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David Werdiger

Politics of Boomers and Millenials

Generational Politics of Millennials & Boomers

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While I abhor the “generation wars” narrative that pops up regularly, the article below is about a novel – Boomer1 by Daniel Torday – that captures this generation wars zeitgeist, and tells the story of a frustrated millenial who takes his fight to the internet, complaining about boomers who refuse to retire and make jobs available to those of his generation. The article makes some great points about this ongoing debate, and postulates as to…

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Rising Generation Says No Thanks

When Rising Generations Have No Interest in Taking Over

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A common challenge for family businesses is when the rising generation have no interest in taking over. This can be especially common in sectors like manufacturing or farming which may be considered an attractive or exciting career path for younger family members to join. There are two concerns for the family members currently in control: (a) who will look after the business? (b) who will look after the customers? Both of these are important, because…

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Is family wealth the most valuable thing

Is Family Wealth The Most Valuable Thing

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As a wealthy family, what is the most valuable thing you can give your children? One sure way to find out the answer is to ask (too often parents don’t bother). According to a Wells-Fargo survey of Millennials, more than 90% of children say they want to inherit their parents’ values, not their wealth. Some 84% want top sustain and build on their family’s legacy. This should be very heartening news for parents. In a…

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The NextGen of Charitable Givers

The Next Generation of Givers

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Philanthropy can be a great way to engage different generations in a wealthy family, and for family members to find purpose where there is no imperative for paid employment. It’s worth keeping in mind the intergenerational differences and trends in giving so that the family giving experience can be as positive as possible. The Blackbaud Institute’s report on the next generation of American giving has some useful insights. Giving priorities differ by generations, but health,…

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Conflict of Interest in Family Business

Is There Conflict of Interest in Your Family Business?

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The essential problem family businesses must deal with is conflict of interest, which arises when people have multiple roles – in the business, as an owner, and as a family member – that can potentially conflict. Thinking about the issues of a family business in this way is a good path to mitigating the challenges they can bring. Establishing explicit rules is a good start, and this article covers several good ones: only put family…

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Trusted Advisor Transition

Trusted Adviser Transition

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The rising generation stands to inherit significant wealth, and families are spending much effort and expense to ensure that they are well prepared to become effective custodians of that wealth. However, it’s important for families to also consider the services required to help manage that wealth: advisors. In any family, at some point in time, the wealth will shift from one generation to another. When someone inherits wealth, it becomes ‘theirs’. This contrasts with advisor…

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Changing Hats for Founding Generations

Changing Hats for Founding Generations

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We’ve previously discussed the effect of increasing life expectancy on wealth transition – the ‘problem’ of the ageing family member who refuses to step aside is more prevalent than ever (the popular TV series Succession makes for great watching on this topic). Traditionally, roles within families have very long tenure, For someone who has been managing the family wealth for many years, the thought of leaving a job they have become very good at can…

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Talk About Family Money

Talk About Family Money

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Money is one of the few remaining taboo topics for discussion, but in wealthy families, it’s something that eventually does need to be discussed. The challenge is to develop a greater comfort in discussing it. The first step towards this is to understand the reason for discomfort, and it is usually because discussions about money bring on fear: fear that there isn’t or won’t be enough, that the next generation might be spoilt by excess,…

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Family Business Conflict

Family Business Conflict

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You might think conflict in family business is predominately around business performance. Wrong. At the core, it’s most commonly about the ‘people’ side of things: ineffective communication, and not recognising the different needs, interests & capability of family members. Evolutionary psychology tells us that we behave more altruistically toward the relatives with whom we share the greatest genetic overlap, and more with our maternal than paternal relatives. This means as the family group grows deeper…

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Pruning the Tree - Exit Strategy

Pruning the Tree

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As a tree grows, it is often helpful to prune some branches to make space for other branches to grow. As families grow generationally, “pruning” – allowing some family branches to exit – can be beneficial both to the main family group and to the group that chooses to exit. As families grow, so does the diversity of family members. Managing the diverse needs and expectations becomes much harder. Unless the family business is always…

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