Old Money and The Children’s Checklist

I’ve been asked on several occasions to comment on the subject of raising children. We’ve addressed it on this blog in a couple of posts and it’s covered in The Old Money Guide To Marriage to some extent.

However, I don’t think too much can be said about the challenges of raising children and how to best address those challenges. Being a big advocate of brevity, I’ve decided to include The Children’s Checklist below.

The idea behind the list is that, by a certain age, children should be able to check off the following experiences, abilities, and experiences as being in their arsenal of tools with which to go forth into the world. While by no means comprehensive, they should greatly help children become adults. They should help them make the most of this life and best shoulder the legacy you bestow upon them.

Without further commentary, they are:

  1. They should have had the experience and be secure in the knowledge that they are wanted and that they are loved.
  2. They should have been given the very best eduction you could provide, which includes not only classroom curriculum, but travel, work, and involvement with their community.
  3. They should have been exposed to a set of values, most often by watching your sterling example, and be able to articulate these values in general terms and apply them in specific circumstances consistently in their daily lives.
  4. They should frequently express gratitude for their position, their opportunities, and their freedom.
  5. They should have a proficiency in speaking a second language.
  6. They should have a proficiency at playing a musical instrument.
  7. They should understand the importance of dressing appropriately.
  8. They should have manners.
  9. They should be financially literate, ethical in their practices, and vigilant in their attention to their family’s legacy.
  10. They should consider themselves temporary stewards, not sole benefactors, of your legacy, both the legacy of money and the legacy of values, and pass them on in good, improved health to the next generation.

If they get these “Ten Commandments”, your children will have a good chance of fulfilling their potential, and making you proud, regardless of what they choose to do in life.

  • BGT

22 thoughts on “Old Money and The Children’s Checklist

  1. I’ve often wondered what it means for a child to be dressed appropriately–since they are playing and running around and often getting dirty it seems like button-up shirts and slacks aren’t a pragmatic choice for everyday dress. Any thoughts on how to dress children appropriately for day-to-day activities?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Always dressing for the occasion is important. If going to the pool or beach quality swim trunks for boys as well as little boat shoes. Think nautical. If outdoors consider windbreakers and that which is suitable for the activities. If going to dinner, more dressy attire is required. My daughter daily wears Ralph Lauren dresses always with matching bow but wears jeans and sneakers when going to the park. My son is an infant and there is no shortage of adorable gentleman’s clothes. Always think Lady and Gentleman. Also, much credit to my wife who seems to always have laundry to do. Hope this helps in any way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, the list is perfect. Only actually playing some musical instrument might be optional (though general knowledge of music, its history and trends is a must, of course,) for it might be replaced with some other fine art – painting, sculpting, or/and … writing poetry? Perhaps, I would add playng chess as well…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good list, Byron. The only things I would add are that reading should be strongly encouraged, especially by example, and taught from a young age, and that an appreciation of travel should be inculcated by travelling, especially internationally, as a family when the children are teenagers.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The list looks great Byron. I would only add that the parents should consider the child’s bent when looking at results. How a child applies what they have been taught may look different for each sibling. The key is to ensure that they have absorbed the basic concepts. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Again, well said, Byron. And I would echo Amy about the reading and travel internationally when they are a bit older. I liked that you included the need to express gratitude for their opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the list Byron! I’m going to write it down and put it aside for when I (hopefully) have children of my own one day. I especially liked all of number nine.

    Amy, good point on teaching them the habit of reading often. Formal education is great, but unfortunately for many people their education ends when their done with school. I believe education should be a lifelong pursuit, and that the mind can get old when people stop learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great list, Byron! So I’ll throw in my two-cents here. Perhaps I should not because I am not a parent, I’ve only seen parenting done from the objective sidelines. With that, I’ve always noticed how much more time, effort, resources, and attention one child can be given, versus a family having two, three, or a whole litter of children. It seems that my friends and family members with one child have a better handle on the parenting thing and can really focus on each and every aspect of the child’s rearing. It is obviously much harder with several children. A couple may have the financial resources for one child to attend private school, but not two or more children. Parents may have a harder time making sure several children are reared properly, one is probably a lot easier. Imagine trying to check each item off of this list for several children? Just my thoughts, I hope I have not offended anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Holly. You make an important point. While a ‘one child’ philosophy might be controversial in some circles, for families with limited resources, it is something to consider and perhaps plan. Especially now that two working parents is practically the norm for most of the country (if not the world), having and raising more than one child can be challenging, both emotionally and financially.

      I’d really like to hear other perspectives this, especially from parents. – BGT

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for your list Byron and to everyone so far for your contributions.

    This is a very private topic. To share how you ‘raise children’ is to expose something authentic about yourself, and therefore to be vulnerable to judgement.

    I enjoy the tone of Mr Tully’s website, its subject matter, you the community on it and your considered thoughts. So, I’ll open up myself to your criticisms and comments here.

    I am a parent of three aged 12, 11 and 9, two boys and a girl. We live in New York’s Westchester County. I am third generation, and therefore my children are fourth generation, money.

    I fully endorse Byron’s list. Listing ‘love’ at #1 was a stroke of genius. If you had to choose just one, that would be it.

    Allow me to focus on point 9, financial literacy and legacy.

    In centuries past, old money came from the land. Quick visits to Mount Vernon and Monticello in Virginia or even the earlier example of Philipsburg Manor in New York’s Hudson Valley provides the evidence. Petworth among countless others in the United Kingdom also points the way.

