You're a bilionaire and want to give your kids the best possible upbringing.

OK, today’s new hypothetical:
Say that you’re a billionaire, in good health, and want to raise your kids with the best upbringing that they could possibly have. (Starting from age zero, that is; you’re raising these kids from the very beginning of their lives.) How would you do it?
Giving them the best health care is an obvious priority.

Hire half a dozen of the world’s best tutors?

Take the children on 3-4 vacations around the world every year?

Try to immerse the children in various foreign-language cultures so that they grow up with the ability to speak several languages?

Encourage them to pursue a particular dream of theirs - becoming a jet pilot, a photographer, a marine biologist, etc.?

Very young children desire consistency in their people, surroundings, structure, toys, etc. Vacations may not be as beneficial as moving your entire household every few years to the various cultures you want to immerse them in.

Well, what I did was to not let them know that we had money. Raised them in an ordinary Midwest town, where they walked to public school with the neighbor kids. They had to do chores and babysit/mow lawns/lifeguard to earn spending money.

They’re currently “living the dream”… working at jobs they love (and paying back student loans), learning new skills and subjects because they want to, and experiencing other cultures by saving up for cheap trips to exotic places.

(Ok, ok, I’m a wee bit shy of ‘billionaire’, but the principle’s sound… I was raised in a privileged ‘moneyed’ culture, but my kids are much more grounded)

Perhaps, but there are some things that private schools and tutors just can’t teach…

" It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses."
“Hit it.”

I’d buy an island and raise them their. They’ll have friends, I’ll buy those also.

Make it clear they have no inheritance whatsoever, and no support beyond a college education.

If you are going to absolutely maximize educational and broadening global experiences in a non-hazardous context that’s going to require a very elite lifestyle and extensive resources to deliver. It will be difficult to raise kids in that context where they are effectively being served on every level and still have them be grounded and responsive to normal ethical boundaries because that will not be their surrounding reality.

You can hope for the best but kids are sponges to their environments and if raised in a context where they are served and catered to and know there are endless resources at their disposal, they are not likely to be all that sensitive or responsive to the needs or opinions of others, mainly because they don’t need to be.

What digs said, but I’d go a step or three further.

Kids don’t grok the notion of money or privilege until they’re just near teenage years (IMHO). So get your kids going to the local school, hanging out with all sorts of other kids, do swimming lessons and gymnastics or whatever…

Then when they’re hitting 12-13…MOVE TO A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. Hire a tutor to give your kids the basics in literacy and numeracy for 4hrs a day, then for the rest of their waking hours they hang out with the local kids, doing the shit that they do…and volunteering within the community to help make things better.

College? Leave that up to them.

I know of two cases where wealthy parents had their children enlist into the military. That way they could experience a life less privileged.

One interesting story related to this was the story Melinda Gates related in her and Bill’s annual letter to their foundation. It seems that when their kids were little they attended a local school and their parents drove them to school. I don’t know what school. But both Melinda and Bill worked at Microsoft (Bill Gates was still the chairman of microsoft at the time). Melinda was complaining that the drive to school really cut in to her daily time since the school was in the opposite direction from the Microsoft campus. So Bill said he would drive 2 days a week to share the load. The story talked about how the sight of the world’s richest man driving his kids to school every week impacted all the other parents. If Bill Gates can drive his kids to school, lots of other Dads needed to re-evaluate their schedules. The power of example and all that.

As for the OP, I think the point is that even the richest people, not billionaires but multi-billionaires, do best by providing as close to normal life for their children as possible.

It’s nice that Gates chose to do this but I don’t really think other parents - fathers or mothers - should feel shamed by his example. Let’s not perpetuate the myth that parents can simply choose to “re-evaluate their schedules” at will and if they’re not doing something it’s just because they lack the right priorities.

A lot of parents have busy schedules because they need to work that many hours in order to support their families. The chairman of Microsoft can tell people he’ll be coming in late a couple of mornings each week and everyone will say “no problem, sir”. But a lot of people would be putting their job at risk by asking for the same time off.

