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Rich Kids Worry Money Will Strain Family Ties

Thursday, 7 Jun 2012 | 4:19 PM ET
Child with money
Child with money

Inheriting millions of dollars has its obvious benefits. But a new study finds that inheriting vast wealth also some less obvious downsides.

For the study, called “Next Generation Wealth,” Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management and Campden Research interviewed 53 wealthy families, most of them with net worths of $100 million or more. The main subject was how to pass wealth successfully from one generation to the next.

The survey found that managing, making and protecting wealth were important concerns for the wealthy families surveyed. Yet it was the “softer” issues that families worry most about when it comes to the impact of wealth on their children.

Specifically, the study found that the top concern for both parents and rich kids was the impact of wealth on their relationships. Another top concern was falling victim to scams and thieves.

Nearly half of the inheritors were highly concerned that wealth would complicate their relationships with spouses, partners, friends or colleagues. These concerns far outpaced financial concerns like taxes or effectively managing their wealth.

The results are even more interesting when you look at differences between men and women who inherit wealth. Fully 79 percent of women who inherit wealth worry that their wealth would complicate their relationships.

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Only 22 percent of men who inherit money worried about wealth and relationships. While more than three quarters of women worried that wealth would complicate their childrens’ relationships, only 35 percent of men worried about the issue.

Women were also more worried about becoming targets. Half of women were concerned about becoming “a target of unscrupulous people,” compared to just 28 percent of men.

Why do you think heiresses worry more than men about the impact of money on relationships?

-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter:
@robtfrank


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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.