In my experience as a wealth advisor for hundreds of high net worth families, I have found facilitating family meetings to be one of the most meaningful and impactful things I do. An effective family meeting opens up the lines of communication regarding a family’s shared values around money and wealth and can become an unforgettable family bonding experience paying dividends for many years into the future.
Taboo Topics Handled With Care
We live in a society where conversations around money and wealth tend to be intentionally ignored or are even considered taboo among even the most cohesive families. With that, it is no wonder that many families have never held a family meeting to focus on these topics. It can no doubt be uncomfortable for parents and adult children alike. That is where proper facilitation from a trusted family advisor, using the structure of a highly personalized agenda, in a comfortable meeting environment, can create an unforgettable dynamic of sharing, vulnerability, and togetherness.
At CCM, our family meetings are typically not about sharing the ins and outs of a parent or parents’ net worth with the next generation, though we can certainly do that if desired. Rather, our family meetings are typically geared toward the unveiling of family values around money, lessons learned from the past, and aspirations for the future … with a lot of laughs and sometimes tears adding depth to the conversation. Most important, we aim to create a safe space via our facilitation where family members can communicate their genuine care and appreciation for one another, the type of meaningful conversations that are often only had at the end of someone’s life.
The Right Time
While we’ve seen family meetings be extremely impactful for all different types of families, we find that families with adult children in their 20s, 30s, and 40s tend to get the most benefit from this kind of facilitated discussion. It becomes a wonderful opportunity for a parent or parents to share their story and relay the values of money stewardship that lead to a family’s wealth, in a safe and non-threatening way. The conversations often lead to a common understanding of the parents’ wishes for their family, and their wealth, in ways that foster healthy ongoing conversation and decision-making.
Because planning for a family meeting can sometimes take several months, and the meetings themselves are best hosted in-person, we encourage you to take affirmative steps now if holding a family meeting is one of your goals for 2021.
To take the first step, contact your CCM advisor or request a conversation. For more information on preparing for a family meeting, visit: carlsoncap.com/articles/you-considered-a-family-meeting/.
NOTE: The information provided in this article is intended for clients of Carlson Capital Management. We recommend that individuals consult with a professional adviser familiar with their particular situation for advice concerning specific investment, accounting, tax, and legal matters before taking any action.