The process of creating a “Wealth Mission” provides the perfect training ground for families to practice their listening and communication skills; it deepens trust, urges accountability and encourages consensus-building across all generations of the family.
It is a powerful exercise to enable a family to reach effective decisions together, manage conflicts before they arise and create a cross-generational agreement on the purpose and goal for the family’s wealth.
Each family has a distinctive way of expressing their own philosophy. Common to all families is a focus upon the happiness of each individual within the family. More sophisticated families will focus on the preservation and growth of the family’s two primary sources of capital: human and financial.
A family must look to the future and agree on a shared objective for the family’s wealth. This is best done, by reaching cross-generational consensus on the goal for the family’s wealth at least four generations from today.
A successful family will identify a unique set of values, which define its world-view and the principles by which family members choose to live. If a family has the courage to examine the qualities it wishes to uphold, the process is energizing, unifying and deeply fulfilling to all members of the family.
A Wealth Mission must clearly establish the system by which a family makes decisions. Every family that successfully transitions wealth through multiple generations not only agrees on a system by which it governs itself, but all members agree on the benefit of this system for long-term wealth preservation.
When a family considers timeframes in terms of generations, then 100 years, or approximately four generations, is the minimum focus every family should have for all aspects of its planning and each part of the Family Wealth Mission.
Wealth naturally creates challenges which must be assessed and mitigated. These include assessing the roles and responsibilities of each child, agreeing how wealth is transitioned per capita and per stirpes to future generations and managing the introduction of spouses into the dynamics of the family.
The history of a family is contained in its stories. They constitute the very fabric of the family and serve as a point of unity, pride and identity. When stories – and certain secrets – are shared, it can be enormously liberating and productive in terms of creating harmonious family relations.