People on this forum who grew up poor but became successful, how do you want to raise your kids (and how have you done so)?

Posting this after reading that other thread about people with rich parents. I have wanted to made this post for a couple weeks now as I've been thinking about kids recently. 

My background is I grew up poor in a single-parent household. My mother and I are both 1st-gen immigrants. I had a POS abusive dad who made like 80k but I never saw him (and in retrospect my mom didn't negotiate divorce terms very well so that money never got to me). My childhood was legitimately terrible. I'm not here to whine about that so I won't get into it but  most people miss their childhood, I hated mine. People in the other thread were talking about how rich people's feelings get ignored because they're rich. I legit have no sympathy for your first world problems.

Anyways, I'm in a good place career-wise now. I'm not yet 30 and I'm making 7 figures at a MF, been told I'm looking good for partner track and I am at least confident that I will make principal. And my GF and I have been thinking about kids. She comes from a UHNW family and shit and she hasn't really thought about this stuff but I'm really thinking about the differences growing up different classes have in America.

I grew up in the dogshit midwest. I remember my mom's close friends had cousins who lived in NJ, were execs in NYC. Just going there was so different. As a kid I thought it was so cool to have a 6000 square foot house and have a movie theatre in your basement. But as I grew up, I realized how fucking spoiled those kids were. Like, as a teenager, I realized how much of a greater understanding of the world I had than them just because they had grown up in a bubble their entire lives. I don't want my kids to suffer like I did. But at the same time I don't want them to grow up with that white picket fence, giant house, etc., which they did nothing to earn, do not appreciate, and will likely not understand the greater world in that environment alone.

The second side of this is education. I attended dogshit public schools until 8th grade, at which point I started waking up at 5:30am to go to a out-of-district suburban competitive public school. Even with my dogshit education, I succeeded in my classes, was val, got into HYP, etc. However, I understand that this is not possible for most people and early education plays a huge part in our intellectual formations. I am definitely going to send my kids to Exeter or w/e for high school. Like, the opportunities that provides is just not comparable to anything else. However, what about before that? I am legitimately considering sending them to a shitty public school just so they can see a bit more of the world because I'm sure they will live in a bubble either way because of my income. In this case, I would supplement their education at home in some way. 

Also, I'm definitely talking to my GF about this this weekend. Just been crushed lately but yeah.

This is really poorly written because I have a meeting in like 3 minutes but what do you guys think?

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (55)

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 29, 2021 - 8:25pm

My parents came from humble beginnings and made sure to impart that on me and my siblings. Working class immigrant family who grew up in Middle Village and Woodside in Queens. They worked hard and went to HYP, solid jobs and allowed me and my siblings to grow up in the UES. what they did was that they kept me and my siblings humbled by still making us work for our allowances/money etc despite also sending us to private school in NYC and other things along those lines to keep us from getting too spoiled. My siblings went K-12 at private whereas I went 6-12. I do not think my attending public school for 6 years opened my eyes about the world or anything compared to my siblings. But it was the working and constantly keeping us grounded by understanding the value of money that made us appreciate it and not be spoiled. While we did get nice things for our Bdays, christmas, my parents were never over the top with vacations or other things. 

  • Intern in Consulting
Apr 30, 2021 - 12:45pm

I was born middle class when my parents started their business, but by the time I was in high school they grew the company and made it into the 1%.  My parents both grew up in poor/middle class backgrounds themselves.  Here's a few things they did when parenting me that I really appreciate:

1. Teaching the value of money.  For example, I vividly remember wanting to buy a play station for my birthday.  When we went into GameStop, my dad compared the options and saw that a used one was cheaper than new, and we also got an older version.  I also remember my brother wanted these new 'cool' sneakers that were $100 (which was a lot for shoes back then).  My dad said "no" and they instead found a paid of shoes on the clearance rack that were only $35 but looked almost as 'cool.'

2. Visiting family that was less financially successful for holidays- this showed us our parent's roots, showing us that it was not always easy, and how lucky we were to be in the position we are in.  It also showed us that people who aren't rich are very good and happy people, and you don't need to be wealthy to be happy.

3. Giving us 'challenges' to overcome.  The key to developing teens and young adults is giving them a struggle.  This is hard if you are wealthy.  But there should always be a goal the kids work towards, such as making varsity on a sports team, getting into a selective college,... The point is the kids would be focused on something and less likely to be the rich bratty teens depicted in pop culture.  Many of my friends who I grew up with had no 'purpose' in life because everything was given to them, so they meandered through high school with decent grades, went to a decent college, graduated with a decent GPA, played video games a lot, and most of all were never truly motivated towards achieving something. 

