A Miami financial advisor gave his preteen kids a $100 assignment to learn about money, and one grew up to become an advisor, too

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  • Gerald Grant Jr. and Gerald Grant III are financial advisors in Miami and coauthors of a new book about building generational wealth.
  • Gerald Grant Jr. once asked his daughter to read "The Richest Man in Babylon" and write an essay. The assignment paid $100, so his son did it, too.
  • The lessons Grant III gleaned from the book became the foundation for his personal wealth-building philosophy and his career.
  • This article is part of "Money That Lasts," an ongoing series about generational wealth from Personal Finance Insider.
  • Check out Vanguard Personal Advisor Services® to get the investment advice you need to help build the life you want »

It's no secret parents play a leading role in who a child becomes. Sometimes it's unmistakable.

At the impressionable age of 12, Gerald Grant III overheard a conversation between his sister and father, Gerald Grant Jr., who is a financial advisor.

"He had given my sister the task of reading the book, 'The Richest Man in Babylon.' Not only did you have to read it, but you had to write an essay. And if you wrote the essay, he'd give you a hundred dollars," Grant III told Business Insider. "I took it upon myself to read the book and write the essay, too."

The personal-finance classic, published in 1926, is a collection of parables set in the ancient city of Babylon that's brimming with lessons about investing, success, and growing wealth that are still relevant nearly a century later. 

"It's funny, because as a young kid I was just doing it for a hundred dollars," Grant III said. The book taught him about concepts like pay yourself first, live below your means, and love what you do. They've stayed with him through the years, he said, not only becoming the foundation for his personal money philosophy, but setting the stage for a fulfilling career.

The father and son now share money lessons together

After obtaining his MBA and working as a consultant at Deloitte, Grant III felt called back home to Miami to work at his father's financial-planning firm.

"It was at that point in time that I joined a practice that I really understood the impact that we have on our clients, and the difference that a career in this industry can make," Grant III said.

"It's rewarding to see that the light bulb went off and he got it," Grant Jr. said. 

The father-son advisors are coauthors of the new book "The Power of Generational Wealth: It's More Than Just Dollars and Cents." They preach many of the same lessons introduced in "The Richest Man in Babylon," and emphasize the idea that good financial habits and values, not just sizable assets, should be handed down through generations.

"Unfortunately, we cannot choose what situation we are birthed into," they write. "The reality is the path on which we start our journey can have a tremendous impact on how our lives unfold and where we end up. So, what can we do to alter our situation and smooth the path for our children and their children? We can develop a new mindset."

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