Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book Review-Isn't It Their turn to Pick up the Check? by Jeanne Fleming & Leonard Schwarz

This is a book dealing with all of the trickiest money problems between family and friends- from serial borrowers to serious cheapskates. I just wanted to touch on one chapter. It had some content that I thought was interesting.
It's called Rich Brother, Poor Brother! According to sociologist Dalton Conley, children who grow up in the same home frequently wind up with very different incomes as adults. So how do you think we can have the same parents, spend our childhoods together, and still find ourselves in such different financial circumstances as adults? Well part of the answer lies in the fact that not every child is as ambitious, talented, or as smart as the next child. Some want to act and some want to be in business.
Here's where it gets interesting! According to Conley, often only nominally do we grow up in the same families and the same environments. ( I am not sure that I have ever thought of it this way.) One daughter may grow up having to work after school because Dad is struggling to get his business started. Yet by the time the younger sister reaches high school, Dad's business may be prospering and little sister's after-school life may include tutors who are helping her get into the best college possible. Or one son may grow with the financial and emotional security provided by a sound marriage, while his younger brother may have to live with the economic setbacks and emotional turmoil that occur when the parents divorce. And the examples could go on and on, and I am sure that you could think of a few as well.
In summary, Conley says that there are three factors that often lead to substantial disparities in the incomes of brothers and sisters. One is large social forces. The second is family-specific events. And the third factor is that parents treat their children differently when they raise them. For good reasons and bad, parents often invest more money and time in some children than in others.
Well , I will not go in to any more depth than that. However, the book in this chapter makes some interesting points, doesn't it?

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