4. We went to a public HS.  I know this is unpopular on this thread, going to public HS was one of the best things to happen to me.  At public HS, nobody gives a fuck about you, so you have to navigate it yourself.  You have to take initiative to be on track and succeed.  If you don't study, you get a bad grade- mommy can't bitch to the admin on the phone, getting them to change the grade.  Many of my friends who went to private HS have this entitlement feeling that things like good grades, a job, etc should be handed to them on a silver platter.  Especially in the northeast, there are some quality public schools to send your kids to.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Apr 29, 2021 - 9:08pm

On the school part -- I think early on you want them in private school getting the best available teaching when they're just starting to learn how to learn. Send them to public school for middle school where social life actually starts to matter and force them to make new friends outside of the private school bubble from different backgrounds than them. Then in HS send them to the best private school you can so they can go to a good college.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 30, 2021 - 12:36am

If the private school is in the same city, it's not that bad.

Edit: And even if it's not, they'll have summers, outside activities, stuff like that

Apr 30, 2021 - 6:40am

I think this a fear a lot of people have but I just don't get it. I went to five different schools growing up. Was not super fun on the first days at a new school all over again, but really not bad in the long run. I don't feel scarred or anything. In fact, I think it taught me to be more adaptable and make friends easy. I have had friends who were military kids and went to 8 or 9 different schools growing up - all pretty normal people. Just my experience though.

May 1, 2021 - 2:56am

Sheltered mindset. I went to 6 different schools, all public (we moved around a lot). The idea that a kid's social life can't be meddled with isn't good for them in the long run. "Fragmenting their social circles", it's called telling the kid to suck it up and learn how to make new friends and adapt. Kids are tough, they're only fragile if you let them be.

Apr 29, 2021 - 9:30pm

Your dad made $80K per year.  That's more than the median of US households and far more than most people in the world. Maybe, I don't have sympathy for your first world problems.

Come on dude. Cut it out with that shit. People are complex. Most of us have some sort emotional baggage, some much more than others. We're all human beings and we're all in this world together. That's the first thing that I want to teach my kids before even figuring out private versus public schools.

Honestly, that's my biggest concern. How do I raise my kid to not be a douche bag on this planet? I don't really care what they do career wise. I'm sure that they'll be able to do something to put food on the table whether it's pushing papers at an insurance company or working 80-hours a week doing M&A.

Apr 29, 2021 - 11:55pm

He said that he had an awful childhood in a single parent household. The father was abusive, non-present and the money didn't flow to him. He didn't want to elaborate for obvious reasons. 

As someone preaching that we're all in this together your reply is strangely aggressive while lacking compassion. 

Just had my trade dispute rejected by Schwab for a loss of 35k. This single issue alone should be a gigantic red flag to anyone who trades on their platform.

If they have a system error, and you do not video record your trading (they actually said this), they will not honour their fuck up. Switching everything away from them. Fuck this company.

  • 2
  • 3
Apr 30, 2021 - 6:03am

I think you hit the nail on the head.  And what stood out to me the most in his story was the part about coming from an abusive single parent household, not the part about being poor. I feel for the OP.  That's terrible. No one should have to go through that. 

However, if you could choose between coming from a rich abusive household or a loving caring two-parent poor household which would you choose? I'd go for the latter in a second. About half of my childhood, my parents were poor - it was the best half! Wouldn't trade it for anything.

And that's what's getting lost in this conversation. Life is not about you hit X dollar amount and you are magically happy. If the OP said, people with two normal parents shouldn't really complain that much, then I would agree much more.

EDIT: Also, I don't know if the OP caught it, but there's is an inherent contradiction in his post. He says that he has no sympathy for "rich people's feelings being ignored because they're rich" but the OP makes 7-figures now. So, he's rich! By that logic, all of his life complaints are invalidated and should be ignored. Now, I don't think that's true at all. OP has struggled and likely continues to struggle. It's ridiculous for someone to say that all of the OP's struggles and pain should be ignored because he is a PE guy who makes 7-figures.

And I admit that my comments can be a little sharp, but I'm just trying to show how upside down this logic is and does not even apply to the OP himself. If OP told me that he had an 8-figure salary now, I would still feel for him. There's nothing much worse than growing up like that.

Apr 30, 2021 - 12:04am

Raising her to squat and read. And do a lot of fucking shit I don't wanna do.


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.
Most Helpful
Apr 30, 2021 - 10:30am

tagging a few who I know have kids, I do not have any Synergy_or_Syzygy Layne Staley hominem Alt-Ctr-Left

first, kudos on being able to write your story so humbly. I grew up decidedly middle class so my experience is very different from yours, however I do advise plenty of people that have this dilemma - they grew up without, their kids grow up with, how to strike that delicate balance of not wanting to spoil them while not putting them through the same miseries you had?

here's the cold hard truth - you can't have it all. you are the person you are precisely because of your experiences. if you send your kids to top notch schools and they're surrounded by the children of other 7 figure earning HYP grads, they could turn out precisely like the people you don't want them to become.

