Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes
In Courtney Pullen’s book, “Intentional Family Wealth: How Families Build Legacies of Stewardship and Financial Health,” he offers readers a candid look at how they can succeed with money for generations to come.
He writes that while “it is certainly true that wealth can foster a sense of entitlement, dissatisfaction, and dysfunction. It is equally true that wealth can foster responsibility, stewardship, and satisfaction.”
While there are a variety of ways that you can create a legacy of financial health, from creating shared family values to fostering open communication and focusing on future generations, it begs the question: how will you know when you’ve been successful?
Here are five markers of success for affluent families creating intentional family wealth.
1. Family members live life as responsible, resilient adults.
You’ll know you’ve been successful when your children no longer depend on you to support them. That doesn’t mean you no longer provide them with anything, as financial gifts and inheritance will vary by situation, but it means they don’t need it or rely on it to get by.
This can be difficult for affluent families as children often grow up knowing that money is no barrier in their wealthy family. Left unchecked, this can develop into a sense of entitlement around money. Avoid this dependency by communicating openly with future generations about what this money will and will not provide for them. Also, discuss the importance of work and earning your keep, and come together around what that means in your family.
2. You know who you are and what is important to you, and you use money to support those passions.
Money is simply a tool you can use to live the life you desire. By building a healthy relationship around money, your family can use that money to support passions and spend time doing the things you love.
Alternatively, if you are unclear about what’s important to you, and have not discussed a shared vision with your family, no amount of money will get you where you want to go. Therefore, it is essential to discuss with your family what is important to you and what you would like to use your money to pursue.
3. Your family enjoys wealth and appreciates the advantages it brings to your lives.
Another sign of success is when your family enjoys and appreciates the advantages that wealth can bring. For some, this may mean choosing to pursue lower-paying but more meaningful work, taking an extended period to volunteer, or providing college tuition for future generations.
Each family’s goals and dreams with money will be unique, but the critical marker is that money and spending align with your family’s goals. Above all else, it’s about gratitude for your position.
Pullen writes, “It’s living with a sense of gratitude for those advantages: not having to struggle to pay the bills, being able to easily travel and enjoy other experiences, being free from worry about the financial future, having the ability to have luxurious things if you want them, knowing you can afford whatever medical care you might need, and being able to pursue whatever career paths and interests appeal to you.”
4. Family members aren’t ashamed of having wealth and aren’t proud of it for its own sake, either.
It is a delicate balance, and successful families know that having wealth does not make them better or worse than families that don’t have it. It’s an understanding that “your net worth is not your self-worth,” Pullen writes.
An excellent way for families to navigate this delicate balance is to communicate that while money is important and should be managed wisely, it’s not the end all be all. Again, money is just a tool, not a measuring device to determine our worth.
5. Current and future generations accept the responsibility of managing wealth with conscious attention rather than using it destructively or carelessly.
Last, successful families building a legacy of intentional wealth pass on more than money: they pass on shared values. One essential value is stewardship—the understanding that they’re managing money for themselves and generations to come.
The best way to instill this in future generations is through modeling and open communication. Show future generations what careful stewardship looks like. Let them join you as you meet with investment advisers who help manage your wealth. Discuss how you evaluate different opportunities and why you manage money the way you do. And lastly, show them what you value with money. Why is money important to you, and how do you choose to spend it? By having these discussions with future generations, you can instill a sense of shared purpose and financial stewardship around family wealth.
TrueNorth Wealth is here to help.
If you’re interested in working with a fiduciary CFP® professional to help outline your family financial plan, complete with a custom investment portfolio to deliver your financial goals, then TrueNorth Wealth is here to help.
TrueNorth Wealth is a fee-only (no commission) Wealth Management firm in Utah and Idaho, with offices in Salt Lake City, Logan, St. George, and Boise. At TrueNorth Wealth, we focus on helping our clients build and secure wealth. We do this with an academically sound money management philosophy and by taking every opportunity to deploy intelligent tax strategies. We pair each client with a dedicated CFP® professional, or financial advisor backed by a very intelligent team.
For our team at TrueNorth, it’s about so much more than money. It’s about serving families all across Utah and helping them achieve freedom and flexibility in their lives. To learn more or schedule a no-cost consultation, visit our website at TrueNorth Wealth or call (801) 316-1875.