In this, our final Strategic Review, Will explores what he believes is the single most important part of the family office project. Without this critical thing, nothing else really matters. But if your family has it, pretty much everything else can fall into place… Joey McLiney discusses the different stages of family office development from family business to empire… Dr. Joanne Stern writes about how easily the trappings of wealth can take over the lives of the rich and cause the neglect of family relationships… Eric Marshall shares different tax-advantaged strategies for funding your kids’ and grandkids’ education. And Ronan McMahon offers advice on how to evaluate a critical part of any real estate deal: the developer.
A successful family office is a learning machine. The lessons learned from trial and error about what works in a particular business or investing niche are passed on from one generation to the next. So, instead of starting from scratch in each generation, Old Money families build on the success of the previous generations.
The next generation needs to be sure to leverage whatever advantages the first generation has been able to create. They need to learn to use the “secret sauce” that powers the family enterprise. That’s how the ultra-wealthy multigenerational families do it. They stick to their knitting…
Wealthy families have two very simple goals: Stay wealthy and stay happy. All a family that has already achieved both really needs to do is keep things going.
Successful families merely stick with the formula that works, for generations, by passing along the right family office values. This month’s message is simple: Don’t rock the boat in your investments or your family. Stick to what works.
Last month, we zeroed in on communication between family members around the holidays as being a key to preserving wealth. In my essay this month, I give the inside scoop on my family’s Christmas celebrations. And I explain why we didn’t end up having the scheduled family office meeting after all… But what we did instead achieved a lot of our objectives in a much more fun and inclusive way.
After writing my essay this month and reading those of my colleagues, I can safely say that the holidays come down to one thing for family offices: communication. It sounds cliché, but it couldn’t be more true. This one thing is more important to preserving family wealth for generations than anything else. And the holidays represent the biggest opportunity of the year for your family members to communicate with one another.