what I've seen - families that seem to strike the best balance eat their own cooking when it comes to advice like this. you cannot expect to keep your kids grounded if you've got a mansion on the 18th green at a nice CC, buy overly expensive cars all the time and reup them, have a nanny, get your kids brand new clothes and shoes all the time, etc etc etc. you have to practice what you preach. what does this mean? buy a house that's significantly less than you can afford, you should be one of the highest earning people in your neighborhood, because you're deliberately not surrounding yourself with people who are super wealthy. when you travel with the whole family, fly coach, stay in nice rooms but not the nicest room, and set limits on spending for your kids that are artificially low. your kids will pick up what you do more than what you say. so the manner in which you conduct yourself will dictate how they perceive wealth. I've also seen family charity projects work well. plenty of children of clients I have grew up not wanting for anything but their parents always dragged them to church service projects, soup kitchens, see their parents giving to various causes, and deliberately getting the kids out of their normal social circle. 

where people fuck up - do as I say, not as I do. seen people tell their kids the virtues of hard work and living below their means meanwhile they drive new porsches, live in multimillion dollar homes with all of the requisite staff (nannies, cleaning ladies, landscapers, etc.), and all of their friends are in the same financial status they are so no one's shy about it. I'm not saying you shouldn't do those things, I'm saying that if you do those things your kids will assume that's normal and good or bad, become a product of their environment.

what would I do? - hard for me to say as I don't have kids but since you don't either, let's speculate. first, I have an allergic reaction to the kinds of people that live in nice neighborhoods, it's constant dick measuring about cars, stock picks, golf courses, how much money their wife spent on this or that, expensive vacations where they don't even explore and just eat pricey hotel lounge food. therefore, the staying away from the joneses is no problem for me, I strongly dislike those people so while I can afford a house much nicer than what I have, I like where I live. I'm also not a car guy, into fashion, or paying people to do things I can easily do myself. I do my own landscaping, my wife does all the cleaning (no cleaning lady for us), and I'll do a project or two around the house (simple stuff, my father was not handy). I'd probably do montesoori and then general public school + tutoring or a charter school (my area has several rigorous public charter schools that place kids in top schools every year). part of this is what I've seen locally, and part of it is my supposition that the possible downsides of spending insane amounts of money on a private school just so my kid can move around powerpoint slides for some bank isn't all that appealing. if that's the route they want to go, great, but in my part of the country you can get a top notch education from the public school system, particularly our charter schools, so I say why bother. my answer may vary if I wasn't where I am.

I'd also make sure my kid is involved in volunteer work alongside me until they found what they wanted to do. finally, and this is the most important thing, I will not give them money or leave them with the assumption that I'll pay for all their shit. I will give them ugly reliable cars in high school and only pay for enough gas to get them to and from school/sports/work. they will need to get a part time job if they want spending money beyond the minimal amount I'd give them in allowance. too many parents take the tack "school is their job" and I think that's bullshit. if a kid can't balance high school and a job waiting tables or whatever, they're in for a rude awakening in life. working has the added benefit of dealing with the general public and with people of other backgrounds. if you're a high school kid with a part time job, even a bougie one like waiter at a country club, the year round employees will most certainly be lower middle class, that's good to interact with them, see how the other side lives, rather than developing a cocaine habit, some unkempt lacrosse haircut, and a distorted view of reality if left to spend what daddy makes.

only exception would be if they were potentially a D1 level athlete, in which case I'd emphasize volunteering more.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 30, 2021 - 2:44pm

Was going to say something along the lines of this. You really hit the nail on the head.

Want to add one thing though and it will be something that OP will probably not want to hear. You need to be there for your kids and make time for them and their priorities, it sounds obvious but a lot of people in your position do not do that. If you're high up at a PE firm and your kid has a soccer game, you need to make time for that. There are things here and there that you can skip, but it will completely screw up your kid if you miss everything. It doesn't matter if you have a nanny, or a stay at home wife who's always there, you and your wife always need to make a concerted effort to be a present parent. And if you're constantly working that makes it really tough. 

May 3, 2021 - 1:26pm

Agreed, never understood the nanny thing tbh. If you can't be there for your kid what's the point of having them? My mom worked full time on WS before she had me and then went back to work when I was pretty much able to look after myself (early high school)

Apr 30, 2021 - 5:10pm

For a guy without kids, I'd say you pretty much nailed it.

Everyone who knows someone who works in PWM or otherwise has exposure to wealth knows the 3-generation cycle - the first builds wealth, the second maintains it, and the third loses it. Sometimes it's faster, sometimes it gets drawn out, but it's all for the same reason: the conditions that existed in the first generation to create multi-generational wealth (some combination of grit, willingness to take risk, identifying opportunities, luck, etc.) go away.

So you have to hit a reset button if you want to break that cycle. Your guidance on what this looks like lifestyle-wise is excellent. Keeping kids grounded means forgoing things that might bring you comfort but rob them of necessary character-building.

