Start Younger Than You Think

October 20, 2017Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

Many years ago (and unfortunately still to some degree today) heirs had to wait for someone to die before finding out what they would inherit, with whom they would own a business or other assets, and what role they would be expected to play.  This often happened with little teaching and development to lay a healthy foundation for this intense experience and how to manage the technical, emotional and relational effects. Also, often lacking are conversations with the inheritor(s) to Read more »

Children, Wealth, & Peers

September 25, 2017Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

My colleague Barbara Spector, Editor-In-Chief at Family Business Magazine , recently interviewed me about children from financially successful families and situations they face with their peers around the family business and, in particular, money. Click here to read the article, “Help Your Kids Parry Classmates’ Comments About Wealth.” I’ve been interested for some time in wealth and identity and how “wealthism” –  bias against the wealthy – can be internalized by family members in a family wealth context giving them a sense of embarrassment and shame. Many wealthy people choose to be highly secretive about their wealth Read more »

A Candy Heir, the NHL and Next-Gen Passion

June 8, 2017Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

Two common scenarios I see frequently in my work with successful, enterprising families are members of the rising generation strong-armed into the family business when they are not all that interested, and by contrast, those allowed into the business when they do not contribute or allowed in at higher levels than where they can contribute productively. What’s often missed is early conversation within the family about the interests and passions of the rising generation, well before any decision is being Read more »

Trusts Take Over the World

March 28, 2017Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

OK, “take over the world” may be a bit much. However, trusts are a very popular vehicle used more and more in estate planning for business families and legacy wealth families. And the downsides are often not discussed. On the benefits side of the equation when transferring assets through trusts are reducing estate and gift tax liabilities, creditor/lawsuit protection (future divorce is often cited), and determining when heirs get their inheritance, how much they get and for what purposes it Read more »

The Power of Failure (Patti Smith and Adele)

February 28, 2017Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

If you’ve been reading my blog over time, you’ll know that I like to relate my posts to famous musicians. Keep reading to see how Patti Smith and Adele fit into this month’s post. I work with families that want their wealth to serve current and future generations in healthy and productive ways. Some family clients have active operating businesses and others have legacy wealth and in both cases the assets are often complex. Regardless of the form the wealth Read more »

The Power of Family Stories: Part II

January 26, 2017Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

In November of 2016 I wrote about the power of family stories and shared my family’s Thanksgiving experience as my Aunt Lee told of her Holocaust survival experiences and her live-in aide shared similar experiences living through the civil war in Liberia. This month I’ll tell you about some interesting research linking family story-telling style to self-esteem in preadolescents and offer my thoughts on the ramifications for raising children within a context of family wealth. Bohanek et al (2006) in their article, “ Family Narrative Interaction and Children’s Sense of Self ”, discuss Read more »

The Power of Family Stories

November 25, 2016Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

My family had what you might call a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year. My wife and sons and I joined my parents and went to Aunt Lee’s home. She is 92 and recently broke her pelvis and was in significant pain. Plans unfolded at the last minute and she was unable to cook, so we ordered in some delicious Chinese food. Not a scrap of turkey to be found but we were all happy Aunt Lee was working hard on her Read more »

Equal or Fair: Part III

October 24, 2016Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

A recurring and extremely useful conversation I facilitate with the financially fortunate families I work with centers on the concepts of “equal” and “fair.” Earlier blogs addressed the interplay of these concepts in July 2011 and September 2011 and I share a more personal experience about them in this column. Recently, I had a conversation with my mom that exemplifies the need for families to discuss these ideas and the positive outcomes possible. I share the conversation with permission of my mom, dad and Read more »

Best of Intentions

August 29, 2016Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

Most parents have the best of intentions when it comes to their kids – yet some of the things parents do with a good heart backfire. I’ve seen well-intentioned parents buy new and expensive cars for their kids upon getting a driver’s license. They do it out of love, generosity, or sometimes a desire for the child to have things the parent never had or had to work very hard to obtain. Sometimes this works out well and sometimes it Read more »

Children of the 1%

April 27, 2016Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

I realize there may not be widespread empathy for the challenges and issues facing children of wealthy families, and especially children of the so-called 1% – those in the upper 1% of household wealth.  However, I would like to give voice to an issue wealthy parents should be thinking about and finding ways to speak to their kids about: the strong bias against children of the wealthy.  This does not necessarily mean only the ultra-high net worth or even high Read more »