Wealth and Families
Many families who have built or inherited wealth worry that their wealth will hurt their families, destroy their children's motivation to work, or contribute to dysfunction in the lives of their grandchildren. There is good reason to fear this: there are many public and private stories of spoiled children, wasted lives, and serious alcohol and drug abuse associated with young people who have always had whatever they wanted-at least materially. In fact, a new disease, "affluenza," has been identified, as a result of the rapid growth of wealth that accompanied the economic boom of the '80s.
In my work with families of wealth and family-owned businesses, I have heard the concerns and fears of parents and grandparents, I have witnessed the sad waste of lives to alcohol and drug addiction and I have worked with young people who are trying to find meaning and self-esteem when they have never been called upon to "flex their own muscles." During the course of my work with families over the last 30 years, I have observed how healthy families help to perpetuate strong emotional bonds, encourage self-worth and cultivate the values that lead to constructive lives. I have worked with families to overcome the greed, entitlement and jealousy which can ruin families, and I have helped to identify and cultivate family practices that encourage productive lives and constructive use of family assets.
So our work with families of wealth focuses on gaining clarity about goals, dreams and direction, helping individuals and families develop plans, structure and access to a range of resources to accomplish the goals and dreams. We help families look at how to perpetuate those value and legacies that have contributed to strength, while overcoming the issues and residue which can be found in the wake of accumulating or mismanaging wealth. The process of assessment and planning described in services for family businesses is similar to those services offered to families of wealth.