Leaving money to children vs. donating it to charity

The single largest concern and obsession of many rich is how to leave money to their children. How much is too much? How can they be prepared? What is the ideal age to receive a trust fund?

Yu Pengnian, a Chinese real-estate tycoon who has committed over $1 Billion to his charitable foundation, has some wise words for Americans pondering their children’s windfall.

“If my children are competent, they don’t need my money. If they’re not, leaving them a lot of money is only doing them harm.”

That is to say, too many wealthy parents focus on preventing their children from failing. But in doing so, they also deprive their children of the joys of self-made success.

The idea is all the more remarkable coming from a Chinese tycoon. In Asia, wealth is dynastic by nature. Businesses are created to be passed down through the generations. Wealth and privilege, in Confucian fashion, are truly all in the family.

“Everybody has a different view of money,” he told the Globe & Mail. “Some do good things with it, some rich people do nothing with it.…My goal is to be a leader, a pioneer who encourages rich people, inside and outside of China, to do something charitable.”

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