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THE RICH WORRY: DO OUR CHILDREN HAVE TOO MUCH?

SHARE THE RICH WORRY: DO OUR CHILDREN HAVE TOO MUCH?

Sure, the rich worry about money. They worry their kids have too much for their own good.

Two-thirds of the country's wealthiest parents are afraid their children will be overly materialistic and ignorant of money's value, according to a survey released today. And half fear a cushy lifestyle could sap their children's drive and independence.Yet many parents appear to undermine their own efforts to avoid the pitfalls of easy money.

"Affluent people are clearly torn between giving their children the advantages of wealth and distorting their values," said Jeffrey Maurer, president and chief operating officer of U.S. Trust Co., which has commissioned surveys of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans since 1993.

More than three-quarters of those questioned in the latest study said their children would travel to Europe by age 18. More than two-thirds planned to give their children cars as soon as they were old enough to drive.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with 151 people who earn at least $200,000 a year or have a net worth of more than $3 million. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Of those responding, 68 percent said they worried their children "will place too much emphasis on material possessions." Sixty-four percent said they were concerned their children "will be naive about the value of money and how hard it is to earn."

To counteract the perceived pitfalls of growing up wealthy, most of those surveyed take steps to teach their children the value of money. About nine out of 10 set up a checking account for them, the same proportion that paid an allowance to their children. Slightly more than half set up a brokerage account.

Most said they tried to instill responsibility by assigning their children household chores. They also are expected to take part-time jobs, at age 15 on average.

"Very few of these people are leading the lifestyles of the rich and famous," Maurer said.