investing

Sweet 16 needs a sweet car

Tuesday, Jan. 26
Posted: 2 p.m. EDT

In the latest celebrity over-the-top purchase, hip-hop musician and no stranger to living large Sean "Diddy" Combs presented his son, Justin Dior, with a sweet-16 gift of a car -- a $360,000 Maybach sedan. Maybach, owned by Daimler, is a favorite of the hip-hop set.

This "just-because-I-can" stratospheric spending is not an unusual byproduct of the wealth that comes from celebrity -- and the opportunity to show off on reality shows. The party was filmed for the MTV show "My Super Sweet Sixteen," and featured perfomers Fabolous, Lil' Kim and Jim Jones.

Maybach sedan
Justin Dior doesn't have his driving license, and rumor has it that the services of a chauffeur come along with the car at least until he earns one.

When I worked with wealthy families, the most pressing concern for parents was how to educate their children about the pitfalls of wealth -- after all, the benefits were already readily apparent -- but parents feared their kids could too easily fall into the trap of thinking everything of value has a pricetag.

Maybe giving a teen a safe sedan with a chauffeur is more responsible parental behavior than a Lamborghini and a breezy remark to "go take it for a spin." Nearly every teenage boy I ever knew couldn't resist gaining firsthand knowledge of just how fast a car could patch out and hit triple-digit speeds. Alcohol was optional fuel for these daredevil escapades. At least young Justin Dior seems to be insulated from that rite of passage for the time being.

But perhaps this is not destined to be one of those sad tales where rich kids get too much too fast. Combs also gave his son a check for $10,000, which Justin Dior promptly donated to Yele Haiti, the foundation begun by musician Wyclef Jean. According to its Web site, the foundation "uses music, sports and the media to reinforce projects that are making a difference in education, health, environment and community development" in Haiti.

Maybe Justin Dior is already learning that he can use his wealth to enrich the lives of others. Readers, what do you think?

Questions? Comments? E-mail jmartel@bankrate.com

Watch a video on how to check out a charity before you give.

Read about the nuts and bolts of charitable trusts.

Read more Your Wealth blogs.

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