I draw the line at safety. Does living around violence produce some unbelievable hard workers and people willing to do anything to get out and provide a better life for themselves and their families? You bet it does. It also gets people killed. Not worth it, in my book. Does not being able to afford a doctor visit teach a different pain threshold for when a kid has an upset stomach? You bet it does. Might be appendicitis though. I'm not going to re-create extreme conditions for my kids that threaten their long-term safety in order to also provide them with the character-building stimulus that drives some people to greatness. My kids know home as a safe place with plenty of food and parents who listen.

But "safe" and "comfortable" are very different things. You can teach kids to be tough and to work hard without being abusive. They have to be uncomfortable, regularly, and under supervision, or else they don't have a chance to grow and develop (mentally, physically, and emotionally, as it turns out). And as you pointed out, kids pattern after their parents' actions much more than their words, so that means the parents have to live what they preach.

My kids watch me and my wife work, struggle, check off things on to-do lists, figure out problems, lift weights, make choices about diet, make choices about spending, have tough conversations with people we love, and try our best to grow as people. We don't have to do many of these things. We make enough money that we could outsource cleaning toilets or weeding flower beds or working on an old car or a whole host of other tasks. But my motivation for many of these things is to show my kids how I approach and deal with what goes into being an adult, so that over time, they can learn how too.

We don't live in a nice cookie-cutter suburban neighborhood. Our neighborhood is safe, but it's in a city, and we're surrounded by families of lots of income levels, and our neighbors probably think we make a lot less than we do. We have some nice things, but we take care of them, we don't churn material goods.

Will it work? Hard to say! But my hope is that when they're grown and have kids of their own, instead of figuring out how they're going to spend my wealth when I'm gone, they're making choices and some sacrifices in order to bring up their kids in a way that hits the reset button again. Different kind of cycle and much easier said than done.

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
  • 1
May 1, 2021 - 3:11am

As someone who went to mid-range public schools my entire life, but who had parents occasionally pay for private tutors for select subjects, I can tell you I was academically far ahead of most of my peers who went to expensive private schools. Then again my mother was a teacher so she played an active role in my education. I think you can spend less money in a much more targeted and customized fashion towards your child's education instead of just throwing money at a private school and making your kid some school's problem. Seems like a lazy way to raise a child. But then again private schools aren't entirely for the education, it's so you can surround your kids with the children of people you want them (or yourself) to be associated with. Those same private school kids who I was leaving in the dust academically had far more social capital than I did, and I had to work hard to learn to navigate a world in which they have spent their lives in. Make of that what you will.

May 1, 2021 - 12:13pm

There is expensive private schools and there are top tier rigorous private schools...those are not created equal. The expensive but normal outcome private schools I'm sure are equal to a decent public school. However, once you get into the top tier private schools those kids are no doubt better prepared. Do I think that really matter in the end, no. Did I go to one of those schools, no. You as an individual must be just pretty smart and/or your peer at expensive schools were at the expensive but not academically rigorous ones, or both. 

May 2, 2021 - 2:21am

A lot of great points here from Brofessor. I tip my hat to you, sir. I hope the OP reads everything you wrote and takes a lot of it to heart.  One thing I didn't see you mention was anything regarding his girlfriend. As he is not yet 30, comes from an impoverished background, and is doing well exclusively because of his work ethic and intellect, I'd caution having kids with a girl from an UHNW background. I've seen more than a few of my hedge fund/PE/VC/entrepreneur friends who don't come from a lot of money marry someone who did and it go very poorly in the long run. The reason? Their wives simply didn't share their ethos. 

The best advice I ever got from anyone regarding relationships was from my old boss (C-suite exec at 3 different BBs before becoming a CEO at a fintech and buying a hockey team). We were getting drinks with the MBA interns and he told me as an aside that I should try to marry someone as close to me as I could find. I was clearly trying to hit on one of the girls, and he was warning me that it was a bad idea. The idea that opposites attract is true for a modicum, but not for people like me. He ended up inviting me to come with him for another drink after that to meet his wife. After introducing me, he asked her to tell me why they have such a good marriage and she said, "Because we're the same." He then proceeded to tell her that I had been quite keen on one of the new associates early in the evening and that he was saving me from a lifetime of problems. He was a meatball from Queens. She was a marinara from some ungodly exit off the turnpike.

She spent nearly two hours regaling me with stories of all the various people she knew in the business who got divorced precisely because of a mismatch in upbringings. It turns out that if you grew up with horses, you can never really forget that the stable boys shovel horse shit.

As a real life example, I just had a friend who is a multi-millionaire in his mid-30s get divorced from a woman who went to Andover and comes from an UHNW background. They have 3 young kids. She had ideas about how the kids should be raised that were fundamentally at odds with his ideas on the topic. They had talked about it before having kids, but saying something and doing it are two very different things. And it turns out that she only knows how to be a certain way. I hope the OP considers this before going down that path.

