider being nice and speaking from real experience and then maybe more people will care what you have to say and take you seriously.

        3. You’re 28, childless and criticizing this article for helping parents deal with worry? And now you’re bringing up the death of Sam’s wife and being a single father to try and create more worry?

          What the f is wrong with you? Why are you so bitter? I hope your employer doesn’t read your comments that you’re making on company time and your blog posts, because they’d fire you in a heartbeat for wasting company time and being a bitter person.

          Hope you get reported and get what’s coming to you.

          1. Sorry Jake but this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion a bit. My initial comment was simply an opinion and I accept you and others might disagree. I’m an opinionated person, what can I say? It’s somehow now spiraled into almost hate speech, which I never intended at all. I wasn’t wishing death upon anybody. I was simply using an example of a terribly stressful situation and how the fact Sam seems to stress a lot about unlikely situations could result in significant stress in this kind of situation. I agree, using that example was inappropriate.

            I’ve sent Sam a personal email of apology, but I don’t know if he reads his emails as I’m sure he gets a lot. So Sam, I apologize here also if I offended you. I thought I had good intentions in my initial comment but it has come across as judgmental and offensive. I do think you worry too much, but it shouldn’t have come across as questioning your parenting/life choices. So, again, I apologize.

    2. You must not have kids based on your lack of empathy and unnecessary criticism. Having children can change life goals and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sam is also not obsessed by any means. He’s a caring father who wants the best for his son. Any caring parent feels the same way.

      1. Thanks Jamie. But that would make no sense that VB would be giving parental advice and judge me about how I should feel as a parent without being a parent himself. That would be like running a financial independence blog and not being financially independent. Let’s give him a chance to share his wisdom.

    3. Very disappointing response that lacks emotional intelligence. As a new father, my outlook changed completely and now I’m entirely focused on raising my daughter Well. I worry about her being treated with respect and growing up in a society with equality, especially in light of all these Harvey Weinstein like harassment issues.

      I think it’s admirable Sam wants to keep his business for the long term, and I think having a business is a great way to educate our kids. Did you try and start a business and see no results, hence the bitterness?

      How long have you had kids? Bc unless they are out of the house, I’m concerned bc I’ve never met one parent who does not worry and think about ways to provide for their future.

    4. I would happily sacrifice myself financially or any other way to help my child at any given moment. That’s what being a parent is about. There is no more “me”. Just “we” and “they”…

      1. Well said. I would step in front of a bus to save my son’s life. There is literally nothing I wouldn’t do for his happiness, so I’m surprised by VB’s response. I’ve spoken to many other parents who feel a similar way.

  14. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

    I applaud your consideration for you child’s future, to give them an opportunity. However, speaking as the child of someone who ran a business and who also knew and grew up around quite a few children who’s parents ran businesses, I can tell you, the last thing most of us want is to go into our parent’s business. I would say it’s 75% no thank you, and 25% not a problem with maybe 10-15% of that 25% really getting into the business. Of the 75% no thank you, some 25% are ultimately forced into it via family pressure or circumstances and though they may be adequate at the job, never really take to it or don’t really do much to grow it. They act more like caretakers, keeping it moving along until the parents die and they sell it and retire. For example, after my father passed, my sibling ran the business for another ten years or so and then decided to do something else. I’ve seen it in other businesses as well, with the rarer case of the kid making the business more of a success than the parent.

    So while I hope your child really likes what you do and takes to it, don’t be too surprised if they don’t want anything to do with what you do, no matter how “good” they’d be at it in your eyes.

  15. Ms. Conviviality

    We have a cousin that owns a very successful sushi restaurant that seats about 200 people. He and his wife have 4 kids ranging from 5-12 years old. We were in the car with the whole family and the cousin mentioned how their neighbor sold the acreage behind his house to the developer that created a gated community of $1M+ homes where our cousin lives. I mentioned how you’d never be able to tell that the guy was wealthy looking at his house (small with overgrown grass/scrubs and old paint job). Cousin said “That guy has more money than he knows what to do with.” This is when our cousin’s son says, “Dad, does that make us rich?” Dad says, “Son, your mommy and I are rich, you don’t have any money.” Our cousin says he wants to keep the restaurant around long enough until the kids graduate college in case they want to take over the family business. When the kids are a little bit older, he’ll hire them to work at the restaurant so they get a sense of whether they want to be a restaurant owner.

