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How to Pursue Your Family Purpose (And Why You Should)

How Your Family’s Mission, Vision and Values Can Make You Wealthy and Fulfilled

Wealth is a means to an end – living a great life. Successful families work hard to build wealth, not for the sake of achieving some number on a balance sheet, but because they want the wealth to support their family life.

As a family’s wealth grows, it is easy to get consumed by the numbers: from taxes to balance sheets to interest income, etc.  There comes a point when it may be a good time to take a step back and reflect on the why – your family purpose – to assess whether your wealth and hard work are helping you to achieve a greater purpose in life.

What is Family Purpose?

A family purpose serves as a framework to help guide family decisions. It helps ensure that your family’s hard work and wealth helps you live your best life, however, you may envision it.

Developing your family purpose is a process that requires time, reflection, dialogue between family members, the sharing of family stories, and a willingness to listen.

A family purpose is comprised of:

  • Family mission: Who we are and what we are about.
  • Family vision: Where we want to go and how we will get there.
  • Family values: The values that have guided us in the past and that will shape our future.

Why Develop Your Family Purpose?

Developing your family purpose is a process that requires time, reflection, dialogue between family members, the sharing of family stories, and a willingness to listen. When families develop their family purpose:

  • They create unity and cohesion among family members, especially among the generations.
  • They develop clarity about who they are, what they value and where they’re going.
  • They gain greater peace of mind because they focus on the big picture.

Families that develop their purpose allow them to focus on the things that are most important to them. It also helps them confidently utilize their resources to help achieve their purpose.

[Editor’s Note: For more on this subject, read “Solving Familial Business Issues: Putting the ‘Family’ in Family Business.”]

5 Ways to Help Pursue Your Family Purpose

Here are 5 ways to use your wealth to pursue your family purpose and live a great life:

1. Spend quality time with your family

Use your wealth to spend more quality time with family. This may mean transitioning a business earlier in order to do so, or simply being more intentional about setting up family gatherings, vacations or retreats.

2. Pass on the family legacy to future generations

Legacy is very important to most families. Successful families typically accumulate their wealth through hard work, risk-taking, and discipline.   But the challenge that many families face is that, as the generations continue, the values and character that gave rise to the wealth, seem like a distant memory.  Become intentional in passing on the family legacy through telling stories and sharing memories.

3. Make an impact

Families are often very generous and want to give back.  But no two families do this the same way.  Many families choose to give back, to make an impact on their world, based on their values and experiences.  How families choose to give back and impact the world is typically tied back to the family mission.

4. Prioritize health and wellness to live a long and healthy life

All the money in the world can’t buy health and longevity.  Families should prioritize health and wellness to lead longer, more active and fulfilled lives.  Ultimately, your families well-being is your greatest asset!

5. Give the next generation the opportunity to take risks

Many families who have accumulated wealth did so by taking risks and being disciplined. This is why some families have made it a priority to support future generations in ventures that were not possible for them on their own. For some young people, this might mean joining or even starting a venture capital firm. For others, this might mean a tech start-up. For many families, this hearkens back to a spirit of entrepreneurship and risk-taking that gave rise to their wealth in the first place.

Many families who have accumulated wealth did so by taking risks and being disciplined. Click To Tweet

I encourage you to look beyond the numbers to help you define your family purpose.  What are the things most important to you and your family?  How can you use your wealth to provide the flexibility to pursue these passions?

[Editor’s Note: If you liked this article by Robert Legan, check out another article by him, “Recognizing Tipping Points to Keep Family Wealth in the Family,” ]

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About Robert Legan

Robert Legan leads Whitnell’s Family Office Services practice, serving as a strategic advisor for families to help preserve, grow, and transfer family wealth. Robert is passionate about helping families navigate the complexities that come with wealth and collaborating with family members and advisors to implement integrated solutions.

View all articles by Robert »

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