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Generational Differences in Philanthropy

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Family philanthropy can be a very effective way to bridge generations and engage the rising generation. However, according to a recent poll from Key Private Bank, there are significant differences between parents and children on matters of giving. Most parents are not discussing philanthropy with their children, let alone agreeing on causes. 82% of advisors say very few clients involve the next generation in family philanthropy. Faith-based causes represent 73% of interest from parents, but…

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Transition or Split?

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Kenny Rogers sang of the importance of knowing “when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em”. Any succession plan worth its salt isn’t just a plan of who will succeed whom in running the business. It also needs a “Plan B” for the scenarios where the chosen successor is unwilling or unable, where there is no successor, or where a generational transition of the business might lead to serious conflict. Some business founders/owners enjoy…

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Generational thinking about wealth

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Wealthy people broadly come in two flavours – wealth creators and wealth inheritors – and each have very different characteristics. Attitudes to money and wealth are usually established as we grow up and largely remain with us for the duration of our lives. Creators often grow up without a lot of money and therefore have different attitudes to spending and the value of a dollar, are uncomfortable talking about it with their children, and often…

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Family conflict: about the money?

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The conflicts that take place within wealthy families are often on display through the media as a result of their public profiles (and because people want to read about them). For outsiders, they can be hard to understand: What are they fighting about? Surely there is enough there for everyone? But in fact, wealthy families have all the same family issues as others: sibling rivalries, favouritism, jealousy, power struggles, and the search for identity. The…

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How not to sell a Family Business

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0% of all businesses do not sell, and only about 30% of family businesses get handed down to the next generation. If it doesn’t sell and isn’t passed down, what happens? Typically, they die a “slow death”, or are liquidated. Understanding why businesses don’t sell is the key to maximising the value of your own family business. Many family businesses are “lifestyle” businesses – they deliver cash to the family, but are starved of the…

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Sudden Wealth

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Coming into wealth suddenly – such as through inheritance or a windfall liquidity event of a family business – can carry serious risks. The rapid change in financial circumstance can lead to poor decision-making, a loss of perspective, and social isolation. It can lead to a dysfunctional relationship with money/wealth. In the case of inheritance, there can be mixed or conflicting emotions of loss and gain. It can be like winning the lottery, and research…

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Talking about it

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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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Giving it away

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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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‘Bonus’ wealth from family business

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A ‘family business’ is more than just a business owned and operated by a family. In addition to being a vehicle of wealth creation and entrepreneurship for the family, these businesses can bring other non-financial benefits – known as “socioemotional wealth” or “social capital” – to family members. Being part of the family enterprises brings feelings of pride, personal reward and satisfaction, and can constitute a part of family members’ identity. These additional intangibles are…

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The e-word

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The e-word – “entitlement” – comes up in almost every presentation or lecture I give, and in many family discussions. It has become almost a dirty word when it comes to family wealth – something to be avoided at all cost. “How can I prevent my children from becoming entitled?” is what most every parent wants to know. When it comes to family business, limiting the negative impact of entitlement can be achieved by instilling…

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