We have captured the conversations we commonly encounter with a family patriarch, to help you consider whether this work is right for you.
A meaningful life
I don’t think I’ll ever really fully retire, but I am at the stage of life where I have started to think more about the future. It raises a complex set of questions that can’t be answered by simply drawing up a will. What will happen to the business and our properties? What do my wife and I want for our children? What can we leave to our grandchildren?
We have four kids in their 20’s. They are also at a transitional stage of life, getting married and starting families of their own. I want to feel that I have given them something useful. Their legacy should be more than just assets; I would like to ensure that I have passed on my knowledge and values. Ideally, they will go on to create something for themselves. We want to enable them to achieve their dreams and have a fulfilled, meaningful life.
I came from a working class background and I spent my life building the business from the ground up. My vision is that the children will build the business in their own way but that may not be their vision. Ultimately, I want my kids to take interest in my life’s work and make it their life’s work. My worst fear is that our wealth becomes divisive or a burden on the family one day.
I was concerned how to treat my family fairly when they are not all equal. The four kids have varied skills sets. Two are involved in the business. One of the kids has health issues and will need more financial help. One of the sons has two children and I want to fund their education. One of my daughters has a very successful business and doesn’t need financial help.
I spent a few years tinkering with a family constitution. We talked to our accountant, lawyer and financial advisor and ended up with a plan but because I hadn’t fully involved the rest of the family, they had no buy in and therefore, no commitment to my vision.
I realised that in order to create something everyone was committed to, we were going to have to tackle it together. I asked my daughter to be involved and ultimately take responsibility for the family’s resources. She felt that she needed some guidance and found the team at Momentum.
I was wary of taking on more advice. I have paid a multitude of advisors a lot of money through the years and haven’t always received the best guidance. Mostly they wanted to manage my money. What we need now is someone to focus on the family.
Engaging the family
When I met with Adam and Tiffany at Momentum they painted some scenarios around what I had planned and how my family might react. They suggested that we start by having a series of conversations to identify everyone’s needs, ambitions and goals. Aside from the emotional aspect, I respected their technical acumen as they both have solid business backgrounds.
When Tiffany and my wife met they really connected (I might be the CEO but she is the boss!). They discussed strategies for getting everyone on board, even the most challenging members of the family.
I wanted to do this for my kids, but I didn’t know how to start the conversation and honestly, I just didn’t have the time. It was much easier to have an independent person to navigate it all and having someone else lead the conversation meant there was less drama.
Not only have we achieved clarity around our family’s future we have also reconnected. I’ve been able to share my life lessons – the good and the bad – in a way that nurtures rather than controls. The kids understand more about the business and themselves and have become more supportive of one another’s goals. My children have gained a greater appreciation of how much I care about them and we have a plan for how we are going to use our family resources more effectively to help them thrive.