May 23, 2016
How many times have we heard family leaders say, “I will leave my heirs enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing?” Others say, “All is going into a trust or to a charitable foundation, so we do not have to worry about spoiling the kids,” and some decide to skip a generation or two and provide for future grandchildren and great grandchildren.
As we review these stories and countless others, we see the focus is on money and assets. Heirs begin to think that money and assets determine who they are, instead of the values and legacy they hold as a family. They believe living in a multi-million dollar home, extravagant vacations, and a personal staff are an inherited right.
The difference in the mood of a family that sees their money and asset base operating in the background, and their family history, experience, education and networking capacity of the entire family as the true wealth is far more powerful and provides more possibilities than just their assets. Expand this concept to include spouses, grandchildren, and their spouses and the wealth is multiplied and expanded across generations,
The asset base is minor compared to the other gifts the entire family brings to the table. Our moods are always based on our assessment of the future. When the family sees their future is bright based on not just their financial standing but on the richness of their networks and family unity, the sense of team and self worth forms the wellspring of expansive possibilities and growth.
Can you imagine the difference that is made when cordial hypocrisy no longer exists within the family, and the trust and communication bridges are solid and useful throughout the family?
When the values held by the family have been articulated and agreed upon and are in alignment with the mission/purpose of the family wealth?
We see this produces moods of pride, harmony, and alignment. We say there are two important days in a person’s life: The day they were born and the day they find out why. When heirs are able to define themselves not by the size of their assets but by their purpose, they live more authentic and rewarding lives with far higher self esteem.
One approach places money and assets as the determiner of who someone is versus the values and experiences being the primary factor.
The family leader chooses what the focus will be: money and assets or values and family mission. They choose this by the degree to which they prepare their heirs to live responsibly with wealth. While all family leaders want to give heirs a better life than their own, the responsibility preparing them for the impact of wealth on their self esteem and identity is at the heart of successful wealth transition.
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