    This model ceased being viable about a century ago. Today’s families have substituted the largely passive role of landlord for Chairman of the Board. Primogeniture succession has been replaced by early entrepreneurial experiences, senior executive grooming and tight control of the stock register.

    I recently dealt with a NASDAQ company in which the third generation was the CEO of a subsidiary, the second generation CEO of the listed holding entity and the first generation the Emeritus Chairman of it all.

    Look to the Murdoch Family of News Corporation to see succession planning to the third generation unfold. Look even to the Trump sons in evidence of a third generation succession taking place. There are countless examples.

    Now, you’ll think this all a digression from Byron’s list. So let me reveal my thoughts here.

    When we speak of the need for children to be financially literate and to pass on an improved financial legacy, I see this being well beyond the scope of ‘living within your means’ and ‘investing your trust fund conservatively.’ These approaches have their place, of course, and will lead to sound living and prolonged financial comfort. However, we all agree that easy money is corrosive to children and they need to be productive for their own esteem. One of many ways old families prepare their children for a productive life is to teach them how to run the estate, or to put it in today’s terms, how to grow their business interests.

    Done well, growing business interested yield the best return on capital. The skill to achieve this is entrepreneurship.

    ‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘old money’ do not normally appear in the same sentence. But case study after case study shows old families apportion some of their capital to actively managed growth. That requires skill and they prefer to cultivate, practice and improve this skill in-house, meaning in-the-family.


    Not with MBAs and business degrees. In fact, old money value education for the rounding process reflected in Byron’s list rather than to boost a resume for a job hunt. Old money employs people. They don’t apply for jobs. They own the estate. They own the ‘means of production.’

    Rather, they give the next generation bite-sized expansion projects for which a manageable portion of capital can be safely quarantined without fear of affecting the overall holding. The scion is then mentored by an employed senior executive often under the watchful scrutiny of the father, and achieves a result good or otherwise. What is learned lasts a lifetime.

    Lachlan Murdoch, who studied literature at Princeton but was not groomed with a graduate degree, took his first job in Brisbane re-greasing old newspaper printing presses. He had some terrible early mistakes with an insurance investment using family money and will never make errors like that again. The Murdoch legacy is stronger for this planned training.

    I humbly suggest this is financial literacy old money style.

    For another far more accessible example of the entrepreneurial skill being taught even earlier: http://kenelmtonkin.com/Blog/young-entrepreneurs-at-the-lemonade-stand

    Of course, all this is just one person’s view, I have been wrong many times in my life and I’ve grossly erred on the side of monopolizing this thread. *smile*

    Byron, thanks again for your list and for everyone’s contributions.


    1. Financial literacy is a paramount for OM. But there are only few people who understand money.
      Andrew Dickson White, Fiat Money Inflation in France

      We have 6 and 9 years boys. Education started at 2,5. Those familiar with ontogenetic psychology, Piaget’s cognitive development teaching, John Gatto’s work, Frankfurt school, Iserbyt’s work know why.

      Between 2,5y and 6y human brain gains 85% of its adult volume. This is the most critical time of a kid’s life, this is the time when valleys in brain get deeper and myelin works like crazy, but ONLY WHEN A CHILD GETS IMPULSES FORM HER PARENTS AND SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENT. You miss this time and you will regret later! The smaller the “toys” a kid plays with, the finer soft motor skills are developed. Little fingers work, brain works. (Kids never play, they do not need to. Only adults like to see kids playing. The only playing allowed is musical instrument 😉 ). It is parent’s responsibility to prevent a kid from putting objects into her moth. We know that kids are teething at certain age. Stay away form plastic shit. 2 or 5 silver ouncer will do the magic. The kid is licking silver, swallowing silver particles, boosting up immunity. Infection illnesses prevented for life. Why aristocracy survived Black Death in Europe? Soon after you were born you got one drop of silver solution into one eye and one into another. Why? To prevent infection and loosing sight.

      Now back to financial literacy. I red radio shack closing, sears closing, subway closing, ralph lauren closing, payless closing …… but why? Deutsche is crashing, lehmans are gone so the stearns. No one remembers lazards any more. But why? Have you ever heard of fed closing its location in dallas, or ecb, closing, or bank of England closing? Why?

      I read that people found shares and bonds in the piano. Who would want to hide gold coins, a fool.
      Undisclosed company in floriada is searching sea floor for tons of paper. Those 19. century ephemeras are so valuable. They hold their value.

      Romans also horded paper rolls. We still find them in Switzerland.
      I read that a year and something ago 200 t of sliver were imported to America but never appeared on the market. Where is it?

      I agree with Byron’s commandments except school education. It is a brainwashing.

      Here is an example. My 9y old submitted application for literary content – “literary experience”. He wrote a paper about reading a book: Who was Marco Polo by Joan Holub. In his paper he encourages his pears to read the book because it is in English (English is a second language here) and because he wanted them to learn Polo’s traveling experience. The teacher said that the paper was bad and she recommended not entering contest. My son came home sad. I asked him if he wanted to submit the paper or not. He said he wanted. I asked why? Because I want my pears to read and improve their English and I want them to learn about different cultures ……. and Polo’s life. My son submitted his paper. Results came within a week. My son won the contest with a great book. His teacher was furious but results were final. (Can you imagine my son writing about Nikolai Kondratiev, or inflation in France? Would his teacher understand?)

      To round up regarding schooling: To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.


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