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next generation Archives - David Werdiger

Can we talk about family wealth

Q&A: Can we talk?

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Q: How do we tell the kids about our family wealth? A: First and possibly most important point: they already know. By the lifestyle you lead and the people you mix with, your children have already made assumptions about the family wealth. They will also have garnished information on this topic from friends and from public sources. That means in terms of controlling the conversation, you are already well behind, so be aware of what you can and…

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Covid & Resilience

COVID & Resilience

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As we enter the third year of this pandemic, it’s worth reflecting on the theme of resilience. By retaining their long-term view, family businesses have been able to not just weather the storm but also grow and thrive. Their resilience comes from other factors as well: the entrepreneurial spirit of innovating in times of crisis, and the emotional and social bonds that exist both within the family and within the wider family business group and…

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Advisor Succession to Family Office

Advisor Succession to Family Office

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Financial advisors are an ‘old’ bunch – with an average age in their mid-50s and a big bulge of advisors now in their 60s and 70s. If that didn’t already pose a risk to their clients, the COVID-induced recession means that many of them will leave sooner than expected – either by choice or otherwise – and may choose to retire completely in the current economic environment. Merrill Lynch, perhaps in response to both issues,…

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Family Business Crisis

Family business response to crisis

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During a crisis, having a family business can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are often family elders with experience in overcoming previous recessions, support from the family unit, and the fact that family businesses tend to be more risk averse and therefore in a better position to weather the storm. But some of those very attributes can also manifest as weaknesses. For example, family businesses have a concern for a wide range…

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Rising Gen Inheritance

Rising Gen depend on inheritance

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According to a Merrill Edge report, one third of “mass affluent” (mid-range wealth) Americans say their financial stability depends on their inheritance. But interestingly, this is more a result of prevailing economic conditions (markets, unemployment, weak wage growth) than the generation being brought up with a silver spoon sense of entitlement. Economic conditions for creation of wealth have been challenging for the rising generation. There are even signals of a decline in social mobility. The…

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Family and Politics

Family and Politics

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With the US midterm elections in the news, there is talk of generational shifts in the electorate (which will take some time still to have a significant impact), and with the further polarisation within the US, the way political affiliations have come between friends and family members. This fascinating NPR podcast discusses how political preferences are driven by hidden moral frameworks. The nation is often described using the family as a metaphor, with terms like…

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Family Governance

Family Governance; Ownership vs Management

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When family wealth is controlled or owned by a single person (usually the wealth creator), things are simple. But at some point, the wealth will likely pass to more than one person – the wealth creator’s children. In respect of the family wealth, the members of the family are bound together through three circles of involvement: family, business and ownership. That adds a huge degree of complexity, as no decision gets made in isolation. Strong…

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Legacy of Entrepreneurial Spirit

Legacy of Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Most wealth is created through entrepreneurship: taking a risk to start a business, and growing that business. Some families with generationally “old” money (i.e. more than 3-4 generations removed from the wealth creator) may have their family wealth in passive assets, and the entrepreneurial spirit that created it is long gone from memory, sometimes irretrievably lost. For families that hold (or acquire) operating assets, it’s important to maintain that entrepreneurial spirit in subsequent generations, but…

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Family Advisor Traits

Family Advisor Traits to Consider

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When it comes to advisors, I have two simple rules: Get good advisors Listen to them Family advisors need additional skills because they must work with the various members or governance structures of a family, and key people & structures may change with time. They need to know about communication, in order to help the family members themselves communicate well. They need to understand family dynamics, and get to know the ins and outs of…

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What Transition?

What Transition?

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For years, we’ve been writing and talking about this trillion dollar wealth transition that is “going to happen in the next ten years”, ostensibly as baby boomers retire. But has it happened? The fact that we’re still talking about it as “happening” says plenty. We need to ask: why were the predictions of so many people incorrect? and more importantly, what (if anything) should we be doing differently about it? I’ve written previously about the…

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