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Familosophy

David’s Familosophy newsletter

non-blood-family-business

Family Business – blood non-blood

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Unless your family business is a “mom & pop corner store” (which is more akin to owning a job than owning a business anyway), you will need to have a mix of ‘blood’ and ‘non-blood’ people working in it. As any business matures and grows, there becomes a need for professionalisation and systemisation. While owners may put a high value on the people in the business (especially family), the true value created in any business…

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The problem with Boomers

The Problem with Boomers

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A while back this viral meme swept the internet. “OK, Boomer” is/was the response of younger people to complaints by older people about their behaviour and attitudes. Readers of this newsletter may know my attitude to the whole “generation wars” narrative – it’s a load of crap and we shouldn’t get caught up in it. Older people have been complaining about younger people for as long as there have been multiple generations on this earth,…

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wealth and happiness

Wealth and Happiness

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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…

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Keys to Transition Family Business

Keys to Family Business Transition

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“How to transition the family business to the next generation?” The answer depends on (a) who is asking (incumbent or rising generation) and (b) when (in the life-cycle of the business) they are asking. More often than not, the question is raised too late – when the incumbent generation is thinking of retirement, when there are already unstated expectations from both generations, and when there is already latent conflict. The key ingredients to a successful…

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Buy- vs Sell-side Philanthropy

Buy- vs Sell-side Philanthropy

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There are many consultants out there who advise non-profits on things like strategy, marketing, grant-writing, etc. The market for the philanthropic dollar follows the usual 80/20 rule: 80% of the funding comes from 20% of the donors (it’s probably far more skewed than that – more like 95/5). A particular area of focus for consultants is therefore how to capture the high-end of the market – HNW family giving. We can think of this as…

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Lawyer or Friend?

Lawyer or Friend?

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Friends and family members often turn to lawyers (and other professionals like accountants and wealth managers) they know in because they naturally trust a lawyer who is close to them rather than a stranger. But is this the best approach? Advisors can provide the best services when they are objective and are governed by reason and not by emotion. Often, and especially in a family situation, they specifically need to be the voice of reason…

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Owners and managers of a family business

Owners and Managers of a Family Business

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Family is (hopefully) for life. If the family business starts to interfere negatively with the relationships in the family, then there is imbalance. Family businesses are challenging because of the overlapping of family, business and ownership (known as the “three circle model”). Researchers from Harvard have extended this into four “rooms” by adding in the board room. Because family members wear multiple hats, are in multiple circles, or sit in multiple rooms, they need an…

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Inheritance or Purpose

Inheritance or Purpose?

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The challenges of bringing up children with wealth are predicated on the idea that said wealth will transition to said children. But what if it won’t? Some families are thinking more about giving away the bulk or almost all of the family wealth to charity. In the US, families are talking about giving a maximum of $15M to each child (and the rest to charity). There are different reasons driving this (don’t want to leave…

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Lets Talk About Family Wealth 2

Let’s Talk About Family Wealth

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One of the biggest challenges in wealthy families is when/how to talk about the family wealth to children. There are a number of factors to consider: 1. Being aware of other ways children will learn about it themselves, e.g. from the media, direct research, and from friends (it’s a bit like sex education). Would you rather your children find out about the family wealth from reports and rumours that are laden with assumptions? It’s better…

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Trust; Family vs Business

Trust; Family vs Business

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Can you have the best of both worlds? Family businesses have to tread a fine line: they must compete like any business, while also maintaining harmony amongst the family – both those who are involved in the family business and those who are not. There are a few common themes that help families maintain this balance: 1. Trust is essential, and what builds trust are good communication and transparency. Anywhere information is not provided, people…

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