As a kid, I can remember the excitement of lining up at recess to begin a race and the teacher saying those exact words, “Ready, Set, Go!” We were all supposed to take a moment at the chalked starting line to get ready, set our tennis shoes in the most advantageous starting positions possible, and then run as fast as possible to win the race when the teacher said, “GO!”
Back then, I was only interested in the “Go!” The “Ready, Set” did not seem very important at all. Today the first two steps have become the most important part of my work at Your Philanthropy.
By the time our clients are ready to “Go!” a tremendous amount of work and preparation has taken place to allow for the greatest success. In fact, Tom Rogerson, a well-known wealth and philanthropy advisor, has said that it’s not about preparing the money for the family; it’s about how the family is prepared for the money.
This is especially true for families who want to teach their children how to be responsible with money and prepare them to be heirs of family money. Whether the money is first-generation or over multiple generations isn’t the main issue – neither is exactly how much money the family has to pass down. A great deal of thought, investment and time should go into getting money ready for a family to hand down to the next generation. The wealth has been protected, grown, divided and invested.
The problem comes when a family skips the first two steps and just says “GO!” In these cases, no one is really prepared, and little or no time has been spent discussing money – and all its complicated issues. In fact, we often see the next generation learn about it when it’s too late to discuss. Preparing the family does take time – just like it takes time to prepare a body for running a race. You wouldn’t run a marathon without a great deal of training ahead of time.
The difference the training makes may be the difference in how quickly the money slips through the fingers of the next generation or two. In our work at Your Philanthropy, we call it “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves.” The first generation creates the money; the second inherits the money; the third really enjoys the money; and the fourth laments the loss. That leaves the fifth generation with a short-lived legacy and the arduous task of starting all over.
On Tuesday, October 8, at 7:30 p.m., we would love for you to join us at Willow Brook Country Club for dessert and to hear from Tom Rogerson as he shares his own personal story of being fourth generation, lamenting the loss of great family wealth, and what’s he’s doing with his own children to change the long-term outcome. Tom will also talk about working with families so their children don’t wind up in the same place he is now. Tom is encouraging, funny and smart. He has great ideas he will share about how he’s teaching his own children about family and giving at all levels of wealth.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you would like a place at the table with us. If you have already contacted us, we have your reservation and look forward to seeing you there.