The OP mentions wanting to send his kids to Exeter, and he's not wrong in saying that the social network coming out of such a place is extraordinary (better, I'd argue, than HYP due to the massive selection bias towards the ultra rich). The truth--as I see it--is that if you send your kids to Exeter, the likelihood that they won't be over-privileged assholes is very low. I'm not saying it's impossible, it's just unlikely. I don't think you can keep them grounded while breathing rarefied air. One is inimical to the other.

Still, if you have the means, send them to Exeter or Eton or whatever. It gives them the best shot at success for someone coming from money. At least, it gives them the best shot at cultivating a network that allows them to make money from money rather than work. In the event that they're not as clever as you, that's the safest way to maintain (or perhaps even grow) wealth in the second generation. Given the OP's background, he has to be very clever. If he's poor and from the Midwest, getting into HYP without legacy is exceedingly difficult. I'm guessing he's white which makes it even harder. That's maybe a 1% acceptance rate even if you have a 1570+ SAT and/or a 35+ ACT. If he can achieve that coming from a broken home in the Midwest, that means he's anomalously intelligent. There is little chance his kids will be that smart. And even if they are, they almost surely won't have his work ethic. 

I guess that was his real question--how do you instill a work ethic in a person who isn't hungry? I doubt anyone knows the answer to that.

May 2, 2021 - 3:23pm

Very nice post sir and good story. I recently started talking with a girl and we are very alike in upbringing and views on like/kids/how households can/should be run. It's something that I've personally been picky with, making sure a potential future partner has similar worldviews that I have.

Go all the way

May 3, 2021 - 3:09pm

It's a very interesting and engaging conversation. I'll try to add something productive without injecting too much of my own bias. Let's approach this Socratically with some questions to set the stage.

The first fundamental question is "Do I want my kid to be successful?" and within that, "What is my definition of success?" Don't laugh! It seems like the majority of people here have tacitly agreed that the definition of success is having a high earning career and to create/build on the family wealth, and their goal for child rearing is to raise a child who will be successful according to that metric. But of course, there are many choices in life and most of those choices don't make a ton of money. Would you be ok with your child pursuing a different course?

What if they were wildly successful in a niche that would never make wealth or something non-profit? What if that choice was only made possible with your financial support and this would drain your modest amount of family wealth by the end of their life? They may have an entirely different approach to money, or politics, or social justice, or other world view than you do -- would you still support them?


So, pause here. Let's look at some of the binary decisions here in this light:

Public school vs. Private school vs. Boarding school.

  • If your child is smart / lucky enough to get into boarding school, would you send them? You're losing a lot of the four prime teenage years to spend with your child. Losing the opportunity to directly shape their development in these years. Or just have fun with them? I remember playing sports with my dad, going on weekend camping trips, museums. Is it selfish of me to want to "keep" more quality years with my child if they could go to boarding school? Or is it selfish of me to prioritize career success over the potential downsides? Do you let your kid choose? Would a 13-14 year old child be able to make such a decision, and how much should you guide them based on the value of your perspective?
  • Do you spend money on private school during earlier years? This is kind of a trick question nowadays because everyone with means sends their kid to preschool, which costs about $2000+ per month in a HCOL area. My kid is in this age bracket right now. Her preschool classmates are now going all over the place for kindergarten this fall: great public schools, Catholic schools, private schools, niche private schools. Some parents sending their kid to public schools have a variety of reasons - socialization, diversity, cost effectiveness (spend $40k/year for K-12 or invest it to pay for college education or give it to your child later on?). Some are planning to do public elementary because they don't see a huge difference in value early on, and then plan to do private middle/high school as college applications get near.
  • Public school. I agree that even for those in my socioeconomic class choosing to send their kids to public school, they move to the most expensive areas they can afford. Does this weaken the social diversity argument? Is it a worthy tradeoff? Will you have "FOMO?" If doing public school for monetary reasons and out of choice, will you feel guilty later on?

Keeping up with the Joneses

  • Will you ever really fit in with old money no matter how much you make? Will your kid?
  • Do you want to? Do you know what you're getting yourself into?
  • Is it any different?
  • When do you buy your kid an iPhone? What if someone else in their class already has one? What if everyone else does and it's an early age you're uncomfortable with? (this also applies to every other item). What if nobody else has and your kid would be the first with this product/experience?
  • How much is enough? How much house, how much car, how much consumption, how much savings?
  • Where and when do you put your time and energy into recreation vs. building wealth? How much to work when you have a kid? Does that also apply to your spouse?
  • What if a working spouse can make a material financial impact and enable other goals you may have for your kid like private school or home ownership? Is it worth the social cost of not having a SAHM?
  • What if you don't need the financial impact but your spouse wants to work as her career goal?
  • How to find a balance among these potentially competing goals: your individual goals, your child's goals, your spouse's goals, your child vs. your couple goals? You and your child time vs. your spouse time? Your spouse and your child time vs. your time?

tldr: relationships are hard. Kids are hard. Everything is a choice in life about where to strike a balance. There aren't easy answers, or perhaps no answers at all. If any of the questions above resonated with you, let me know.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Apr 30, 2021 - 11:05am

Just want to chime in, having your kids go to a public school will not teach them more about the world when they're young. They'll be too young and naive to really reflect on it. The reality is just that they'd have less attention from the teacher, more peers who are out of control and distract from their learning, and dumber peers who would possibly hinder their early learning. Teach them about the world through maybe volunteer work or making them get a part-time job some summer, but not through putting them through a lackluster school. 

