Wealthism

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

Last week I was in Colorado presenting at the Annual Rendezvous of the Purposeful Planning Institute . This is a great organization where a wide variety of professionals meet to develop and share best practices for enlightened planning around the broadest definition of wealth (way more than money). My colleague and friend Kristen Heaney and I developed a breakout session about wealthism. Joanie Bronfman originally coined the term “wealthism” in her 1987 doctoral dissertation at Brandeis University; Merriam-Webster defines an “ism” as, “an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or 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 »

Metallica and Family Business

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

This coming weekend I’ll be attending the annual meeting of Psychodynamics of Family Business (PDFB) in Chicago. I’m very much looking forward to it and being with some great colleagues.  We come up with interesting and creative ways to put our minds together to improve how we help business families be successful with business and family alike. Most of the attendees have some kind of clinical background (e.g., clinical social work, psychology, family therapy) although a few come from law or other disciplines and have 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 »

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

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

My work with families sharing businesses and other forms of wealth across generations requires collaboration and learning across disciplines. No single profession has all that these families need to thrive across time, and every professional truly committed to serving these families looks beyond his or her own profession to learn more and be able to contribute as much as possible. The Family Firm Institute and Purposeful Planning Institute are organizations in which I am actively involved. Both are committed to bringing together professionals serving enterprising families to 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 »

Strawberry Fields

July 20, 2016Family Business Consulting, Family Wealth Consulting, Wealth Psychology Consulting

I recently came across a NY Times article about musicians fighting over who gets to play (and collect tips) at Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park. The situation strongly reminded me of challenges my family clients face. It is so essential for families who share assets across generations to take the time to decide HOW they will share the rights and responsibilities that come with ownership, management and leadership. And, they still need to manage being a family in Read more »