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.
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:
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:
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.”]
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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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.
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