7 family values that can make you rich

Keeping Wealth and Values in the Family

If your family has a strong set of values, it could lead to more wealth for you and your relatives.

U.S. Trust, a Bank of America private wealth management firm, conducted a recent survey of U.S. adults who have $3 million or more of "investable" assets. The survey uncovered some interesting results:

  • The wealthy consistently say hard work, personal ambition and family values are the drivers of their success.
  • 80 percent had firm disciplinarians for parents.
  • Three out of four grew up poor or in the middle class.

These findings suggest that when parents instill good – yet firm – family values in their children, there is a chance of financial success, no matter the family's income or class level. Perhaps this is because the right family values can create smart financial habits that build wealth. Bad family values, on the other hand, could breed bad habits – which could lead to financial troubles down the line.

[See: How to Live on $13,000 a Year.]

"It is important to realize that just as positive financial habits can be passed down to generations, so too can negative financial habits," says Aaron Hatch, a certified financial planner and co-founder of financial planning and investment management firm Woven Capital.

Financial habits and family values can span across multiple generations, with each generation reinforcing the same values and habits for the next. The Wall Street Journal recently reported two economists found that the wealthiest families in Florence, Italy today are the descendants of the richest Florence families from nearly 600 years ago, which Hatch also pointed out.

"While it is naive to say that these families have retained their wealth solely because they passed along strong family values, it is nevertheless interesting to note that these families most likely inherited more than money," Hatch says. "Many people learn the value of money – or other important lessons about money and finances – from grandparents who may have learned those values or habits from their grandparents."

Every family could benefit from a strong set of family values – especially families who want to be rich. If you want to ensure financial success for your kids and even your future great-great-great grandchildren, consider adopting these seven family values.

Trust and Honesty

Many families believe talking honestly and openly about finances is taboo.

"Generally, people would rather have a root canal than talk openly about money or their financial issues," Hatch says. "If you were to ask 10 of your friends how much money their parents earned or the balances in their parents' 401k, the majority would tell you they have no idea."

But, not being honest and transparent can lead to dire consequences for some families that want to pass down their wealth to their heirs. Over a 20-year period, The Williams Group – which helps families retain control of their assets and family harmony during estate transfers – found that 70 percent of successful families end up losing control of their assets, failing to pass down the wealth from generation to generation. According to TWG, a "lack of trust and communication are the single most important issues that undermine successful transfer of family wealth."

If you want future generations to retain the family wealth, you and your family members should start talking about money openly and honestly to build trust.

RELATED: Tips to teach your kids about saving money

Lessons that teach your kids to save money
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Lessons that teach your kids to save money

Play money-centered board games or games on apps, like Monopoly or Money Race.
It's an interactive and fun way for your kids to learn about basic financial practices without feeling like they're being lectured.

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Give them an allotted amount of cash to spend on lunch each week.
Your child will learn how to budget accordingly throughout the week, figuring out how to balance spending money on food some days vs bringing their own on other days (something that can be directly translated into the adult workplace).

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Have them write down or tell you their absolute dream toy.
Then, show them that it's possible to have that toy if they save x enough money for x amount of weeks.

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Give them an allowance.

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Stick to a set time and date each month for giving your child their allowance.
Practicing giving your children their allowance every other week or on certain dates of each month will help them prepare for set paydays in the working world--it will teach them to budget out and how to know when to save up in anticipation.

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Match your child's savings each month.
This will imitate a 401K and show your child ways in which saving can (literally) pay off.

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Have your kid organize their funds in to different jars to represent different accounts.
Examples could be "Saving", "Spending", "Charity", "Emergency", "College".

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Take your kids grocery shopping and explain certain choices you make with your purchases to them.
Your children will benefit from knowing what's best to purchase name brand vs. generic, why some snacks are better to buy in bulk, etc.

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Being frugal is a crucial part of saving money and growing wealth. By teaching your kids and family members how to be frugal and live below their means, your family can build a sizable savings nest egg that could one day morph into a large family fortune.

Practicing frugality also teaches family members and children how to avoid situations that can destroy wealth. For example, people who are frugal stick to their budgets and won't pull out a credit card for items they can't afford. By keeping the plastic in their pockets, they're avoiding credit card interest that can chip away at their hard-earned savings.

[See: 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2016.]

Hard Work

Expanding your means is just as important as living below them if you want to get rich. But expanding your means often requires hard work.

In his book "Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life," author Tom Corley writes that expanding your means can involve creating more income sources, such as starting a part-time business or developing a new, marketable skill that can lead to higher earnings.

To teach this family value to your kids, have them perform chores to earn an allowance. And if they're old enough, encourage them to take on jobs outside of the house. Since learning new money-making skills takes time, teach your children when they're young so they have more time to grow their wealth.


When it comes to money, you can only do so much on your own. Recognizing this limitation, wealthy people often create teams of people who can provide financial advice and counsel, Hatch says.

"[They] recognize that it is hard to stay 100 percent objective when you are making decisions about their own money since money can often be a very emotional subject," he says. "Likewise, financially successful families also realize that they need to work together in order to convert their income into wealth."


Creativity is an important trait for social interactions, as well as for identifying what you're passionate about. Passion for your work is a key part of success, and you can help unlock this enthusiasm in your kids and relatives by supporting creative activities that can generate money.

"The key is to be able to engage in some lifelong creativity activity that also pays you enough money to help support a family," Corley writes. "You can't be successful in life if you don't have a passion for what you do for a living, and you can only find your passion in life by pursuing creative activities."


Donating to charity could lead to a richer, more satisfying life. Plus, giving back can help you and your family members achieve financial goals, which in return can help you achieve the wealth you've always wanted.

"Often, by choosing to allocate money toward specific causes, it helps people set priorities and align their finances with their values," Hatch says. "People who are clear about their priorities and align their finances with their financial goals tend to be more satisfied with their life."

[See: 11 Tips for Investors in Their 30s and 40s.]

Higher Education

Over the course of a 40-year full-time working life, the median earnings of bachelor's degree recipients without an advanced degree are 65 percent higher than high school graduates' median earnings, according to 2013 College Board data. With this statistic in mind, you and your family should value higher education.

And remember that going to college isn't just about getting a fancy piece of paper that will help you secure a job; it's about investing in yourself for the long term. You'll develop new skills, make new contacts and join a large network of professionals – all of which can help you expand your means and make more money.

RELATED: Best part-time jobs for college students

Best part-time job for college students
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Best part-time job for college students

If you grew up babysitting younger family members, then this position is perfect for you. Not only is being a nanny one of the most flexible part-time jobs, but you can set your own rate. 

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While the hours for this position may not be as flexible, working as an office assistant or receptionist for a major company is a great way to get your foot in the door. As a receptionist you will be tasked with entry-level responsibilities, which will give you a great advantage when applying to your first full-time job. 

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Possibly one of the most demanding jobs, working as a server in a restaurant comes with just as much stress as reward. The hours may be long, but at some restaurants, wages can be worth it. 

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Similar to working as a nanny, being a tutor is one of the most flexible job opportunities. As a tutor, you can help others in a variety of subjects. This is a great job for a college student because not only will you be helping others, but you will also be strengthening your knowledge in whatever subject you teach. 

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Freelance Work 
Much like serving, being a freelancer can be very rewarding financially. As a freelancer, you can choose which industry you want to work in and begin to gain experience while still in school. 

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Work-Study Job  
If you are a student who meets the qualifications for financial aid, you can apply for your school's work study program. Work study schedules your shifts around your class schedule and the best part is that most jobs are on campus and the money you make can go directly towards paying off your tuition or any other university balances. 

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