How Family Meetings Can Help Preserve Family Wealth Into the Future
To make sure that wealth is transferred successfully down through the generations, you should have a plan in place to ensure values around money are aligned within the family.
What is the best way to ensure this? Open communication, achieved through regular, thoughtful family meetings.
We know it’s not always easy to sit down with the family and discuss wealth. However, there are ways you can break this process down into achievable steps. We’re also always on hand at Entrust Wealth Partners to help with the planning and organization of these meetings. We can even help moderate.
In this post, we’ll go through what a phased approach to family meetings can look like and why it may make sense for you to seek expert advice.
Family meetings give an opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions about the family’s financial direction. It also gives you the opportunity for you to share history, instill values, and discuss any challenges you see cropping up in the future.
Family meetings allow you to educate the younger generations, so they can one day manage family wealth.
When everyone is financially literate and aligned with regard to values around money and the financial plan, it’s more likely family wealth will be preserved into the future. There’s also a higher chance the family will be able to transition through changes in a more harmonious way.
As we’ve touched on, it’s not always easy to sit down with family and discuss hard financials or the ins and outs of your succession plan. In some cases, your family members may not even be ready to receive that kind of information.
That’s why we suggest going into it with a step-by-step approach that allows you to build up to a point where you feel comfortable sharing the details of your wealth and your plan.
Here are 5 steps you can take to plan your family meeting strategy:
1. Decide on your goals and vision
2. Educate your family members
3. Share your financial path and history
4. When you’re ready, share your wealth plan
5. Hold regular family meetings
Before diving into conversations and opening yourself up to the thoughts and opinions of family members, you should first get clear on your vision. This means how you expect your wealth and assets to be managed in the future and the strategy you want to take.
You should think clearly about what your financial values are. Then, when you do hold family meetings, you’ll feel confident transmitting these across.
To help you get to this point, you might like to ask yourself the following questions:
- How much of my wealth do I want to share and who do I want to share it with?
- How do I want my heirs to manage the family's wealth?
- What kind of family dynamics are at play that I should take into consideration?
- Do I need a financial advisor to help with meetings regarding wealth from the outset?
Before sharing your wealth plan, it helps to know that your family members and younger generations are educated on financial matters. This will give you the confidence to include them in the wealth planning journey.
It’s never too young to start learning about finances in an age-appropriate way, so you should encourage this in both your children and grandchildren.
A wealth advisor can also help you by explaining what it is you should be educating your family members on, or speaking with your children directly to help them learn.
If you have not already shared your financial story in detail with your family, you should do so before discussing the details of your wealth plan at a family meeting.
This provides them with context to your past decisions, what your values are around money, and how you see the family wealth being shepherded into the future.
Sharing your journey will normally involve going through opportunities you were given, challenges you have faced, successes you had, and the knowledge you’ve gained along the way.
The moment you decide to delve into the details of your wealth plan will depend on a number of factors, some of those being personal.
However, a good time to share is when your family members have enough education and/or experience to properly understand the information you are sharing and the implications of that information. You should also go over the details of your plan when you feel your family understands your values and vision for the future.
Financial plans are not set in stone and can change according to many factors like market conditions, health issues, or even just a change of heart.
In order to keep lines of communication open and avoid misunderstandings, you should meet regularly with your family. These meetings should be well planned and the agenda should be shared beforehand so that everyone has time to prepare and can get the most out of the meeting.
Holding regular, productive family meetings is not always an easy task. There are often family dynamics at play and when you add financial matters to the mix, more complexities can arise.
Therefore, your approach to planning and organizing family meetings should be well-thought-out. Reaching out to an advisor to guide you through this process is often helpful. This impartial person can offer you guidance and help you see what you should be considering but perhaps have not yet.
At Entrust Wealth Partners, we can offer you bespoke advice about getting started with planning and establishing family meetings. Contact your advisor today or reach out to us at (860) 838-3730.