I was shocked one day when I heard this very wealthy, semi-retired salesman say this about his children:
"I love my kids, but I don't respect them."
He said it several months ago, but it has stuck with me as a reminder that no wealth can compensate for a disappointing household. It has also served as a reminder that perceived wealth is the ultimate corrupter of our youth.
The analogy my Dad likes to use is that if you have kids, and you have money, you shouldn't drive a nice car. Not because you can't pay for it, but because you can't afford it. It sends the wrong signal (or "data point" as my old NY mentor would say) to your children. Instead of learning about the hard work and discipline it took to earn the car, your children learn complacency and entitlement. And it's not like you just wake up one day, and find out that your children are brats. It takes years of constant reminders, cars, vacations, clothes, credit cards, phones... it all adds up to a bill your children ultimately pay as they struggle to adapt to a world without handouts or the required skills (industriousness and passion) to survive . That's not to say that you shouldn't have nice things in your life, but be careful on what you let your children see and experience.
My 2nd favorite quote, came much more recently.
With summer time comes summer interns. I was working with a summer intern who also happens to be a 30 something year old MBA student from one of the top 10 business schools in the U.S. I attempt to be a good mentor. I start by showing him how to do certain short-cuts in excel after he bungles a first, second and third attempt at putting together a basic financial overview. After about 2 minutes he laughs and says, "don't you see the humor in this," [I look at him quizzically] "Here it is, I'm 30 years old, and you're teaching me how to use excel."
Great, lesson over. I can go back to my work and you can figure this shit out on your own.
Instead I responded, "when I started here I never used excel, so you clearly have the opportunity to learn a lot in a little time."
And oh, go fuck yourself.