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 ensure that outcome.
This is a double-edged sword: if communicated too early this may set too much expectations. Common thinking is that age 25 to 30 years is about the right age bracket for rising gens to learn about family wealth, and receive education and training about how to effectively manage and grow it.
Rising gen family members should be able to:
- Develop a clear vision of themselves and their personal goals, as well as the skills to successfully communicate them
- Spend the time to understand the family and business’s legacy and values
- Form a healthy and individuated identity alongside the family identity and long-term family relationships
Non-traditional educational resources are as necessary as they are helpful and worth the commitment they require.
There are excellent programs around that help young inheritors find purpose, meaning and joy as they navigate the complexities and opportunities of wealth. The goal is for them to gain a positive and empowered view of their role in relation to the family wealth. Rather than seeing themselves as heirs and consumers, they can become stewards and active partners.
Consider This: Does your family…
Have/use any programs (formal or informal) for educating the rising generation?
Can you answer the question ‘are we rich’?
Have you had family discussions (formal or informal) about what the wealth means to different family members?
Find out more about the work that David does with family firms by visiting his website here