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January 7, 2018

Top 10 Questions for Families with Wealth

Family is important.
We can agree with that sentence as family relationships nudge, bump. poke at our course in life. You have heard the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. I would add, "family relationships." Many factors shape family relationships and money is one of them. Both when it is abundant and when it is scarce, money is key in shaping family relationships.
Money and its impact causes problems in family relationships. Who gets the money? Who receives the information about the family's wealth? Who actually has the control over that wealth - is it really family wealth or one person's wealth?
Tough questions that many choose to skip with resulting drama that fills movie scripts but also real lives.
Money also brings the opportunity to discover what money means to a family. It can be an open discussion to discover how a family can work together and clarify their thinking about the purpose of the money.
Family
What is money's purpose? What does money mean to the family?
Rather than divide the family, money can have a beneficial affect on bringing together a family and have a surprisingly beneficial effect on family dynamics. Relationships can be cemented.
In fact, the hardest issues facing families are usually not the money but the family relationship based and family based. You can begin to set a positive family dynamic by asking yourself questions and your family members these probing questions about finances and philanthropy.
In my experience, there are questions to get the process started. You can pose these top ten questions to each of your family members. What is most important is to listen and observe how family members respond is more important than the answers.

  1. What challenges do we face in regards to our family and to our money?
  2. What is our vision for our family's future?
  3. What is our family's definition of success?
  4. What principles will guide our decisions about asset allocation?
  5. What has been our experience of the family working together?
  6. How do we prepare our children to steward a financial inheritance?
  7. Should we bring our son or daughter in law into the conversation on finances and philanthropy?
  8. What are our core philanthropy interests and how did these become so important to us?
  9. How may we enable the next generation to create a shared dream with a family foundation while also fulfilling the founder's vision?
  10. How do we promote a togetherness while also promoting the individualism of each family member?


What do you think of these questions? Are there any more that you would add?

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