    1. I like that line! We are rich, you’re not :-)

      It is for them to hold on to the restaurant for several years after their kid graduates from college just in case.

      What folks are failing to realize it seems that a family business is not there to force a child to take over at some point. After all, The business is the parent’s passion not necessarily the kids.

      The business is there to help provide some guidance and teachable moments while growing up, and be a source of employment or ownership of all else fails.

  16. In a sense, I don’t worry a lot about my son’s future. I provide him a safe and nurturing environment at home, and try to help develop a strong character and good work ethic. He has every opportunity in (public) school, music and sports, and I’m teaching him good study habits and exposing him to good role models. I’ve saved enough for him to go to college. But as he becomes an adult, it’ll be up to him to identify his passions and find his way in the world. My parents took this approach and none of us kids ended up in the family business, though we were exposed to it throughout childhood, and more than anything, from it we learned how to work hard by example.

  17. Ryan Turner

    I find this topic interesting, and very difficult. It is also much broader than people assume since small families concentrate enough wealth to guarentee the standard of living of one or two children even in the upper-middle class.

    I worry that having too many layers of safety alters a persons ambition and drive. Certain experiences give people a permanent desperation to earn and save money that cannot otherwise be replicated. The great depression is an obvious example of this, but I think you can see it everywhere if you pay attention.

    On the other hand its possible that people without that drive are happier, so whose to say which route is best?

    From what I’ve seen the #1 way to screw up a kid is the emotional absence of both parents. The #2 is when parents raise their children to believe that money is status (in the sense that more money = better person, and more money = happier). You sometimes see both issues converge and that can produce real pieces of work; I’m sure you know the type.

    FIRE is likely to avoid both issues, so you are probably off to a good start.

  18. I had this same thing in mind for a while and this is partly the cause I started blogging. Just figuring things out, good that I have a couple of years till my daughters become old enough to learn about such topics. Also, I got some criticism when I told others that I want my daughters to learn by the end of the elementary to speak English (I am from Europe), put together a website with HTML and CSS and have some basic coding skills. They said I want to force them to choose my profession. While I would be glad if they do so, I totally not force it. I just think that this knowledge would be a great asset, not extremely hard to learn and if they choose any other profession a steady fallback in case of emergency. Thanks for sharing this Sam!

  19. “One of the biggest problems with education is that we learn a bunch of subjects and forget everything we learned years later because we don’t see the relevance, nor do we apply what we learn to the real world. Therefore, we’re only teaching our children how to listen, follow instructions, study, and take tests.”

    Amen, brother. I have 19 years of formal education, including a master’s degree. And if you asked me what I remember from college, I’d be in trouble. I don’t remember any calculus, any economics, and finance. I do remember the definition of a dinosaur, though. That was certainly worth 19 years of schooling.

    The education business model established in the 19th century no longer works. As Seth Godin has pointed out on numerous occasions, we’re producing cogs that the world doesn’t need. Meh.

    I like your approach education much better. Make it hands-on and relevant. And nothing accomplishes that better than a family-run business. I suspect your son is going to do fine, providing of course that Financial Samurai lasts until 2042. Awesome post, Sam. Thanks.

  20. Awesome article Sam!

    Remember to also let your children play and be kids! I don’t like this structured activity stuff that my wealthy friends are into, you know where they run from tennis to swimming to ballet to music on a Saturday and must be competitive in everything. So many kids have anxiety attacks now before they’re even 10 years old and all of them are going to therapy for their nerves!
    Kids that get to just play and spend time in the dirt, they’re more balanced and happier!

    I loved working in my dad’s business, he had cool computers and electronics to fiddle with which was an absolute blast and a huge advantage!

  21. The best lesson we can teach our children is that it is a hard knock life still. I heard somewhere that China produces an insane number of MBAs a year. And in many countries where $60-80,000 US creates an upperclass life, many people will do what we are not willing to do, or do for less. Keep up the good work.

  22. I’m not going to worry too much about it. We’ll try our best and he’ll have to make his own way in life. I already have plenty of headaches dealing with the troubles he gets into. Good luck…

  23. Interestingly, I would add this to the “Here are some things you may worry about for your child that can be overcome by owning your own business:”Your child may be a European-American who is required to score higher on standardized tests to have the same chance of getting into a university”

    Gentile (non-Jewish) European Americans are the most underrepresented group at many of the elite institutions these days and not due to lack of ability or achievement.

