Millionaire Paul Blackburne’s riches not quite all in the family

Source: The Australian

Rich-lister Paul Blackburne says the last thing a well-endowed parent should do is fill their child’s bank account.

Following in the tradition of famed American investment guru Warren Buffett, who famously pledged to donate more than 99 per cent of his wealth, the Perth property developer says his intention in the future is to give away his $553 million fortune.

Mr Blackburne’s wealth is detailed in the inaugural edition of The List — Australia’s Richest 250magazine published in The Weekend Australian this Saturday.

“I am giving a lot of thought to this now because I think having a lot of money at a young age is a very dangerous thing. If anything, in a majority of cases, it is more of a burden than a gift for kids in their 20s and 30s to inherit a lot of money,” Mr Blackburne says.

Of course the 42-year-old stresses he and his wife Charmaine want their two children — now aged five and two — to have a “stable life, a good home and a good education”.

“But anything beyond that, just like I had to earn everything myself, I think they should also,” he says. “And if they do have ­access to money at some stage, I hope they are using it for good rather than evil.”

His hope is to eventually establish a family charity or charitable entity that at least one of his children is deeply involved in, following in the footsteps of other rich-listers such as mining magnate Andrew Forrest, philanthropist Graham Tuckwell or television production whiz Neil Balnaves.

“The focus on the kids, even if they have money, is to instil in them the values to be kind to ­others, be healthy, to look after themselves and treat others as equals,” Mr Blackburne says.

“If the kids can be instilled with those principles, it gives them a good grounding if they do one day inherit money.”

He says he has worked hard to ensure wealth hasn’t changed him after building his company from being a property management group of 10 staff in 2003 to being one of Perth’s biggest apartment developers known as Blackburne Property Group.

Sixteen years ago he borrowed $600,000 to buy part of the rent roll from his father’s firm, Blackburne and Joyce Real Estate, to start his own business.

He has no ambition for either of his children to one day take over running his property business. But he says it would be nice if they did.

“What I want for them is whatever makes them happy,” he says.

“If one of them ends up running Blackburne Group, well and good. It would be nice to think that one of them would continue the family legacy in the business you have worked your whole life in. But I wouldn’t try and push them in that direction.”

For the full interview with Paul and Charmaine Blackburne, see the inaugural edition of The List — Australia’s Richest 250, this Saturday.