Q: I had a brutal and dysfunctional upbringing—below poverty line much of the time. Consequently, making money is of paramount importance and work trumps everything else. I love my kids want them to have everything I did not have, including a good-sized trust fund. Some of my friends have mentioned the kids “are spoiled” and that I am doing them no favors providing them with the level of almost whatever they want. Regretfully, I got livid and said some very unkind things. Tell me I am going down the right path here. I do love my kids.

 A: I cannot tell you what path to take or if you are on the right path for your kids. I can tell you that there is a healthy type of love for one’s offspring and unhealthy types of love. Studies have shown that happiness is not tied to money and possessions, not even to people you know. Kids who are spoiled with “money and things,” tend to basically live a somewhat dissatisfied life—especially after their “sugar daddy” (father) has died. During his lifetime they often act very loving to his face because they want the supply train to keep delivering. Behind his back, however, they are often very dismissive of him as a person and even laugh at how hard he works “to give us what we want.”

When children do not have to work for what they get and learn to save, they can be predisposed to fall apart when Daddy dies—less because they miss him as a loving parent and more because they fear the supply train will diminish. For girls, they may never realize a healthy relationship because it is the rare partner who will have the resources to allow her anything her heart desires. Recently there have been some articles written about “Hollywood parents” and/or “wealthy parents” who are not leaving all their money to their kids..... Hmm. Human beings teach others how to treat them. You might at least want to consider this in relation to your current financial goals and perspectives for your kids.