    Note that no European-Americans alive today ever owned slaves nor benefited from slavery and the slave owning percentage of the overall USA white population was ~1.4% while it was ~6% of southern whites. Note freed Blacks had a significantly higher 25-30% slave owning rate by some measures. Moreover, Arabs and Jews played a lengthy and instrumental role in the Slave trade. The word “Abed” means “slave” in Arabic as well as meaning “black” and the Middle East has hosted far more African slaves than North America ever did. Moreover, Arabs captured and enslaved millions of Europeans over the centuries and some Middle Eastern countries only abolished the slave trade in the 1970s. The oldest synagogue in America was built by Aaron Lopez, a Jewish slave trader. Jewish writers such as Cecil Roth, Wilfred Samuels, Seymour B. Liebman, and Moshe Kahan have acknowledged that Jews were involved in all levels of the African slave trade. Of course, so were other Africans who often sold their less successful African brethren into slavery. Moreover, more slaves went to South America – ~10-15 million slaves were sent to South America, significantly higher than the ~400,000 who were sent to America. Finally, white indentured servants were common – 2/3 of whites came in some form of bondage and outnumbered black slaves through the 1600s. Finally, there are by some estimates 27 million slaves in South America, Asia and Africa still today – and they are not being held by Europeans!

    I say this only to point out there is nothing uniquely evil about slavery in the US on a historical basis and certainly nothing for which anybody alive today should be punished. This is particularly true given many people from Europe, in particular Italy and eastern Europe, etc., never had any slaves at all as they came here long after the civil war had been fought. Moreover, African Americans have a vastly better quality of life than Africans anywhere else in the world, including South America, Haiti (where I would note they have had self-rule for hundreds of years) and Africa itself!

    I for one do not donate and am saving as many millions (several millions to date and goal is to reach 8 figures in 10 years) to give to my children as I can since they are discriminated against in college admissions here in the US. I also do not donate to either my undergrad or graduate schools since they are making a conscious effort to exclude people like me and my children as the supply of seats is not increasing sufficiently to avoid creating a near ‘zero sum game’.

  24. My parents run a small but successful business and growing up my siblings and I learnt a great deal from simply listening to business talk around the dinner table. So there are definitely lots of advantages, which you’ve listed. However, there are also disadvantages that comes with it:
    – there are things that you and your wife just don’t have knowledge of or skills to teach your son
    – your son won’t have the opportunity to work as a team where he is just like everybody else (he will always be the bosses son)
    – no threat of getting fired
    – he can say ‘no, I don’t want to do that’ if you tell him to do something, which he wouldn’t do if it were someone else telling him to do the same thing (eg. work late)
    – his colleagues may not be as harsh or critical of him and thus he won’t have opportunities to grow and improve
    – his voice is more important.

    I guess one way to overcome the above is to make / force him work for someone else for a few years before he works in the family business.

    I know that you did not say that you will pressure your son into the family business but this pressure will come unspoken, especially if you have a really good relationship with your son. My parents never expressed their desire for me to work in the business but when they’ve been teaching me everything about the business for many years, it becomes an unspoken natural step. I felt really bad when I told my parents that I didn’t want to work in the business. In fact, I wanted to do anything BUT work in the business. It felt too easy. If you have instilled the value of hard work and non-entitlement into your son, perhaps he may also feel like it is the easy route.

    BTW, none of my siblings work in the business. We all just want to make our own way.

    1. This is great feedback. Thank you very much as it is giving me things to think about. Namely:

      * encourage, but don’t insist
      * ask for feedback and what he really wants to do
      * let him try on his own and discover himself
      * expect him to want to do his own thing, but use the business as a guide towards the thing he wants to do

      We never plan to have permanent employees for our business, all we work with are freelancers/contractors. That is how we get around nepotism and favoritism etc. who’s going to complain when there’s nobody to complain?

      The funny thing about experience is that you have a good idea of what is a more enjoyable path or lifestyle. Because I’ve worked the day job grind before, I know that he will face the pains of what everybody faces at work. He’ll be undermind, passed over for promotion, passed over for a raise, have to deal with office politics, etc. etc. Look at all the lawsuits and complaints about sexual harassment, workplace discrimination and so on.

      People put up with all this bullshit at work because they don’t have any other choice. They must work to live.