Apr 30, 2021 - 11:46am

Just want to give my perspective, hopefully it helps. (Just want to make it clear that I'm not in the 1% in any way but my family is very comfortable)

I went to a private highschool, but living in a neighborhood with a lot a first gen immigrants really helped me stay grounded. I've played soccer with my local soccer team so I made a lot of friends from very different backgrounds, (it's also how I met my gf) and it gave me experiences I never would have been able to live without them. I'm a completely different person because of that, truly.

I don't know if you have that in the US but in Canada we have special programs in public schools for "gifted" kids. I went there for elementary school and for me it really was a great way of having a very good quality education but also not live in a bubble.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2021 - 1:29pm

There's risks no matter which way you choose to live/raise them. If you decide to live way below your means, have them go to public schools, you assume it will make them appreciate what they have. That's great in theory, but there are really a thousand different ways they can turn out, which have way more to do with parenting than where you send them to school/how many chores you have them do for their allowance. 

This is probably a very unpopular thing to say on this website, but the reality is that if you spend 80+ hour weeks working, expect to have kids you don't like. If you send them to rich private schools, you'll probably get the rich, bougie assholes you didn't like growing up. If you send them to shit public schools, you can end up with all kinds of people you don't like there too. (Lazy stoners, people who cheat/cut class, kids who have no respect for their parents, etc. etc.) 

Not to mention, the way you talk about raising them is that you want them to live somewhat similar to the way you lived, not surpass you. That's your prerogative of course, but weird to me. If I ever have kids, I'd rather take the risk of them growing up to be spoiled little shits, and do my best to raise them to be truly exceptional, rather than just try and make them have the same trials/difficulties I had. Not to mention, I don't really think I'd ever send my kids to a shit public school, like the one I went to. Maybe this a unique experience, but the vast majority of my friends were at the very least exceptionally cynical. Several of them were depressed and needed treatment, and a few were legitimately suicidal. They're all doing extremely well now, but I don't really believe that going to that shit school had anything to do with it. 

May 1, 2021 - 3:17am

If I ever have kids, I'd rather take the risk of them growing up to be spoiled little shits, and do my best to raise them to be truly exceptional, rather than just try and make them have the same trials/difficulties I had. 

Interesting take, I hadn't thought about this. You've shifted my perspective slightly. 

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Apr 30, 2021 - 4:07pm

Take this with a grain of salt because I do not have kids, but I feel my upbringing connects with the path you outlined/considering for your future children. There is definitely a way to find the balance between giving your kids a great life and not turning them into spoiled kids that cannot fend for themselves. To add context I have two siblings and grew up in a wealthy family where we were able to experience a little bit of everything. Currently in the southeast and grew up in a large southern city so definitely a different dynamic schooling wise but parents sent us to public school (made it clear to us that if the point came and private school was necessary then it would happen). We never had to work to live growing up but it was required that each of us would work outside of school whether it was retail or starting a business (brother and I started a landscaping business that our parents helped with startup cost). My dad always reiterated that their success is not our success and that we wouldn't ever go without necessities but they weren't going to just give us money to blow. This system followed us through college where they paid for all cost associated with a set amount ($250/month) for food/whatever we wanted, etc... and that we were financially responsible for anything we wanted to do outside of school/basic needs. This system worked very well for all of us and really instilled a work ethic and mindset that we had to make it on our own and not ride the curtails of their success.

To this day I have a broad mix of close friends with very successful parents and it is very easy to see how some of their parents set them up for failure by giving them anything they could ever want (at the cost of taking everything for granted and virtual no drive to succeed on their own).

Easier said than done but in essence I don't see the benefit in making it more difficult on them just to make it more difficult, yet not making everything a cake walk.

Apr 30, 2021 - 8:31pm

Ben Matan Biran

Wealth is about appreciating what you have

This isn't wealth. Wealth is the value of the assets owned my someone. Appreciating what you have is probably called happiness. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 30, 2021 - 10:08pm

You are in a harsh awakening my friend. You can talk about it on here or with the gf, be mr tough guy, survived the ghetto of the Midwest. Which btw congrats on your journey well earned hope you are helping out other kids in your situation soon to reach where you are one day.

