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What the Rich Think Parents Should Teach Their Children About Money

Perhaps Warren Buffett was suggesting to Barack Obama how to raise Sasha and Malia.

Looking to teach your children something about finances? It turns out the world's second and third richest men have strikingly similar upbringings that led to their immense success.

Learning from the two men on top
Carlos Slim is the world's second richest man, born in Mexico City, with an estimated net worth of a staggering $67.6 billion. He controls 48% of America Movil, which has the most mobile-phone subscribers in the Americas. He also has major positions in the banking and insurance company Grupo Financiero as well as mining firm Minera Frisco

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Warren Buffett is the third richest man with a net worth of $63 billion. He's the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) , which encompasses a variety of businesses, including insurer GEICO, railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe, energy company MidAmerican. In addition, it has $60 billion worth of total investments in Wells Fargo, American Express, Coca-Cola, and IBM, plus another $40 billion invested in other firms.

Together, the two men are worth a staggering $130 billion. And while their paths to success have been different, their childhood upbringings were remarkably similar.

The similar childhoods
While Buffett grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and Slim was raised in Mexico City, Mexico, the two have a remarkably similar start to their success.

When asked what he wanted to be when he was growing up, Slim said: 

I think I always know that I was going to be a businessman, because I began to invest when I was ten or 12 years old. I began to make my first investments. I opened my checking account and I was already investing very young. I think I knew that.

Buffett has a similar story, as he was recently asked what the secret to his success was and said simply: 

I found what I love to do very early...when I was seven or eight years old I knew that this particular game really, really intrigued me. And then I had some great teachers along the way.

Like Slim, Buffett made his first investment when he was 11 years old. He used $114 to buy three shares of Cities Service preferred for $38 each. Shortly thereafter, the stock fell to $27, but Buffett waited until it rebounded to $40 before he sold all three shares. Ultimately, the stock then roared to $200 a share, and Buffett quickly learned the value of buy-and-hold investing.  

Carlos Slim. Source: Flickr / World Travel & Tourism Council

The leading path to success
Both men note they started their path to investing first by saving. Slim notes his father gave him five pesos every week -- worth less than 50 cents today -- and he spent less than he had and began to put his savings into a bank. From there, he suggests "you begin to think about what to do with them and you investment."

The same fatherly prompting is true of Buffett as well. His dad opened Warren's first savings account when he was six years old and put in $20. From then on Buffett began to save the money he made through "gifts, chores, and money-earning schemes" to bring the account to $120 so he could make his first investment. This is part of the reason why Buffett notes his father "was a huge influence" on his life.

What parents can teach their children
Buffett has said:

The most important job you have is to be the teacher to your children. You are the big, great thing to them. You don't get a rewind button. You don't get to do it twice. Teach by what you do, not what you say. By the time they get through formal school, they would have learned more from you than from school. Provide warmth and food and everything else.

In that advice, we can learn the critical value of teaching children the importance of saving and investing but also pursuing goals according to their gifts. And while they may not end up with as much money as some, they will likely have more happiness.

The greatest thing Warren Buffett ever said
Warren Buffett not only has advice on how to raise your children, but also where to put your money. In fact, while he has made billions through his investing, he wants you to be able to invest like him. Through the years, Buffett has offered up investing tips to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (24)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2014, at 6:42 PM, BDubs wrote:

    TMF/Patrick Morris - Great story/message here, but how about some proofreading?

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2014, at 4:59 PM, seppo10 wrote:

    My kids are on university, but very sloppy with money. How can I still turn them into Buffets or Slims?

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2014, at 12:47 AM, dpjordan wrote:

    I would think that each article is read and then approved by key personnel in The Motley Fool. If that is the case, then please publish more investment related stories like this one. This country needs it right now, more than ever. Outstanding!

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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