by Phil Buchanan, Argent Financial Group
My mother was born just prior to the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. Although only a child during this period, she quickly learned to be a good steward of finances. It was a trait that followed her for the rest of her life. It was also something that she sought to instill in my sister and me. I can now look back and realize that her teachings with regard to the honor and value of work, of the necessity of saving and investing, and of the nobility of philanthropy, were among the most important and greatest gifts she gave to me.
In a society where financial information is more readily accessible than ever, I observe many families who are not engaging their rising generations in meaningful conversations with regards to wealth, its purpose, its capacity and its stewardship. While the immediate risks of not engaging in such dialogue are limited, the longer term impacts can be quite negative.
At an appropriate age (most professionals tend to suggest between 14 and 17), children of families with means need to be brought into discussions as to the foundational beliefs and values that the family shares with regards to wealth. A basic primer on the structure (not value) of the family’s wealth situation (business interests, core portfolio holdings, royalty interests, etc.) is usually advisable at this time as well.
As children continue to demonstrate interest and maturity towards learning more, these discussions and teachings should continue. One of the greatest risks a family can take with regard to wealth is failing to educate and prepare future generations. With a bit of effort and patience along the way, you can ensure proper stewardship of wealth for generations to come.