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Yale Says No to Rich Donors
The Wealth Report am 17.03.2008 um 20:13 (UTC)
The Wall Street Journal Home Page

Yale Says No to Rich Donors

When Yale announced plans to build two new residential colleges, at a cost of up to $600 million, everyone assumed the university would follow the usual rules of college fundraising:

1. Find a billionaire alum.

2. Invite him to dinner with the university president.

3. Over a nice bottle of burgundy, casually mention that the generous and esteemed donor can have a new building named after him for the small price of $30 million.

The generous and esteemed donor would get a personal monument at his alma mater, good press, and the chance to bask in his old classmates’ envy. And a tax deduction — what’s not to like?

But according to this article in the Yale Daily News, Yale’s highest governing body has said it won’t sell the naming rights to the new colleges to any living donors — not even if they offer to bankroll the entire project.

“That’s not been our tradition,” Roland Betts, the senior fellow of the Yale Corporation, told the Daily news. Not even for a $1 billion gift? “We’re not going to do that,” says Mr. Betts.

Yale’s tradition, it seems, is to name colleges after past Yale presidents, locations and historical figures.

Maybe it was the threat of Schwarzman College that turned them off to the idea. Or maybe it was the feeling, cited by the Daily News, among students and alums that Yale would be selling out if it offered those rights to the highest bidder.

Either way, my hat’s off to Yale for standing up against the vanity-building boom. I’m all for people doing good and getting credit for it. But as Wealth Report readers know, the plaque proliferation has gone too far, adorning buildings, park benchs and even museum toilets.

With so many rich people vying for attention and adulation, schools seem to be throwing up buildings more for their donors than for their students: Any pizza-chain owner can now have a library named after him. If a wealthy patron wants to help a school by funding a needed project, that’s great. But that patron should do it in the name of higher education, not for a plaque boasting his own name.

Article printed from The Wealth Report - WSJ.com: http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth

URL to article: http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2008/02/29/yale-says-no-to-rich-donors/

Click here to print.
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Teaching Rich Kids How to Save
Jason Fry (Wealth Report) am 17.01.2008 um 20:46 (UTC)
 Teaching kids how to be financially competent is tough for any parent — but it’s tougher for the wealthy.
When their kids want something, rich parents can’t simply say “we can’t afford it” — particularly not if they live in a 20,000 square-foot home and fly private for the holidays. Encouraging kids to delay gratification is nearly impossible when they can have anything they want right now.
Most of today’s wealthy grew up middle-class and want to instill the same hard-working, thrifty values in their kids. So they send their kids to wealth-education camps and private-bank programs designed to teach them how to save and spend. (For the banks, the goal is to keep the kids as clients.) Yet in the end, this job falls on the parents themselves.
In today’s print Journal, my colleague Jonathan Clements has some tips for how parents can make their kids financially savvy. The list isn’t aimed at the wealthy, but I think many of the lessons apply.
Among them:
1. Waiting Until Later. I interviewed a wealthy mom in Palm Beach last year who said her kids came home from school one day and said a kid at school had gotten “an X-Box 360, and a go-cart and a pinball machine.” The mom told her kids they had to wait for a birthday or holiday.
Of course, she could have said “you’ll only get an X-Box and only a year from now.” But all thrift is relative. Mr. Clements taught his kids the lesson by offering them a choice, whenever they went to a restaurant, of either a soda or a $1. The kids “ended up drinking a lot of water” — and, presumably, accumulated a lot of dollars.
2. Talking the Talk. Stories of hard times in the family, Mr. Clements says, help keep kids grounded. That’s especially powerful for today’s boot-strapping rich, who rose up from the middle or lower-middle classes. One kid I interviewed recently loved to tell the story of how her billionaire dad had to strap tires on his feet during his first job in California because he couldn’t afford shoes. That story stuck with her.
3. Scoffing at Wealth. This one’s a little tricky for the rich — it’s tough to make fun of opulence when you’re a multi-millionaire. Yet it’s useful, as Mr. Clements mentions, to talk about other wealthy families who squandered their hard-earned wealth on excess spending and were eventually left with little but memories. The words “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” should be posted above every door of every rich household as a warning.
4. Setting Expectations. Mr. Clements says he plans to pay his kids’ college tuition, give $5,000 toward a wedding, help with a down-payment for a house and leave the kids some money for retirement. This shows “where I think my financial responsibility ends and where theirs will begin.”
For the rich, it’s especially important to be clear with the kids at an early age what they are — or aren’t — going to inherit. Some parents say they don’t want to spoil their kids by telling them they will receive millions of dollars. But wealthy kids assume they’re going to get a bundle anyway — maybe even more than they actually will receive. So best to tell them. And if the wealthy are worried that the news of an unearned windfall will spoil their kids and ruin their lives, best not to leave it to them.
URL to article: http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2007/12/17/teaching-rich-kids-how-to-save/

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