      In a very large way, dealing with all the bad at work builds character and makes you appreciate when things are good. Bad things drive you to try harder to find good things.

      He may very well have to figure things out on his own. I just see you working and are running a lifestyle business that is Internet-based as a far far superior way to live. And if he does not see it this way, then that is actually even better. Because he has found a lifestyle that is even more superior, which would be like finding the holy grail.

  25. Nice post. As a parent of a 4 year old daughter, I am trying to cultivate her natural curiousness of reading and learning more about the world. At some point I will give her a basic education on how to manage money and finances. However you can’t force interest in what a child will gravitate towards, it just requires cultivation when the interest is there. It’s good that you have a menu of options in mind but it’s still a few years away.

    Ultimately I like the advice that Buffett gives on parenting: give them enough to cultivate their passions and explore opportunities but not enough to ruin their experience of life.

    I think there is something to be said about starting from nothing, to have the experience of how hard it is to earn the first bit of capital (like you did working at McDonalds and like I found out working at the local cheap retailer of the era, Jamesway) that cannot be replicated if they are seeing the huge cash flow coming in from the family business. Why bother working at McD’s if your family business is bringing several K each day? Something to think about.

    And that’s why raising children is so freaking hard.


    1. True. Who really knows.

      I worked at McDonald’s because I didn’t have any other options when I was in the ninth and tenth grade. I would’ve happily taken a family business job for the same $4/hr instead of or in addition to. But there was no family business to learn from. I already knew since around the seventh or eighth grade that I wanted to do something business related.

  26. If owning a business is what you truly want, great, but it is not necessary. I think this article is really over-thinking things, and I would not advise it for the child’s sake; perhaps a trust fund with clear contingencies, if you want them to be financially set.

    Pressure to continue the family business can also really lead to resentment on the child.

    My father has worked in professional sports for many years. He and his employer (the team) were kind enough to allow me to work there each summer throughout high school and college. (This was a normal thing for the offspring to work for the team. You didn’t have to be the *owner’s* son/daughter.)

    I met the sports stars, ate for free, and got an insider’s view of what (generally) went down. I was not allowed in private meetings, but trust me, I didn’t want to be. There are players, coaches, team doctors, trainers, counsel, chief executive and operating officers, operations, turf, secretaries, catering, security guards, reporters and others who were not at the main facility but still connected (cheerleaders and marketing; criminal defense lawyers and agents).

    There are many people doing their part. Never felt the need to know how to “start a business from scratch” or “how to own a team and deal with diva players.” It was a lighthearted job and it was fun. I am grateful and glad there was no pressure.

    I feel very fortunate that I was blessed with the parents I had and my life! However, once I finished school, I left to do my own thing and see what else was out there. I am glad they did not have a family business that I was pressured to uphold. I left the whole scene.

    At the end of the day, I think people should do the best they can and appreciate what they have. If you are very unhappy, go after what you want and plan for the future, but realize that unexpected things are a part of life.

    People can plan all they want and it is wise to do so, but no one can control everything, no matter how much money you have. Also, every company/team/business does things a bit differently; you can always reach out and ask someone to meet with you to explain what they do and/or shadow them, etc.

    Congrats on your son.

    1. I am surprised to hear you believe a trust fund is better than having a business to help teach a child about how to apply things they’ve learned to real life. I really believe in the importance of earning your way through life.

      This is not a post about being financially set, since we are FIRE parents. This post is about providing guidance and opening up possibilities.

      I don’t think I mentioned pressuring a child to take over the family business. Can you highlight where I wrote that? Bc I need to clarify then. I’m always looking to improve my writing.

      Do you have kids? If so, what are some of the things you do not to worry? You write, “At the end of the day, I think people should do the best they can and appreciate what they have.” How does this help a child? What are the action steps?


      1. I did mean that the trust fund, if used correctly, was for financial security, not for teaching.

        Maybe there was some misinterpretation because I did think the post implied that the family business was a way to ensure the child will be financially set.

        The writing is fine, and a lot of people do want to be business owners, I am just saying I don’t think it is necessary.

        No, I do not have kids yet, but I would try to ensure that my kids have various experiences and are exposed to different cultures and ways of doing things, and teach them not to look down on others for being different or not being flashy with their money (I know people who assume that someone doesn’t have a lot of money if they are not riding in the most expensive car, etc.).

        Working for things is good. Teaching about saving and investing is good, and not giving in to impulses and blowing all the money just to impress people.

