Money

How the CEO of a firm that manages billions teaches his kids about money

Founder and CEO Elliot Weissbluth deals with a lot of money, since his wealth management firm HighTower manages nearly $50 billion in client assets.

He also manages a lot of kids: He's a father of five.

The key to raising your kids to be financially savvy is to start the conversations about money early, Weissbluth tells CNBC Make It: "You want to talk about spending, saving and giving."

Once you get the conversation going, let your kids be hands on.

Elliot Weissbluth, founder and Chief Executive Officer of HighTower
Elliot Weissbluth, founder and Chief Executive Officer of HighTower

Weissbluth's children, who range in age from 10 to 16, all oversee their own savings and checking accounts. They get an allowance each week, but not just to spend: They have to make contributions to their savings account and to a charity.

That helps them understand what a savings account is and how it's different from a checking account, he says, and it teaches "the importance of putting a couple of dollars away for giving back. Even if it's a modest amount of money … they always need to be thinking about how they're going to give back to people that are less fortunate."

Another lesson the CEO hammers home: "The money that is generated by a family requires a tremendous amount of work."

That's harder and harder to do today, he notes, since so many transactions are made online or with the simple click of a button or swipe of a card: "You have to train them and teach them that even though it's super easy to take one of these devices and go click, click, click, 100 bucks … That 100 bucks actually took a lot of effort to generate."

The best way to teach it?

Put them to work. In fact, all five of Weissbluth's kids will be paying for a portion of their college tuition, he says: "Either they will go into debt to me or they will go into debt to the federal government."

Having skin in the game "creates a certain accountability, and I don't think you do kids any favors by depriving them of that accountability."

Editor's Note: After publication of this story, an AdvisorHub article reported that Elliot Weissbluth allegedly failed to make a scheduled $75,000 payment to his ex-wife, with whom he is currently engaged in a custody battle, and allegedly argued in court that he was illiquid. His representative Tom Clare, partner at Clare Locke LLP, provided the following statement: "It's unfortunate, especially for the minor children at the center of a confidential court proceeding, that a selective portion of that proceeding has now been made public by a frustrated party to that case. Mr. Weissbluth has made all required payments, including the payment the AdvisorHub article attempts to describe. The AdvisorHub article is a deeply flawed portrayal of a responsible father, husband and executive. The implication of insolvency is ridiculous. We ask for privacy regarding these private family matters, which have nothing to do with Mr. Weissbluth's business."