Reality is the moment you see your kids for the first time all that will go bye bye, and you are going to spoil the living crap out of them period. You are going to want to protect them from all the horrors you ever saw, you are going to want to make them succeed in all their goals. If you go public over private for a while, it will be the nicest damn public in a super secure great neighborhood. The reality is every parent wants to spoil their kids and ones like (myself lower middle class upbringing) and you are going to just naturally do it more. Why should we hold back our kids from getting stuff we never could? What if your kid is super into music and the best music program is at private school near by? What if they pickup languages super easy, you going to not get them a tutor/nanny to let them become fluent in 2-3 languages. The list goes on...

I always thought nanny's were overkill and not necessary. Then I had a kid and learned just like I am a better finance individual there is sure some people out in the world better to educate/entertain 1 year old than why not use them. 

So the challenge as you said is how do you make your kid appreciate what they have and try to exist in that bubble and not become an ahole. Well I think you nailed on the head you do not want your kids to suffer, so you want to respect your spouse, make sure they are the one and make sure you limit fighting or burst in the household. You want to try to teach them responsibility at a young age, I do not care if we have 2-3 rooms with toys we still put away our toys and respect our space. You want to make sure even if you are exhausted from big MF job that you come home and at least say goodnight to them and hold them. That make time on the weekend and you give them focus and attention. You may be too tired to read to them monday-friday on a week you are closing a deal, but saturday you are going to read 2 books to them. 

Truly my hope and goal is to make my kid see beyond the bubble is the little things at home that instill the values he needs to survive and be humble out there in the world. Also won't lie my wife is probably the heavy lifter parent, I am going to bet massively as MF partner your wife is going to be the same one day too so I would not worry so much about what private/public the kid has to go to at 5 and focus on what you can do from day 1 to support your spouse, instill the values you want in your kid and make sure to get the little things right to start.

May 1, 2021 - 1:28am

I dont think you need to go all crazy and force your kids to a "bad" school just so they will learn...frankly too young for that anyway. That said, there are very very simple things parents can do...though most with money don' instill good values. 

1) If we went out to dinner, which was rare and never anywhere nice (ie expensive), it wasn't just order at your whim. I asked permission for the meal I wanted and was told no many times if it was too much. Its kinda crazy to see 10 year olds just ordering nonchalantly a 75 steak dinners that they don't even finish, especially when its a random weekday not a birthday or something. 

2) for high ticket items - bike, hockey stakes, skis, etc - dont just buy them. Do things like I'll pay half if you save up half...or whatever it may be. Or make them wait until its a birthday or christmas. 

3) make kids do chores and earn allowances. In my house my allowance wasn't 20 bucks a week but then also I get money for a movie if my friends are going. I got the 20 bucks and if I wanted to see a movie it came out of that. I had friends like this...had an allowance but always got "extra" money for movies/food, etc. Can't give kids unlimited money, doesn't make them learn to save or budget or appreciate things. 

4) dont buy your kid some fancy new car, make them earn half via a job. Or if you're gonna buy them a car just get an okay used one. 

5) make kids donate things - like I'd have to donate half of my halloween candy, or presents from parties, etc. Do things like beach/park cleanups, stuff like that. 

Of course you dont have to do the above...but these are examples of the types of things you can do regardless of wealth to make sure your kids stay grounded. These unlimited allowance, get anything you want etc mentality doesn't foster the values you seem to want to instill. 

The real issue though is when you're in a rich area and your kids friends parents don't have similar values and spoil their kids rotten it likely makes the dynamic even harder, especially as the kids get older. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 1, 2021 - 12:22pm

Congrats, but 90% of this read like you glorifying being poor. Glad it helped you get perspective, develop work ethic, etc. Plenty of poor people never reap those benefits and get consumed by the drawbacks instead. 

I had a similar experience of dealing with much wealthier family members and also much wealthier classmates, including the same mixed feelings of jealousy and eventually disgust. I did however have running water, which my dad did not have, and my dad had peace growing up, which my grandad did not have. I don't need to have had those experiences to be appreciative of what I had and to gain the perspective of those who came before me. 

Strong role models tend to have far more of a positive impact on your traditional character traits (e.g. self control, independent drive, etc.) than living through a traumatic environment, which lets be real, almost always has the opposite effect, especially when it occurs at a young age. Speaking of the Midwest, JD Vance is probably the most famous example. If a traumatic environment was all it took to develop character, you would send your kids to Somalia instead of Friends Academy so that they can succeed in life.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
May 1, 2021 - 4:21pm

Agree that the post is glorifying the poor. Not that that's a bad thing at all. But the reality is the most people stay in their socioeconomic class and rarely are able to move up. It seems like you and definitely the poster did so, but you're just rare examples. On my mom's side of the family literally everyone is poor (live in trailer parks, all divorced with multiple kids, high debt, etc.), and the choices they make are terrible. Literally all of them married people that didn't work, and they had to live off of one low-income salary and government benefits. None of them stress education on their kids. There's no discipline. The parents all have too much debt that they spent on stupid things like a car out of their price range. Then they accumulate debt, get divorced, owe child support and alimony for the rest of their lives, and are stuck. 