A parent who’s working two jobs doesn’t need to be told he or she should be spending more quality time with their child. They know that. But they’ve had to make a choice between spending quality time with their child and being able to afford food and shelter for their child.

This is true, but I saw it from another angle. In the context of a two-working parents household, the fact that Bill didn’t put his job completely ahead of his paternal responsibilities (in this little aspect of it) is important. If there are two working parents, but only one constantly takes the kids to school, potentially affecting their job, then the other parent does need to reevaluate.

From all the “Holas” I’ve read, it seems billionaires send their kids to boarding schools in Switzerland. :wink:

I think a lot of it depends on the kid.

Some kids are going to end up with the worst aspects of privilege-- laziness, entitlement, and a lack of perspective. Others are going to make use of the resources available to them, taking advantage of every opportunity to really meet their full potential. Kids aren’t one-size-fits-all, so parenting can’t be either.

That said, I think the basics of good parenting are pretty similar, rich or poor. If you have that down, your probably doing as much as anyone can to help your kids do the most with what they’ve got.

If the kids really went to public school it would have been Medina Elementary School. And that is only about 1 mile out of the way from the Microsoft campus. Multiple folks have explained that Ballmer’s kids went to Medina Elementary but I’m not sure about Gates. Obama visited Medina about 5 years ago after a fund raiser in the neighborhood. (My middle daughter goes to Medina but our home school is the neighboring elementary school. )

Most of the wealthy folks in Gate’s neighborhood send their kids to Saint Thomas elementary and then Lakeside for high school.

That’s what I would want to do too, but I would be afraid that someone might decide this would be a good opportunity for a kidnapping. Fortunately, I never had that problem.

I am reminded of Grigori Perelman who turned down a million dollar prize (for having proved the Poincare conjecture) because it was enough money to make him subject to kidnapping, but not enough to hire bodyguards. But a billion bucks is another matter entirely.

Not sure, actually.

Sure, we all say ‘We want our kids to grow up understanding how the world works, so let them earn a degree and do a low-paying job for a few years’. But most of us don’t like our jobs that much, and if offered the choice between continuing to work, or having enough money to never work again, 99% would choose the obvious. (OK, if you are a successful Rock Star or professional Surfer, maybe you keep working).

Why should we put our kids through an experience WE really didn’t enjoy that much when we don’t have to? OK, ‘College was great fun!’ - well, probably the mateship, partying and sport was great fun - the endless lectures and study wasn’t. Same with a job. For every moment of inspiration and satisfaction of completing a task, there are months of drudgery and boredom.

I would want my kids to be able to enjoy themselves, do the study THEY want to do with no pressure to get a job at the end. Use and develop your brain. Have some compassion for their fellow man and realise they are in a position to help plenty of less fortunate people. Don’t be rich a*seholes, in other words.

How do you raise them like that, without necessarily putting them through the ‘Here’s what the 9-5ers have to do and work for a living’.

Sort of like what Wallaby said.

What I have read is that children of wealthy parents go thru a stage of “what’s the point?”.

Like why should they go to college or work hard to learn anything when they are just going to get an annual allowance?

So what goals can they set for their lives?

Another is who can they trust for friends? I’ve read that after awhile all their friends are of a similar financial status.

Not even close. When asked what they’d do if money was no object, most people do not choose to retire immediately. In fact, in one poll more than 70% of men and women alike would choose to continue to work. Of course, many would change the occupation or employer, or work part time instead of full time, but people in general enjoy being productive and contributing members of society.

Now I have heard that many wealthy people who basically live off of family investments do work in the charity world.

Teach them to be patronising fucks? Because thats what they are going to become and learn sweet fuck all; the lives of the rich are pretty much the same world over these days and these are the only people they are going to be interacting with and in many poor slums (and not just in the “third” world)being a billionaire’s kid is just crying to be kidnapped for ransom.

Military service has long been a common job for old money.

I have known super several wealthy kids. The ones who did good tended to be the ones whose parents… were good parents. They got good education, were well mannered and disciplined, polite and courteous to others and hard working, you known the values good parents (regardless of social background) would instil.