In some ways, this blog has been a long time coming. It feels like an obvious topic for me, I am almost surprised at myself for not having addressed it yet.
I am not sure what triggered it now, but here goes, let’s see if I can turn this question into something useful and entertaining.
Money has a huge impact on all of us, and working with business families and those in the UHNW space (Ultra High Net Worth) it is obviously top of mind much of the time. But for people who have a lot of money, is money all that they talk about, think about, and worry about?
What else is there to talk about?
In my experience, those who have plenty of money prefer to talk about other subjects. Maybe it is because they don’t have to worry about where their proverbial next meal is going to come from, or maybe it is because they are tired of listening to all the financial experts in their lives, who seem to talk about little else.
I arrived at this calling of working with enterprising families after a couple of decades managing a small family office that was created after a liquidity event in my family when I was in my twenties.
I quickly learned that when you are managing your family’s wealth, it is much better to lay low, or else you will become a target for anyone and everyone peddling their wonderful solutions to problems you never knew you had.
I guess one of the reasons I am writing about this now is that I have noticed an uptick in the number of these financial solution peddlers hitting me up lately. You see, when I decided to enter the world of family advising, it made much less sense for me to lay low, and in fact I needed to do a 180 and try to make a splash.
The curious thing is that these peddlers are contacting me repeatedly now, and I find very little compelling in what the vast majority is offering. For everyone who claims to offer something unique, I could literally find five to ten others offering something quite similar within a few block radius in any major city.
Before I look at how you plan to take care of any money that I might allocate to you, I need to feel comfortable with you and learn one whole heckuva lot more about you, and your firm, AND know that you have taken at least a bit of time trying to understand ME and my family.
Do I need ANOTHER financial solution provider?
Most families don’t need another financial solutions provider. They are almost literally available on every street corner.
Families who own significant wealth will more likely need help figuring out how to treat all family members fairly, whether they grew their assets by 5% last year or by 10%.
They will more likely appreciate help in deciding how to think about, plan, and communicate their legacy decisions, as they imagine how the things that they have worked for all of their lives will play out as the wealth gets transitioned to the next generation.
Oh, and that NextGen group? Yeah, well they probably have lots of questions for their parents too, not they they feel comfortable asking them. What kind of questions?
You know, the ones about fairness, controlling their own destiny, having a clear understanding of all of the “dreams and plans” that their parents have for them and their wealth, but that have not been discussed or written down anywhere.
If bragging about how your fund beat the S&P by 2 percent last year is what you wanna sell, good luck with that.
That Pie is pretty big!
Once the family pie reaches a certain size, making it bigger ceases to be the focus. Figuring out how to enjoy it as a family together over generations takes over as a priority.
Families have a pretty good idea of what they want to do, and why they want to do it. They usually need help with the HOW. The how involves family dynamics, and that can be a scary subject.
Can you help a family with that? If not, you better find someone who can.