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Familosophy

David’s Familosophy newsletter

Fear of Wealth Transfer

The Fear Concerning Wealth Transfer

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Q: How do we protect the next generation from blowing our money? A: Stop right there. Whether you have created or inherited the wealth, the language of the question reeks of a power, control and mistrust dynamic. Many families either hang on to their wealth or setup structures to prevent their children from “blowing it” (which is often controlling from the grave). Yes, it’s awkward having discussions about estate planning and family wealth, and who wants to…

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Defining Philanthropy: COVID & beyond

Defining Philanthropy: COVID & beyond

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Many families struggle with the ‘why’ of their wealth. Defining a philanthropic strategy is a great way for a family to articulate a purpose for their wealth. However, only 20% of families have a formal process for doing so. At the start of COVID, there was concern that financial pressure on families would lead to a reduction in philanthropy. But in a recent survey, 43% of respondents said that the pandemic had not altered the…

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Rising Generation View of Established Culture

Rising Generation Views on Established Culture

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If you couldn’t bear to watch Megan Markle bare her soul to Oprah (or if you couldn’t look away from it, and from the endless commentary that followed), here are two practical things you can actually take from the latest episode of this saga: 1. There are serious challenges to growing up in a wealthy family with a public profile. The weight of expectations is heavy, and finding identity and meaning can be difficult. Marrying…

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proof or privilege in family business

Proof or Privilege in the Family Business

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Consider this from two perspectives: the family and the individual. Do families demand that younger generations prove themselves in some way, perhaps before being allowed to join the family business or take some other role with respect to the family assets? The other side is the view of the younger family member. Being born into wealth can be a lodestone, especially the way ‘privilege’ is a dirty word in some circles. The world loves a…

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Does Money Buy Happiness

Does Money Buy Happiness?

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And does being ‘happy’ mean something different to those who have wealth and those who don’t? These are the questions considered in a recent research study. Most anyone who has wealth would find it obvious that the answer to the first question is a resounding ‘no’, but it takes the rigour of an academic to first define happiness (life satisfaction and a set of distinct positive emotions), and then examine the correlation between them and…

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Board Succession Strategy

Board Succession Strategy

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Q: We have three non-family board members in their 70s on our family board. How should we handle moving them on? A: The composition of the family board is a careful balance between family members & independent voices, and maintaining regular turnover is very important. Often, families will establish a board with some family members, the family lawyer & accountant, and perhaps some other trusted advisors. But without due attention to the board composition, the group can…

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Q&A: Charitable Children

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Q: We’re just approaching a liquidity event. How do I get my twentysomething children involved in our plans for philanthropy? A: Stop right there. You might be 10-20 years late. Many families do things in the following order: create wealth, extract liquidity, then give charity in a big way. Now, that makes plenty of sense. You can’t give charity in a big way until you have the liquidity. And creating a foundation as a vehicle to perpetuate giving is…

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Family Money Business Conflict

Resolving Conflict in Family, Money and Business

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When seeking to deal with conflict in family business, it is essential to understand the impact of the family dynamic on a business. Conflict in family business happens differently, therefore must be resolved differently. Disputes within a family don’t escalate suddenly. They are often built on years of relationship sentiment that is latent or suppressed. The triggers for those conflicts can be the smallest thing, because they are just the straw that breaks the camel’s…

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The non-family CEO

The non-family CEO

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As a family enterprise matures, and often in the context of succession planning (or ageing incumbents), the decision to appoint a non-family CEO comes to the fore. Having made the decision to consider one, families ask the usual question: what do we want in a (non-family) CEO? Perhaps they should turn it around and ask themselves: what non-family member would want to be our CEO and why? Putting themselves in the shoes of a prospective…

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Education of the Rising Generation

The Education of the Rising Generation

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The Greek philosopher Plutarch asked: “People, where are you going? Doing everything to gain wealth, but not caring about your children, who will inherit it?” If the rising generation is supposed to take the responsibility of managing the family wealth, there should be enough time for them to learn and prepare. To avoid raising a bunch of “trust-fund kids”, the family needs to define clearly what they expect and invest time and resources to help…

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