        And yes, people should appreciate what they have! Whatever it is — health, a free education, loving and caring parents, etc. Unfortunately, some people take their own lives, rich and poor, so all the money in the world will not make someone happy. But I think teaching the importance of instilling why people should eat healthy, study in school, save, and be kind to others is critical. I am sure your son will turn out just fine.

        1. Got it. No, this post really is not about financial security because I mentioned in the beginning we are already already FIRE and how the worst thing is to give our kids everything and take away their sense of accomplishment.

          I’ll be curious to know if you have different thoughts about how to not worry about your kids if you do decide to have kids in the future. I felt a little bit differently before my son was born, and I didn’t think about all these things in detail. But once he was born, everything became super real and Frankly a little bit concerning to think about the future for him.


  27. “Your child may be a minority who is required to score higher on standardized tests to have the same chance of getting into a university”

    Isn’t it the opposite case these days? A minority student will have a better chance of acceptance than a white student with the same test scores…

    1. No. Some minorities have to score ~14% higher on their SATs compared to the baseline. See the chart in this post:

      So just think if you are a minority who faces racial discrimination all your life and you have to score higher on standardized scores. That’s going to make life a little bit more challenging, but it’s not unsurmountable. I’m glad To have made you more aware about this issue.

      Here’s a current case:

      1. You’re right, I forgot about Asians. They are certainly getting the short end of the stick as far as college admissions go. Other minorities however, are benefiting, as you mentioned in your article. That said, we’ve all had advantages/disadvantages at some point in life, but I’ve been around long enough to know grit and determination count for much more than people think. Having a victim mentality and dwelling on injustices doesn’t get people far. I’m sure you agree.

        You’ve got a great blog. Thanks for sharing so much valuable content.

        1. Dood, el Farbe

          “You’re right, I forgot about Asians.”

          I do not intend this in a mean way at all, but I did get a nice chuckle out of reading that part of your comment on a website called Financial Samurai.

  28. There is SO much you can teach kids when you own a business. It’s fascinating when you can see first hand what goes into a business from behind the scenes and all the way around to the front. I never understood what my parents did and a lot of that was because they only worked on a small piece of a big puzzle and I never saw them working.

    I love all the various roles you listed that you can offer and teach your son about and the examples of traditional vs business focused teaching moments you listed at the end. Genius!

  29. Sam – I’m an avid reader of your posts and I really enjoy your blog. This post is very interesting as a lot of Americans struggle with this issue; how to employ family in a burgeoning family business. One option you might consider in addition to the jobs you listed is encouraging your Son to start his own business and hire you as consultant. This way he has “pride of ownership” while gaining your incredible experience insights.

    1. Good idea! Thanks for sharing. I do want to encourage my son to have the ownership culture because I think that is very powerful. When I was growing up, I was basically focused on the employee culture Because that’s kind of all I knew. Or all those encouraged

  30. Those are great endeavours towards securing your son’s future.
    But I hope you will still support him should he end up interested in radically different stuff, especially the kind that would be lower paying. I hope you will let him discover his passions and assure him that he needn’t have to choose business or IT to be a worthy son.

    1. For sure. That’s a default setting and a given. The business and all the tutelage is a safety net just in case he cannot find something he wants to do or join an organization that will accept him for whatever reason.

      If you have kids, how do you stop worrying about them and or what did they end up doing once they became adults?

      1. Based on your blog it’s easy for an outsider to see that your kid(s) will have some major advantages. Unlike most people they will have a solid understanding of finance and what it takes to be successful. They will have a great education. Don’t worry, enjoy the ride.

  31. The big thing to watch out for is will your kid want a career in the family business. That’s a big leap at one. A lot of kids don’t want that. It’s a good tact to train him or her in useful skills, but I wouldn’t count on them taking over a business. And that’s before we even note that thirty years from now online businesses may no longer be relevant.

    Ultimately you can provide them education but they choose the path.

    1. That’s true. I don’t count on him taking over the family business at all.

      What people don’t seem to realize is that every single job is working for some business, and many of the job functions at businesses are similar in every single business eg marketing, PR, finance, business development etc.

      To be able to educate about various work opportunities all in school has to be incredibly valuable. Because once you know the endgame, learning becomes much more interesting and meaningful.

