What happened to the Family Wealth?
1982 – Forbes’ List of the 400 richest people in America is published.
1995 – Only 43 of the original listed are still on the list! Less than 11%.
Answer: Lack of education as to the dynamics of the preservation of the wealth through each generation. Of the transition failures noted, a full 60% were due to “a breakdown of communications and trust within the family unit”; 25% were due to a failure to prepare the heirs, i.e. establishing family values and developing healthy individual attitudes towards wealth and responsibility; and 15% were attributed to tax considerations, legal issues, and lack of a mission. Family wealth, however you define it, whether it be worth five figures or fifteen figures, probably won’t survive the third generational transfer unless a conscious effort by the older generation to engage the successive generation with an attitude that combines “qualitative and quantitative techniques to make more positive than negative decisions regarding the employment of their human, intellectual, and financial capital. 1
1. Source: Offshore Investment Magazine #246 May 2014, Article by Christian Stewart including footnotes by reference.
You’ve probably heard about Lottery winners that won a jackpot worth millions of dollars and were dead broke within three years on average. The main cause is a lack of financial discipline and avoiding the pitfalls that sudden wealth begets. Most families that have great wealth have an ongoing plan to educate the new generations about how the income is being produced, how it is preserved, and how it is dispersed. The families of Rothschild, Rockefeller, Walton, Getty, Trump, Kennedy, Busch, Windsor(Elizabeth II), Saud, DuPont, and many more, have instituted a means to successfully transition control of the income producing assets, i.e. “the family business” or businesses that comprise the Family Wealth from one generation to the next in order to create a dynasty that is capable of surviving a century or longer.
Proper entity structuring and jurisdictional considerations are a must, but also a proper mission to focus your efforts.
…………………………………..To your Increased Wealth,
May your Fortune be a Blessing.
Until next time, yours truly,