Q: If the world’s two richest men cannot keep their wives happy, what hope do we have?
A: No, that’s not a real question – it’s a meme that circulated following the news of the divorce of Bill & Melinda Gates. Many people with wealth realise that money can’t make a wife (or anyone) happy, but that doesn’t stop them trying.
In business, sometimes we decide to “throwing money at a problem”. That means directing significant resources (financial and otherwise) towards solving the problem.
In families, throwing money at a problem is taken more literally – directing liquidity to placate unhappy family members. The assumption is that it will “smooth things over”, but because it uses money as a proxy for the underlying problem, it doesn’t address the underlying problem.
The best this response can hope to achieve is to kick the problem down the road, i.e. defer dealing with it or pretend it doesn’t exist. However, consider that (a) the problem is not solved, and (b) in the meantime, the underlying family issues can continue to fester and can actually become worse.
Consider This: Have you “thrown money” at a difficult family situation? Why? What did you expect to happen as a result? What actually happened?
Actionable Generational Wealth Succession
For more in-depth, thought-provoking discussion points and further commentary on family and business conflict resolution, access my Familosophy newsletter archives: www.transitionbook.co/member-area/
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