Preparing Family Members and Other Heirs
Preparing Family Members And Other Heirs
It’s important to prepare your family members and others heirs for wealth. And a vital part of that requires that they be taught the financial facts of life…
The readiness level of family heirs determines much regarding the future of the estate and the fabric of the family itself. Has the long term mission with key players truly understanding what’s ahead, with roles defined and a strategy developed to accommodate it been developed and currently in progress? Is that even important to you; to keep it in the family with members who have the aptitude and are prepared to properly manage it all when the time comes?
A recent survey, funded mostly by Bill Gates and conducted by Boston College’s Center of Wealth and Philanthropy, has uncovered some interesting findings. Though the study (not yet made public) was titled “The Joys and Dilemmas of Wealth”, it focuses primarily on dilemmas, as joys are easily comprehended.
Many of the respondents to the study gives the appearance of a generally dissatisfied group of people whose money has caused some deep anxieties regarding love, work and family. Some really laid it out, sharing a wide and deep assortment of thoughts, details and very personal feelings about the subject…
But the one consistent concern – mentioned by nearly every parent who participated was regarding their children.
This likely is because young people, who grow up in affluent homes, often experience mixed feelings and confusing messages about wealth throughout their lives. As we know, charmed lifestyles and plenty of money doesn’t guarantee happiness for anyone. That’s not money’s job anyway.
But understanding this is important as the stakes are still high in two main ways: 1) because there can be lots of money to squander and, 2) because the wealth itself can contribute to various types of dysfunction.
Family is often the greatest contradiction of them all. Our children (and theirs) can be both wonderful sources for pride and joy, and our greatest challenge too. Sure, we want them to be happy, their educations to be assured, etc., but we’re also concerned that money will rob them of ambition and motivation. We see no need for them to ever worry about money, while at the same time not wanting to create trust-fund brats. It’s a paradox, but resolvable.
Children (future heirs) who grow up in a wealthy household are bound to encounter mixed feelings, mixed messages, and mixed blessings. That’s because parents who provide a charmed lifestyle and leave behind substantial amounts of money to their children do not guarantee their children’s happiness. In many cases, riches can have the opposite effect if they’re not prepared for them.
For wealthy families, the stakes are high, not just because there’s more money to squander, but also because wealth can fuel dysfunction. Money can deliver education, comfort, travel and exposure to high culture, but money can also paralyze people and strip them of ambition and purpose. Some children can even suffer feelings of guilt over not having really earned their wealth. Others find themselves mired in the toxic feelings of entitlement.
Wealthy parents should worry more about raising their children with a sense of roundedness and balance, a strong work ethic, how to counter that sense of entitlement and separate their identity from their wealth, to develop confidence in themselves, to give back to society and to be good stewards of the wealth for future generations.
Do you ever wonder?… Is money screwing my kids up? They have the quantity, but do they grasp how to think more about high-quality desires? Do they understand and are they able to find a good balance for themselves and a true pursuit of happiness? Are they even looking for that? Do they know about the effects and vast differences between earning versus inheriting large amounts of money and other assets?
Wealth looms large in lives and in society today. It has the power to help you and your children to discover and pursue each of your callings; to be conscious of the effects of the choices money offers and the decisions to be made. There is no need to merely wonder about what’s going to happen. You get to decide.
Do you know what your family is going to look like in twenty years? Do the family members understand that with privilege comes responsibility? That there’s a difference between owning and managing a family enterprise? Solid family dynamics are formed over time but “now” is usually the best time to be working on them.
“I define a successful family as one that knows who it is, what it stands for, and where it is going. Successful families manage themselves deliberately.”
-Charles Collier, in Wealth in Families
WHAT IS THE OTHER 10% DOING?
“Has the novelty and value of money worn off for the family?”
It’s a natural dynamic and usually close to the heart of the predicament, but once you make the decision to transcend above the history described by the proverbs, a call to start making honest assessments of the next generations (and other heirs) becomes fundamental.
Sometimes money can contribute to anxiety regarding love, work and family. Worries regarding over consumption and losing a healthy frame of reference within family are typical. Your wealth should never become a burden. And any effects it’s having on important areas of life are resolvable.
The pending tragedies are more than just loss of money though. It’s also the cost of family that goes with it. If the wealth dissipates, so will threads of the family connection. Conflicts, disengagement and other serious and unintended consequences become inevitable. It’s people being human.
So, if the novelty of wealth seems to have worn off on your family members, if your heirs’ emotional and intellectual relationship with money appears less than ideal then you’ve pinpointed how your holdings could likely become another example for the ages. It’s a ‘too-common occurrence’, often within families you’d expect more from.
An overwhelming concern of our clients tends to be about their children:
They think about how prosperity has shaped their lives and worry about the effect that money may be having on the kids…
- Will money rob them of ambition and motivation?
- Do they have a somewhat slanted view of the world?
- Have they developed a strong sense of entitlement?
- Will they have little empathy or compassion for others?
- How should, and can I address sibling conflicts?
- Would philanthropic work help my family as well as others?
- How best to talk to the children about any of these things?
We all want our children to make wise choices, especially when it comes to managing wealth, as money is intertwined within so many different aspects of life.
