by: Robert G. Allen

Early in the last century, the famous billionaire John D. Rockerfeller, Jr. taught his children the value of money using a simple process I call the Rockerfeller Rules. See if you can spot them in the following quote:

“John D. Rockerfeller, Jr., was certainly not trying to save money when he decided to pay an allowance to his five sons. According to son Nelson, “We got 25 cents a week, and had to earn the rest of the money we got.” To earn part of that extra money he raised vegetables and rabbits……..”We always worked,” according to Nelson. All the boys were required to keep personal daily account books. They were required to give 10 percent of their income to charity, to save 10 percent, and to account for all the rest. They had to balance their account books every month and to be able to tell what happened to every penny they earned. Nelson went on to serve as Governor of the state of New York for many years, and, ultimately, became Vice President of the United States. One of his brothers, David Rockerfeller, Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, says, “We all profited by the experience-especially when it came to understanding the value of money.” From the book, Kids and Cash by Ken Davis and Tom Taylor 1979 Oak Tree Publications Interesting. You’d expect that these kids, raised in the lap of luxury, wouldn’t need to learn these things. Yet, Rockerfeller wanted his kids to understand money. He taught them a specific pattern for dealing with their money. There is a lot of wisdom in what he did.


The necessity for Work:

The importance of Charity:

The need for Saving:

The power of Accountability:


When you earn it, you value it.

Give away the first 10%

Pay yourself the next 10%

Account for every penny

Why do you think Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller taught their kids to give the first 10% to charity? Now, if you’re an atheist or an agnostic, or in any way squeamish about the subject of God, you’d better not read any further. It’s probably just going to get you all grumpy. The Rockefellers, like many of the early North American billionaires, looked upon their wealth as a sort of spiritual stewardship. Most of them believed that God gave them the money. It wasn’t theirs….they just were caretakers over it. They felt a duty to manage it for the betterment of others…… while thoroughly enjoying it themselves, of course. If every dollar they received was a gift from God, they were glad to pay 10% of it back. (If I gave you a dollar, would you give me ten cents back?) Rockefeller paid a 10% tithing on all of his earnings for his entire life. He assumed that God was his silent partner. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Doesn’t the Omnipotent know what stocks will do tomorrow? Doesn’t the Universe understand the future of property values? Doesn’t your Higher Power know in advance which businesses will multiply a hundred fold? If you come from a Christian perspective, then you’re already familiar with the story of the disciples of Jesus who had been fishing all night long without catching a single fish. Yet, when Jesus told them to cast their nets again, they “inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake…and their partners came, and filled both ships…so that they began to sink.” Luke 5:6

We all have our own spiritual beliefs and it is my belief that any pursuit of wealth without at least acknowledging the Source of All Wealth is sheer folly. As someone once said, “God knows where the Gold is.” God knows all the shortcuts.

Suppose you could have read God’s mind in the late 1800′s. It might have gone something like this………

“The automobile is coming. And all of those future cars are going to need gasoline. To whom shall I give the idea for cars and gas? Hmmmm…let’s see. There’s that scrappy Henry Ford down there in Michigan. He’s got some rather strange ideas about Me but eventually the money he makes will be given to a foundation and will bless millions of people. Let’s give him a big chunk of the automobile. Then, there’s that Rockefeller fellow. He’s going to end up pretty decent. And most of his money is eventually going to go to help others. I think he should get a big chunk of oil.”

How did Bill Gates end up with the computer? Or Andy Gove with the silicon chip? Or the guy (what is his name anyway?) who started These days, billions can be made and lost in a single day in the stock market. Who’s going to get the next billion dollar concept? Do you deserve to get it? What would you do with it if you got it? Could the Universe trust you with it? Would you squander it? Or would you be a wise steward over it? Would there be anything left to bless the lives of others? Tough questions.

If you subscribe to the Rockefeller plan, you’ll invest 10% of your earnings right off the top in your favorite charity, church or cause. If you don’t know where to put it, follow your heart. One day, all the money in the world, won’t keep your heart beating. Sharing 10% with others will remind you that the Universe owns everything and we’re transients here.

Let’s examine again the money trees of some of this century’s most famous billionaires. You’d have to admit they knew how to grow money trees. What did they do with their wealth? Almost every one of them set up a foundation that would outlive them. These foundations are like money tree forests that continue to thrive long after the money tree farmers are gone.

In a recent World Book Encyclopedia under “Foundations” you discover that there are over 24,000 charitable foundations set up in the United States alone that give out yearly charitable grants to needy groups and organizations of almost FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.

The top ten charitable foundations are as follows:


Ford Foundation

Getty Trust

Kellogg Foundation

MacArthur Found.

Lilly Foundation

Johnson Foundation

Rockerfeller Foundation

Pew Charitable Trusts

Mellon Foundation

Kresge Foundation


4.8 Billion

3.7 Billion

3.1 Billion

2.3 Billion

1.9 Billion

1.8 Billion

1.6 Billion

1.6 Billion

1.5 Billion

1.1 Billion

Annual Giving

170 Million

160 Million

75 Million

105 Million

57 Million

95 Million

45 Million

90 Million

67 Million

42 Million

The Ford Foundation was established in 1936 and yet, decades later, is still giving away more than a hundred million dollars a year to needy causes. No matter what your attitude toward the wealth of the Fords, Rockerfellers or Gettys, you’ve got to admit that fruits from their money trees continue to bless the world.

You can have a major, positive impact on future generations.

Could you, too, leave a legacy that outlives you. Although leaving a 10 million dollar fortune may be the furthest thing from your mind today (you’d probably rather make an extra $10,000 this year), how you manage your money can have a great positive impact on future generations. In the purest sense, money is a spiritual concept. It contains the power to do so much good. Imagine the benefit that you could provide to future groups of worthy people. Imagine your own posterity- your own great-great grandchildren -a century from now. How could they benefit from your wise financial, spiritual and intellectual legacy? If you won’t do it for yourself, at least do it for them.

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