High-Net Worth Families Are Sending Their Kids to Camp to Learn How to Grow into Their Inherited Wealth

Maddie Pardue knew that rich kids weren’t supposed to have problems.

And yet, in her early 20s, she was feeling stuck. She’d grown up in the shadow of parents who cared for needy patients through international medical aid work, and a grandfather who built the family business into a huge success. After college, however, she couldn’t quite figure out her own identity and purpose in life.

“On one hand, I was used to family business meetings and going on luxury vacations, but then I also was exposed to a lot of poverty through my parents’ work. I had a hard time reconciling those two extremes growing up,” Pardue says. “My remedy for that was, I’m just going to try to ignore my family’s wealth as much as possible, because it makes me different from my peers.”

So Pardue lay low, living with friends and working as a nanny after college. She hid a lot of things about herself, not just her family’s wealth, but also her feelings of inadequacy. But then her boyfriend found out the true financial disparity between their families and broke off the relationship. The painful breakup was a wakeup call: Pardue couldn’t just ignore her family’s wealth forever.

“This is going be a part of my life, whether I want it or not. Feeling guilt and shame about it has not served me well,” Pardue realized.

That was when she signed up for KORE Venture.

Building a community, designing a life

A one-of-a-kind program for young inheritors, KORE Venture has helped many young people like Pardue find their path in a life that seems like it should be easy, but is often anything but. Participants in the Immersive program attend a series of life-changing residencies spread out over four months. In cohorts of up to 12, they go through a grueling wilderness adventure that helps them forge deep bonds, fast. Then they attend workshops with world-class faculty, delving into questions of integrity and ethics, and even taking a custom version of Stanford University’s popular Designing Your Life course with author Dave Evans. Over the course of the program, students travel to California, Oxford University in England, and Austria’s Leopoldskron Palace — which students may recognize as the setting of the film The Sound of Music.

The $65,000 Immersive program — as well as shorter retreats that take place over weekends — help this rarified group of kids get past some roadblocks common to their situation.

Kore Ventures Group

“A common experience is an overwhelming sense of options,” said Rick Harig, KORE Venture president. “They have so many options, they’re often stuck like deer in headlights.”

Another common challenge for KORE Venture’s demographic is difficulty relating to peers, as experienced by Pardue — who now works for KORE as community engagement lead. Because they often can’t be open about their financial circumstances with friends, they find they rarely share their authentic selves, Harig explained.

Harig has seen participants leave the Immersion program with what promise to be lifelong relationships. Participants have relocated to become roommates and to coach one another. They’ve reconvened for ski weekends and attended one another’s weddings.

KORE Ventures Group_Hike_Shot_2
Kore Ventures Group

More programs for the rising generation

KORE Venture’s programs are probably the most robust programs available for young inheritors. But the organization is not the only one to realize that this demographic needs guidance. Other programs to help the next generation of high-net worth individuals grow into leaders:

Family Office Exchange Rising Gen Programs

Aiming to help younger family members obtain the skills to become the next generation of family leaders, these two-day events invite experts to dive deep into topics such as communication, family dynamics and personal skills evaluations.

Like KORE Venture, Chicago-based Family Office Exchange also emphasizes building community. According to the web site: “This series offers a peer community like no other that allows Rising Generation family members to have honest and informative conversations that address their unique questions related to family, business, and leadership.”

Tamarind Partners Learning

While KORE Venture’s programs focus on the soft skills needed to navigate living with wealth, this Florida-based family office consulting firm provides students with practical courses in topics including trusts and estates, family governance and trustee and beneficiary Relationships. If desired, the firm tailors courses to a family cohort so they can attend live webinars together.

Fundamentals of Family Philanthropy Webinar Series

The National Center for Family Philanthropy conducts this monthly program to educate both experienced family philanthropists and the rising generation. Subscribers learn about topics including cultivating a family’s philanthropic culture and engaging the next generation in giving, from experts in the field of philanthropy.

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Carrie Kirby writes about personal finance, technology and travel. Her work has appeared in San Francisco Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle and more publications. She lives on an island (Alameda) with her husband and three kids, and blogs about family travel and mileage rewards at The Miles Mom.

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