Wisdom, Family Values, Money…if you could only leave two of these things to your children, which ones would they be? We’ve all heard of Estate Planning, but how about “Heritage Planning?” Today, and for the next few weeks, I’d like to talk to you about Heritage Planning.
PROVERBS 20:21 (NASB)
An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning will not be bless in the end.
A great poet once said: “Every parent wishes they knew how to give their children the hardships that made them successful.” These words strike a chord with all of us who have seen the problems that can occur with the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next.
According to a U.S. Trust Survey of Affluent Americans, a majority of the nation’s wealthiest parents are worried about the potential negative impact of their affluence on their children. They have good reason to worry: six out of ten families lose their family money by the end of the second generation. By the end of the third generation, nine out of ten affluent families will not only lose their financial assets, but often their family unity too. This has been true for centuries.
What are the causes of this three-generation disaster? A recent study asked, “if you lose all of your assets in one day, what do you think will be the cause?” Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they thought that it would be some combination of bad investments and poor planning. To the contrary, when another study asked 3,250 people who actually had lost their money what the cause was, only five percent said it was poor planning and investments! An overwhelming sixty percent said it was lack of communication and trust in the family, while another twenty-five percent said unprepared heirs were to blame.
I work with a proven process developed over several decades by researchers who asked: if nine out of ten families fail when it comes to maintaining their family unity and their assets for multiple generations, what are the successful 10% doing so differently? As you might suppose, communication and trust play a big role. The results of their research relates to the successful “Heritage Process” that has been experienced by thousands of families, from average income earners to billionaires. This process works for all people at all income levels because, as studies and long experience prove, planning for the successful future of your family is very different than planning for the successful future of your assets. With Heritage Planning, you don’t need to choose between passing down wisdom, family values, or money. With proper preparation, you don’t have to compromise any of the things that are important to you.
Next week I will pose some very thought provoking questions. In the meantime, if you would like to learn what this process might look like in your own unique situation, and how it can positively impact your family today and for generations to come, please feel free to contact me or write in the comment section below.