At some summer camps, children learn to make macramé. At others, they learn to make millions, and keep it.

Due to the “wealth boom” of the last decades, so-called trust fund investment boot camps have pitched their tents all over the country, offering to teach the children of the wealthy how to stay wealthy, once their parents’ trust funds begin sending them distributions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

With 1.4 million households with more than $5 million in assets, and, on average, two children each, parents are prodding their children to prepare to handle all that cash.

The majority of millionaires plan to leave at least three-quarters of their wealth to their children, according to a study by Prince & Associates in Houston. And the more money, the greater the portion that’s going to the kids, the study found, with those with more than $25 million planning to leave more than that to their progeny.

The half-century ending in 2052 will have seen more than $30 trillion passed between generations, according to the Boston College Social Welfare Research Institute.

IFF Advisors in Irvine, Calif., charges $5,000 for heirs-to-be to attend a three-day Skills Retreat run by Lee Hausner, a psychologist who once worked in the Beverly Hills Unified School District, and Doug Freeman, an estate and trust attorney.

Hausner compares the ultra-wealthy to inner-city youth. “The kids have similar problems, often because the parents weren’t around,” he said.

Around the so-called campfire, the kids, generally in their late teens and early 20s, talk about what money means to them, what the associated dangers may be, and what they would do if they won $10 million.

They kids have some savvy. In response to the last question, one camper asked if the $10 million were pre- or post-tax.

But they aren’t savvy enough. “Today’s rich kids may be cash rich, but many are skills poor,” wrote Wall Street Journal writer Robert Frank in his account of the experience. Few knew the difference between a stock and a mutual fund, for example. “Many tend to have low self-confidence, little drive, and few of the necessary tools to succeed in today’s global economy,” Frank wrote.

“In the end, I concluded that these kids wouldn’t be tomorrow’s chief executives and billionaire entrepreneurs,” wrote Frank. “Most would probably drift through life spending their parents’ money and hoping it would last.”

That leaves tomorrow’s rising stars in today’s middle class, he wrote.

“And all that inherited wealth will wind up going to the people who actually earned it—an encouraging sign for those of us worried about the wealth gap,” Frank wrote.  

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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