Tamsyn Parker

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor

What do the super-rich lose sleep over?

While average families worry about how to make ends meet the super rich fear their children will lack ambition. Photo/ Getty Images.
While average families worry about how to make ends meet the super rich fear their children will lack ambition. Photo/ Getty Images.

While many of us lie awake worrying about how to keep on top of the mortgage and bills a global study has revealed the super-rich lose sleep over their money causing lack of ambition in their children.

The finding comes in a report produced by London-based law firm Witherworldwide entitled; The meaning of wealth in the 21st Century - unlocking the secrets of successful families.

As part of its research, the firm analysed the attitudes of 4500 people around the world with more than US$10 million in personal wealth and then conducted a further 16 in-depth interviews with multimillionaires and billionaires.

Asked what was their greatest fear regarding their wealth and the wealth of their family in the future 37 per cent cited their health and the health of family members.

While 15 per cent said their greatest fear was that their children would lack the drive and ambition to get ahead in life.

The issue was less of a concern to the moderately wealthy - those whose assets were under US$10 million - who were more worried about failing to support their immediate family.

The report notes that while the desire of parents to see their children flourish was universal this could turn into anxiety and even significant insecurity when wealth was brought into the equation.

Read the full report here:


"For parents, the main concern is that great wealth will scotch the individual ambition in their children.

"Meanwhile, it is perhaps not surprising that children may feel somewhat inadequate in matching up to expectations when you consider the great heights of achievement their parents have scaled."

The research questioned several different generations in wealthy families and found different perspectives on the issue.

Some families had become estranged over the years because of it.

"Speaking from bitter experience, some felt this was because they had given their children too much, others because they had given too little.

"What is clear is that as with all parenting challenges, there is no simple answer to this problem.

"Yet every parent in their own way was continuing to try to find a way to support their children - of all ages - to achieve their own full potential."

The research found difference stages of family wealth in different parts of the globe with wealthy families in Asia facing challenges in passing the business onto the next generation and those in Europe grappling with managing financial family wealth in the wake of selling down a business.

Wealthy Americans were seen as having the most experience in moving from a successful business to financial wealth to moving back into business and social investment.

See the full report here.

- NZ Herald

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