Inheritors must be taught early to respect, be responsible, prepared, balanced and organized. They will become governors of your life’s work so an evaluation of their readiness should be at the top of your list. Is your family being groomed to manage their inheritance properly? Are they currently in the process of being readied?
If not, disaster is imminent. And it won’t be their fault.
Is it important to you that your children be ready when the time comes?
“We try to get our kids to do chores, but it’s hard to get them to mow the lawn when we have a full-time gardener.”
What to do? Probably to not spend much time worrying about chores and more encouraging personal maturation. Our guidance experience has proven that once you begin communicating, grooming and trusting, growth for entire family starts occurring then too. The kids’ responsibilities should evolve into things more important than lawn mowing. Unless they love doing that.
A common concern in wealthy families is an ever increasing separation between the younger generations and the original source of the family money. Somewhere along the way, somebody invested an entire life (or lives) to work extremely hard in support of their dreams. They were frugal, devoting any and every resource at their disposal, every day. Then money showed up…
There’s a likelihood that your children have things much easier than you did. That’s not their fault either. They were born into an entirely different situation and environment then you may have been. Please understand that, don’t allow yourself to resent them or let it affect your interest in having them properly trained for managing wealth.
Depending upon the current age of your children, at some point they’ll be taking on different roles than you may have had when you were their age: learning about, comprehending and managing elements of life that are touched and affected by wealth. You likely learned about these things on-the-fly, but they need to “get there” quicker. Think of it as ‘Managing All Aspects Of Wealth University.’
It’s always a good time to assess our personal biases; to recognize and acknowledge how we feel about our own family members and confidence levels in them. Don’t underestimate the resources at your access to solve this matter.
But communicating and teaching family members about this isn’t something that can merely be comprehended. It’s something that needs to be understood first, then practiced. The sooner you embrace these thoughts, the better for individual members and the entire family system. Empowering takes time, but it’s so worth it.
- How wealthy do you want your children to be?
- Do you have a long term vision for your family’s wealth?
- What is most important to you for your family’s future?
- What will guide your decisions about estate allocations?
- Are there pros and cons of leaving wealth to your children?
- How well can your family members work together?
- How would you like your family to make decisions together?
- What principles should guide how they react to inheritance?
- Kubler Financial is The Estate Maximization Company. We recognize that there are deep issues around money, so we design, produce and help execute a multi-dimensional, easy-to-comprehend plan for you which engages the five main elements that does, and should, concern estate holders.
The Five Dimensions For Estate Maximization
1) Business Side
Origination and implementation of a solid strategy for your estate that protects and increases the bottom line net worth of your collective holdings; so your accumulated assets, one day to be passed on to your family heirs, to charity or combination of both, reflects the absolute largest valuation possible.
2) People & Emotional Side
Understanding and addressing family dynamics regarding mindsets about affluence, feelings, levels of control, keeping family together and alleviating potential for personal suffering, depression, other forms of devastation and abandonment by members due to an estate plan’s lack of forethought.
3) Preparing Family & Other Heirs
The readiness level of family heirs determines much regarding the future of the estate and the fabric of the family itself. Has the long term mission, with roles defined and a strategy developed to accommodate it been developed and currently in progress? Is that important to you? To keep it in the family?
4) Wealth Succession – Keeping It In The Family
Long-term succession success can occur when most members share the values and attitudes that correspond with ambitions for that. Families must employ sound communications, teaching positive mindset development about money and prudent decision making skills regarding wealth transitions.
5) Philanthropic Goals
Philanthropy is the most discretionary of the five dimensions but most of our clients have discovered great satisfactions associated with giving to charitable causes. Almost all donate or have created family foundations while enjoying a strong correlation between wealth, philanthropy and spirituality.
If you care about how your property is handled, you need an estate maximization plan.
I’m easy to reach and look forward to sharing more about our company and estate maximization with you.
You truly can keep it in your family…
P.S. The time you spend with me will be rewarded by the ideas and perspectives which will help enable your family to preserve its wealth long into the future. After all, it is your wealth. You earned it and you deserve to keep it in your family!
P.S.S. It’s statistical and historically proven fact that seventy percent (70%) of all estate transitions lose control of assets, and by the end of the third generation, 90% of families no longer have their wealth.
P.S.S.S. The unexpected must be anticipated and addressed ahead of time, before it can become a factor. Some thoughts regarding that:
- Children, grandchildren or other heirs divorcing, usually unexpectedly
- Lack of love, lurking internal family clashes and power battles
- Money, other assets falling into the hands of heirs’ debt creditors
- Changes of heirs’ circumSteveces (health, death, bankruptcies, other financial)
- Assets falling to the hands of ex in-laws and their families
- Heirs’ substance abuse problems, gambling or other destructive habits
- Otherwise spoiled, irresponsible and “entitled” family members or other heirs
- Financially immature heirs not fully prepared to handle and manage wealth
- Heirs tendencies to make bad business deals, other types of investment mistakes
- Uncommunicative family members and other forms of hostilities
- Influential spouses of heirs creating varieties of dissent
- Desire to guard against creation of “trust fund children”
- Wealth given away, sometimes arbitrarily, for “philanthropic” purposes
- Asset base devastated by attorneys, courts and otherwise avoidable legal costs
- Assets needing to be sold to pay estate taxes unnecessarily
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.