Wealth education for very affluent families should be customized to each family member’s needs. In our experience, each of our client families has very different areas in which they wish to grow their knowledge and understanding. A significant part of our time is spent one-on-one with our clients making sure that the client understands not only what our recommendations are, but also the background and assumptions behind our advice.
We view client relationships as long-term partnerships. We want our clients to fully understand what we are doing, from how their money is invested to what the personal ramifications might be of our family wealth planning advice. For example, we prefer our clients to be deeply involved in developing their investment philosophies and resulting expectations. Knowledgeable people are more likely to be able to handle the inevitable ups and downs of the investment and business environment, family relationships and life.
Given the wide range of experience within our firm, we are able to offer personalized training on a broad range of topics. For example, one of our senior officers frequently works with our clients on such topics as raising children in affluent families. Others work with clients’ school age children to develop budgeting and basic investment skills. Much of our client education is handled one-on-one because much of what we do is very personal to each family or each adult family member. Of course, we can recommend conferences and other educators when desired.
As the number of family members grows, it can be helpful to develop governance mechanisms. Although the objectives vary, these structures frequently serve a role in enhancing relationships, reaching consensus on issues of mutual concern, furthering the family’s mission and values, educating members on matters of mutual interest, and improving communication.
From informal family meetings to formal family councils, we can work with family members to develop an appropriate governance structure and operating rules. We can assist in developing agendas and coordinating, leading and participating in these functions.