      1. Kathy Abell

        Not to mention the exposure / experience gained working “marketing, PR, finance, business development etc.” tasks that will lead your child to decide which of these tasks they actually enjoy and would like to do as their line of work, either with the family business or some other non-family employer. If the child decides they don’t like any of those type tasks, well, that’s important to know early on so they can focus their education / employment efforts elsewhere.

  32. I agree with your thoughts on the subject . When a friend’s son was having academic issues in college she would often wish they had a family business for him to fall back on. Her husband was a doctor employed by a hospital so there was nothing they could offer him. She was an attorney working for a small firm . So yes, your idea is a good one with one hitch that I can think of… the child shows no interest and fights any attempt you make to get them involved in your business.

    1. That’s the thing about insurance. You hope you never have to use it! But with a family business, it provides a great teaching moment for so many aspects of life as the child grows up. I think it’s a no-brainer and I’d love to know why other people don’t think so.

      A daughter becoming a lawyer who then there is a doctor sounds like a dream come true for most parents, would you not agree?

  33. Great post Sam. Having a 5 year old and a 2 month old myself, the possibilities of where they may end up in life are making my heard hurt. But I will take your headline to heart and really try to enjoy the journey. The fact is, kids seem to end up on a similar level as their parents.

    My dad is a pharmacist. I’m an optometrist and my sister became a pharmacist. Pretty similar stuff. If my sons end up in a profession similar to me, it won’t be the worst thing in the world. I do really like the idea of getting them into a business mindset early on. I didn’t get any of that growing up. My blog is my first foray into business and there is a whole world of things out there that you will never learn in school. Would love to get them in on it when they’re ready.

  34. Brad -

    Glad to hear things are going so well for you!

    These are great ideas and interesting to read.

    One thing not mentioned, but good chance you already do, is to max out a SEP IRA plan. You could defer taxes on up to $54k with that option. I’ve always maxed mine out in good self-employment years.

  35. College dropout and I will make around $700k this year and am a self made multi-millionaire. Of course I am fully funding my kids education funds, want them to get degrees and have options but for me getting into sales and later starting a business have lead to financial freedom. I spend little time worrying about the future for my kids. They are smart, healthy and enjoying a great childhood. I am around more than 99% of other fathers, zero business travel and my wife was able to quit her job (making $150k a year) several years ago to be a stay at home mom thanks to our financial situation. Lucky kids!! (and lucky mom and dad)

    1. It’s interesting how this comment shows no empathy for what other parents are feeling and doesn’t address anything in this post. It just says you make a lot of money, you think your family is perfect, and you don’t worry. Only people who are insecure boast about their lives while offering zero iota of help.

      I would actually worry for your kids because it seems like you’re unaware and just focused on yourself.

  36. As a parent, my worries are my children not being able to be independent and taking care of themselves. It may sound simple, but after dealing with university students for the last couple of years, I am not very optimistic.

    From what I have seen, most of them can’t cook, don’t know how to plan for their future (know why they want to do in life) and tends to have very little financial knowledge and discipline. Worst of all, some of them don’t even know how to write a cheque.

    My plan is to nurture them to be self sustaining as early as possible. If something were to happen to me, they can carry on by theme and they won’t struggle in life.

    1. Hear, hear!! The Age of Entitlement we are living through right now is mind-boggling. Pull the plug on the wifi, and most people aged 25-and-under will cease to function.

      Parents who over-accommodate and put so many safety nets in place that their children cannot fail — albeit with the best of intentions — end up doing them a huge disservice. When you remove all possibility of failure, what incentive is there for children to work hard or master basic life skills? Far too often, parents who “want to give their children every possible advantage” end up promoting entitlement and complacency.

      So new parents, PLEASE, do your kids (and all of us) a favor: Teach them to do laundry, wash dishes, mow a lawn, grill a sandwich. Make them save at least some of their own money to buy things that they want, ESPECIALLY electronics. It is amazing how much more careful children are with things when they know they have to help pay for them.

      A little responsibility early on goes a long way!

        1. Hi Sam,

          My stepchildren are almost 13 and 14, and I care immensely about their education and their future success.

          (For context — I am a fellow W&M alum and a faculty member at an Ivy League institution. I mention this only so you understand that I am aware of the competitive landscape and the lifelong value of a quality education.)

          My concern — and the point of my caution — is that many parents have become so focused on ensuring their children are economically and educationally advantaged that they (often unknowingly) shield them from valuable life experiences that teach them to be responsible, accountable, and empathetic to the plight of others.

