Succession Planning For Generations
Succession Planning For Generations – “Keeping It In The Family”
Long-term succession planning for generations success can occur when most members share the values and attitudes that correspond with ambitions for that. Families must employ sound communications, espouse financial literacy and positive mindset development about money within and throughout the family, inheritance and prudent decision making skills regarding wealth transitions. Do you want your grandchildren to receive some of the fruits from your life’s great work? Is developing that kind of a legacy important for you?
Relative wealth is a fascinating subject…
“From Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in Three Generations”
Have you heard that before?
If yes, then you know that it’s about the fleeting nature of wealth which, of course, is catastrophic for families. But it’s not just a U.S. crisis; it’s global, having been so for centuries, still being repeated worldwide.
The wisdom of it states, “The first generation earns the money, the second squanders most of the money and the third generation finishes off what little, if any, is left.”
Seem farfetched, improbable, even impossible for your family?
Then hold onto that thought, because it’s statistically proven, a fact that means it doesn’t just happen occasionally. It happens almost always. And it’s a long-time pattern.
You see, “Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations” is merely the American translation of a proverb many believe Andrew Carnegie brought with him to the New World from Scotland in the 1800’s. So it had been an occurring pattern for generations before then.
And it’s not been unique to one country or culture…
In Japan the expression is, “Rice paddies to rice paddies in three generations.”
Italy’s version: “From the stable to the stars and back again.”
Another from Scotland: “The parents build, the children sell, and the grandchildren beg.”
And China (translated): “Wealth never survives three generations.”
Do you prefer current statistics over centuries old proverbs?…
- For 70% of all high net worth families, the money has been spent, or lost otherwise, before the end of the second generation.
- By the end of the third generation, 90% of families no longer have their wealth. A dismal 10% success rate.
Sure, everybody understands that fortunes can erode and vanish quickly, so:
Developing A Solid Family Enterprise With Healthy Dynamics
This is for the family that is serious about doing this well. To put systems in place to manage the family wealth, give to charities or have their own foundation, have strong and open communications which includes family meetings, and to be grooming the younger generations to continue this for succession purposes after them too.
Even when we’re done, they still like my advice and to be involved; not ever because they’re failing, but because they recognize that there is always room for improvement and they want to do better. They genuinely want their children and entire family to be healthy, happy and to live fulfilling lives. To be grounded, respectful and trustworthy. To have terrific values, solid belief systems and to want to make a difference. And then to be fully equipped and able to do the same for the generations which will follow them.
As you may know, what I’m referring to are things that are easy-to-understand, and difficult-to-do at the same time. Some families flourish and some get very good at it. Sadly, some don’t even try. But it’s truly worth the effort and every step gained towards getting it right pays dividends in more ways than you can imagine. Not only is it good for the family enterprise, it’s great for individual members and the overall dynamics too. When approached and done correctly, a large amount of family magic occurs. After love itself, this is the Ultimate Gift.
Grooming the younger generations is critical for other important reasons too. If not done, there’s a strong likelihood that the assets will be squandered quite quickly, usually with none reaching or benefitting the grandchildren, or anyone else for that matter.
The dictionary defines “stewardship” as careful and responsible planning and management of something entrusted to one’s care. Mastering stewardship starts by fully comprehending the general difference between assets’ ownership and management and then beginning the education of specifics.
Living a purposeful life with goals, having a reason to get up in the morning, feeling productive and contributing to society in some way are building blocks for self-esteem, happiness and success. I mention these things again as the chances for your wealth to advance into future generations usually depends somewhat on the mindsets and abilities of the younger generations to create additional wealth.
In some ways, it helps for them to take on the mentality of whoever generated the wealth in the first place. The differences between creating wealth and inheriting the assets are each at opposite ends of the spectrum. The best way to close the delta is to teach potential inheritors to think more like the wealth creator did. Your estate has a much greater chance of survival as a result. Even better:
To some extent, any chance for your wealth to extend into future generations depends on your family’s desire and ability to continue creating wealth. To “grow” the estate’s asset base.
NOTE 1: The contrast between creating wealth (usually the parents) and being born into it (children) are miles apart.
NOTE 2: Likewise, the difference between owning the assets versus being responsible for managing (think growth) them are staggering too.
Ensuring Financial Futures For Your Next Family Generations
Naturally I’m not suggesting to give children carte blanche for important decisions from the start. But it is important to help them to develop and have some space to begin exercising a certain amount of power in ways appropriate for their age. If possible, do start them early. If they’re older: the sooner the better, rather than not at all.
To begin preparing the next generations for receiving and growing wealth, a willingness on your part to build and nurture trust, communications (teaching) and harmony are vital. It may even represent a change of mentality on your part. But, well worth it in so many ways…
No matter how safe you may feel today, your wealth cannot perpetuate itself. Without careful planning, teaching, stewardship and some delegation, a well earned fortune will dissolve within a generation or two. The phenomenon is so well-known that the proverb: “From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” was coined about it more than a hundred years ago. Is your family preparing (or failing) to preserve its wealth for long periods of time?
Is the “rags-to-riches-to-rags” cycle being inadvertently nurtured within your family?
Failure of estate transitions and succession is unnecessary. Preservation of long-term family wealth is usually a result of human behavior and that’s determined by your level of consciousness and actions toward this particular subject. Have you been thinking, grooming and teaching for the preservation of your wealth for the generations to come?
The best questions to ask and answer for yourself is: Who is my successor? Is he, she, they being properly prepared?
When I initially meet families my experience has shown that they usually fail to understand that wealth preservation has to be dynamic for it to flow through multiple generations. And that dynamic includes both stewardship and additional wealth creation.
Think of every generation as being the first generation. This provides a certain power and ability for each generation to view itself as being biologically first. Then a critically important role for the management of your wealth is arranging for an orderly succession and ensuring that whoever follows you will be strong, ready and able to preserve the family wealth. They should also consider themselves as being the first generation too. The ‘shirtsleeves’ cycle is then broken.
NOTE: ‘Keeping It In The Family’ is #4 of “The Five Dimensions For Estate Maximization” which follows. I encourage you to review them as all that can go right (consideration, implementation) or all that can go wrong (oversight, neglect) for you will fall within range of at least one of them.
If you feel that your wealth exists to enhance the lives of the individual members of your family, perhaps for many generations, then you’ve discovered the most powerful form of succession and preservation thinking available. And that serves as a fabulous starting point. So..
Who is your successor? And are they being readied properly?
Our clients all benefit greatly from the “Five Dimensions For Estate Maximization.” I am 100% confident that you will also gain significantly after understanding and committing to them too.
If you care about how your property is handled, you need an estate maximization plan.
I’m easy to reach and speak with and look forward to sharing more about our company and Estate Maximization with you.
I can and want to help you and your family to keep what is already yours…
P.S. The time you spend with me will be rewarded by ideas and perspectives that will help enable your family to preserve its wealth long into the future. It’s your wealth. You earned it and you deserve to keep it in your family!
We don’t circumvent and we work well with in-place legal, accounting and all other advisor team members whenever requested or otherwise professionally and ethically appropriate.