The reality is, that may not be the case for every poor person in America, but most poor people have things like this or other things going on that keep them poor. It's why you see kids whose parents are doctors, lawyers, etc become doctors, lawyers, etc. People stay within their socioeconomic class. And so when OP wants to replicate his background on his children, the reality is that his escape from poverty, and not just from poverty to middle class, but from poverty to MF PE partners, is literally one in a million. Honestly, rereading this before I submit it sounds shitty and elitist, and I hate that, but social mobility isn't as widespread or as effective as people thing it is.

May 1, 2021 - 1:06pm

I immigrated to the US when i was 8 yrs old and I slept in a friend's basement with my mother and 2 sisters as we had no money. Not posting this make people feel sorry for me but the struggles that some people face in order to break into banking. I come from a shit school too as well, but hard work can lead you to anything in life, really inspiring post as I relate a lot to it.

May 1, 2021 - 6:53pm

bro holy shit we literally have the same life story (except im like 5 yrs younger and went to a state school) 

--1st gen immigrant, POS dad + single mom w/ bad divorce terms, terrible childhood in the GD midwest

--rich family on east coast, government contractors with spoiled kids; owe them a lot though because they are the reason I was able to immigrate

100% gonna work way harder than all my silver spoon colleagues -- dont have the same entitlement + a shit ton of college debt to pay off...

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 1, 2021 - 7:02pm

I know this is not what you meant, but having seen it multiple times: why does everyone assume you can just "send your kid to Exeter". Exeter and Andover are not like whatever rich kid prep school you grew up near, which is basically open to anyone who can pay tuition and meets some hurdle standard. They are different than day schools like Collegiate or Harvard-Westlake, which, while stricter than X Country Day, can always make more room in the class. 

Exeter and Andover have hard caps, given they are both 80% boarding, and MASSIVE scholarship endowments. That means they dgaf that you CAN pay 50k a year for tuition, because they make the entire school budget off of interest. Idk about Andover (I'm sure it's similar) but PEA is free tuition & board + education stipend for any family that makes under 75k and over half of students are on some form of financial aid. There are literally kids there from all economic statuses and while some kids there are, of course, the progeny of the country's wealthiest, it is far far from the rule - and everyone I met that DID meet that description could probably have gotten in despite their legacy status. 

Having tutored for incredibly wealthy families in NYC, I can tell you that most children of wealth just don't have the ability to get into a school like that. Some are really smart and nice kids with great parents, but there's a difference between being raised right and being able to meet the same bar as someone who was in the math olympiad or was published by age 14. The caveat to this is if you are pretty dope at lacrosse/hockey but maybe you don't LOVE that you committed to Trinity and want to try for Duke or BU/juniors (respectively). then ya you can prob knock out a PG year.

May 2, 2021 - 12:51am

This is an interesting debate - one I've also thought about a lot. For context, I'm in my early 20s so I have much less life experience than you but growing up in an affluent area, I saw two distinct groups of people: 1) those who were given everything and did not learn the value of hard work and 2) those whos parents taught the value of hard work by using their wealth to teach important lessons (i.e., we will provide everything you need and more if you can show that you understand what it takes to earn this lifestyle). I would say the majority of the people I grew up with are in the first bucket. 

Those in group 1 rarely capitalized on their potential and generally settled for the easiest route. The majority of those in group 2 matured to be some of the hardest working and most successful of my peers because they understood and respected hard work. 

I don't think growing up in a family where a lot is given to you is a bad thing - hell, most of us want to do the same for our kids - I think its a bad thing when you fail to instill the proper values in your kids and continue to give them everything. 

There is a saying my dad always said that hits the nail right on the head for this issue: "hard times create hard men, hard men create soft times, soft times create soft men, soft men create hard times".

  • Associate 1 in VC
May 2, 2021 - 1:35pm

Classic new money hustle porn. Give your kids the life you would've dreamed of, not the one that maximizes shareholder value.

  • Intern in PE - Other
May 2, 2021 - 1:40pm

You should reconsider your thought process about this.

Giving your kids the best life you can give them is not spoiling them. Spoiling them is teaching them not to take responsibility and to be disrespectful to others. That means being part of their life and a role model for them.

You should protect your children from the shitty stuff but expose them to the struggles other people go through.

You say you have no sympathy for people that grew up rich, but you're rich now. Do you have emotional struggles and worries? That's called being human. You should have sympathy for your kids even if you give them everything you didn't have.

It is by no means easy to raise your kids right. I'm not old or far in my career, but I was the child of immigrant parents and was given a comfortable life. The consequences of that is that I'm pursuing one of the most prestigious careers and chose to work my way there at a school where I got a free ride instead of making my parents pay for a private school, not that I think I deserve a free ride at life.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

May 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (194) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (110) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (96) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (404) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (329) $82