          Few things are more disenheartening than seeing a 20-year-old academic rock star fail miserably at “adulting” and basic human compassion.

          So, am I socking away 529 savings and making sure my kids do their homework? You bet! But they also know how to do laundry.

          1. That’s cool you are a fellow alumni. Does your employment your university help get your kids into that school? If so, that’s a pretty good advantage.

            I think it’s a given that all parents teach their kids how to do laundry, mow the lawn, clean the house, clean the toilets, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, pick weeds, and so forth no? I have always thought that was a default setting. But maybe this is my blind spot.

            In my culture, you go to do all the chores.

            1. No — no special favors for faculty. Even the Dean’s kid was rejected when he applied. (However, we do get a modest tuition benefit, good at any accredited institution, which is a nice perk.)

              “I think it’s a given that all parents teach their kids how to….”

              Hate to disagree with you, Sam, but no, they don’t. I think that many parents intend to teach their kids these things, but when the rubber hits the road, it just doesn’t happen. They either give up trying because of the kids’ complaining, or they rationalize about how busy their kids are with sports/school/clubs, or they simply don’t have the patience for the learning curve.

              And I have sympathy, because raising kids is hard — really hard.

              But I’m with Leo on this — I am far more concerned about my kids’ values, work ethic, and self-sufficiency than I am about the rank of their schools or the size of their inheritance.

              1. Hmm, interesting. I wash the dishes, vacuum the floors, clean the dining table and kitchen countertops, and clean the bathroom whenever needed. I don’t see how my son will not join me in doing these things and just sit on the couch.

                Guess we shall see! Reminds me of this post:


                I hope you and others readers will see this post is not about the size of one’s inheritance or school rank. Being able to NOT care about these things is precisely why I suggested this business solution route.

    2. Damn Millennial

      I think you are judging the wrong crowd. There are lots of successful and hard working millennials out there. Like many generations I think people tend to over generalize each other.

      While there is no doubt many that can barely order food to their front doors there are also many that are working really hard. I think the majority of the people I know are employed and somewhat focused-really focused on success.

  37. “Your child may be unattractive, even though you think he’s the cutest ever.”

    OMG Mr. FAF and I always look at our son and say, “He’s so cute!” or “He’s the cutest boy I have ever seen!” And then we look at each other and say, “Are we the only people who think that? Are we biased? I wonder if other people think the same.”

    I guess they don’t. Our son might be just one of millions of toddlers out there to other people, but he’s our one and only. He’s special to us, and that’s enough.

    I’ve thought about racial discrimination. While it’s impossible to control other people’s actions and behavior, I believe in trying to protect ourselves first. I will let Baby FAF learn martial arts so that he can protect himself when we’re not there. If we have a girl in the future, she will also need to learn martial arts. I want our kids to be strong and independent.

    1. I’m sure your son is very cute.

      But we are wired to think our child is the cutest, because that is how a child’s chance of survival increases. Haven’t you seen parents post incessantly on social media about their kids, or show pictures to people so they can get affirmation?

      This is also the beauty of parenthood. We see through the appearance to love and care no matter what.

      And for the record, I think my son is the most handsome, cutest boy on the planet. I’m sure other parents will think otherwise. :-)

        1. Pardon me for jumping into your conversation, but there is an old saying “There is only one most beautiful, perfect baby in the world. The miracle is that every parent gets that baby.”

  38. newparentinvest

    Hey Sam, I’m a new dad as well and what keeps me up at night is the future in which my son will grow up in. Jobs being replaced by AI or outsourced, potentially not fitting in, the economic state. I think when he turns 21, the housing market will be completely different. Millennials want mobility so I’ve changed my investment strategy to only purchase homes that don’t force you to settle down in one location for too long. My sons generation I expect to be even more extreme. Everyone working remote, being able to live anywhere in the world, and never wanting to settle down, so I’m also looking at investments overseas. But you are doing well brother and love reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

  39. That sounds like a great idea and incentivizes your son to learn about business. I think for other types of family run businesses, for example owning a chocolate factory or a logistics company, this works too, to pass your business along to your child or at least get them involved in it. However giving up control can be difficult if they have a different vision from you and a different way of doing things. Others in the company (eg if it is s bigger company that employed dozens or hundreds of people) might view it as nepotism.

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