Talking about Money Within Families
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, that money might be used to play out family roles from childhood. There are so many things that can go wrong, the easy route is simple to avoid conversations (and therefore the risk of confrontation).
While the fear of the unknown is a barrier to conversation, that same lack of communication can cause serious problems in the future.
One approach is to frame wealth in a different context – one of legacy. To do this, start thinking about the positive things wealth has achieved and can achieve in your family. Topics like how the family have used and can use the wealth for purpose (philanthropic or impact), and stories about those who made loyal and enduring commitments to the family (such as in the family business) can put a more positive spin on family wealth.
Consider This: Does your family have (official or unofficial) discussion taboos? Have you discussed the family wealth with the next generation? If you keep procrastinating, have you asked yourself why?
Here is more on reading on wealth transition.