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How Does A Family Survive Becoming Wealthy?

What are the general themes discovered when listening to the concerns of High Net Worth (HNW) parents when it comes to children and money?

  • When presented with a list of five asset types, and being able to only select one, 77% of parents chose leaving “values and life lessons” as inheritance compared to only 12% who chose financial assets. (Morningstar).
  • 80% of HNW parents believe in teaching heirs that wealth is a social responsibility. (US Trust)

A major concern frequently referenced by HNW parents is to avoid creating a sense of entitlement in one’s children. The consulting firm, CEG Worldwide concludes: HNW clients want Client-Centric assistance in addressing the entire range of their financial concerns-not just their investments; and they want this assistance in the context of a consultative, long-term relationship. Story Family Institute observes that, HNW parents desire a “Family-Centric” advisor in addition to an “Investment-Centric” advisor.

What benefits or outcomes does Story Family Institute seek with its Family Service offering?

Story Family Institute uses specific strategies to engage the entire family in unique exercises designed to successfully achieve the following outcomes. (Please note: these 6 outcomes are only a representative sample of the 20+ outcomes sought in our consultative process):

  • Bring the family together once a year for fun and purposeful family meetings which raise awareness of and respect for the unique differences within the family that can be collectively bound together to make the family stronger.
  • Participate in lifetime, pre-inheritance skill-development experiences with one’s children such as managing a modern directed trust, or running their own Donor Advised Fund, or organizing a mission trip for the entire family, or running a component of the family bank, or something as simple as mastering the basics of budgeting, cash flow management, and bill paying.
  • Eradicate the age-old failures of traditional trust and estate planning (which tend to create a beneficiary mindset of self-interest, resentment, dependence, and entitlement) with feelings of empowerment, appreciation, and stewardship for future generations.
  • Downplay the traditional definition of “financial” capital by discussing development and protection of the family’s “human” capital by creating structures that foster identification of shared values.
  • Explore and document family roots to better understand the shoulders upon which the current generations stand.  Through discovery of the past generational sacrifice which has blessed current generations, most families discover that honoring the past is a way to supplant an attitude of entitlement with an attitude of gratitude and a deepened sense of responsibility to supporting future generations.
  • Create both an individual and a family philanthropic vision which brings focus to the needs of others outside the immediate family. Sharing philanthropic ambitions creates a rewarding foundation for establishing common ground between the generations.

These are lofty outcomes, yet each of them are fully achievable provided our client family is willing to invest quality time and money in a collaborative process of guided discovery experiences with Story Family Institute.

As in all aspects of life, there are no guarantees of success in seeking to do something great. However, there is a great risk of failure by doing nothing.  Rivers take the path of least resistance. As such, they terminate at their lowest point. It is tempting to take the same path in life. However, if one has the grit and determination to build a dam, the meandering river is interrupted and collected as stored energy behind the dam. Story Family Institute clients lean into the risks and opportunities of creating something great within their families to store up energy* and more effectively steward the financial and non-financial resources they or their family have amassed.  

Many of us relate to money as an indicator of affection.  Money, while associated with love, is only an echo of affection. Interpersonal engagement, communication, building something of enduring value together with our family is hard but rewarding work. It is a worthy endeavor to draw parents and adult children into fellowship over what matters most. This work is about more than the money; it is about family survival, in spite of the money.

*Examples of stored energy: Financial Capital, Social Capital, Human Capital, Values Awareness, Heritage Awareness, Family Mission Awareness, Gratitude, and Stewardship.

This piece is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be seen as a recommendation.