Achievement culture and the rising generation: What do families need to know?

A Conversation with Jennifer B. Wallace


In this video, Valerie Galinskaya, Managing Director and Head of the Merrill Center for Family Wealth™, engages in a lively discussion with Jennifer B. Wallace, award-winning journalist and social commentator on parenting and lifestyle trends, as well as author of Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic – And What We Can Do About It.

For wealthy families, navigating today’s achievement culture and promoting a sense of “mattering” in the rising generation can be a challenge. Children from affluent homes often measure their worth by successful performance — in school, on social media, with college choices and more.

On top of that, Wallace’s studies have shown that children from high-income families “felt as though they had to replicate their parents' wealth… it added just another layer of pressure above and beyond the pressure to succeed.” At the same time, parents are torn between enjoying time with their children and providing opportunities for them to achieve.

Watch as the two discuss Wallace’s findings, and the Center’s insights, on how families can create an environment fostering happiness, resilience and well-being for the rising generation.

  • Get insights into the hidden landscape around achievement culture, as Wallace uncovers the source of struggles faced by ultra-high net worth parents and children.
  • Discover how children can feel like they matter, apart from external success.
  • Learn best practices for building confidence and communication within families.

Fostering core values and a sense of mattering in the rising generation is a dynamic process — one that can truly lead to well-being today and in the future. Reach out to your Merrill advisor, who can leverage insights from the Merrill Center for Family Wealth™ to help you plan with a longer-term perspective.

The Merrill Center for Family Wealth™ helps empower families to define the purpose of their wealth and to be intentional about wealth’s impact on them, their families and their communities. It applies insights from research and experience working with a multitude of significant families. The Center works with Merrill advisors and ultra-high net worth client families across the country to help engage in meaningful conversations and address top family goals.

Wallace has been researching family and lifestyle trends for over a decade. Her extensive studies into achievement culture, including nationwide interviews with students, families and educators, examine the ways families can empower the well-being of the rising generation. A graduate of Harvard University, she began her journalism career on CBS’ 60 Minutes. She’s a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and appears on national television to discuss her articles and relevant news topics.

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