Are You Leaving a Fraction of What You Could?
Sure, you will leave a bunch of money but how much of a difference will it make?
It will improve the lifestyle of people who, for the most part, are already very comfortable. I’m not suggesting it’s wrong to do this. But consider how much better your family’s future could be if this was a minor outcome rather than a primary outcome simply by default. Is it possible to give your family much more by giving them less?
Unfortunately, most people have a short time horizon when it comes to their family’s future. I believe this is primarily because it is the only approach they have seen. It is assumed that an inheritance is our birthright and part of our task is to use it up before we are gone and hopefully make sure we leave a similar present for the next generation. Statistics show that 90% of a high net worth family’s assets will be consumed within three generations; it seems the focus is more on consumption than the next generations. Although tragic, the greater tragedy is the reason – the values and principles that led to the wealth being created were never captured and passed on. Wealth is passed on in lieu of the skills to create wealth! What a loss.
Was dying meant to be final? I don’t think so. It certainly was not thought to be in ancient times. Jewish kings David and his son Solomon wrote down their principles of success and we still have them today. Ancient societies would pass their life lessons to the next generations around campfires. Little material wealth may have been passed but the skill set to succeed was passed to those who wanted it. By doing so, the values, principles and vision of earlier generations lived on, and so did the legacy of these leaders. In essence, they continued to live on.
Is it possible to give your family much more by giving them less?
Why does each generation need to reinvent the wheel? Our self-made, independent, North American lifestyle results in each generation basically starting over. Out of ignorance, we make the same mistakes of past generations and miss the incredible wisdom from the life lessons of those generations. There is a much better way.
Truly great families recognize that ignoring their mortality will not keep them from death, it will just keep their progeny from starting on the platform they left. They know they must be proactive to create a different future. These families talk about their life lessons and mistakes that have led to their success. They give family the freedom to enjoy the rewards of diligence and hard work, and they inspire them to grow the family assets and wisdom for multiple generations. They give the gift of vision and the opportunity for future generations to enjoy the satisfaction of investing in their life well. They have a long-time horizon. They pass ideas and values fueled by their money. In doing so, the accomplishments of their life need never die. They pass this gift to future generations as well.
Multiply your legacy and that of your heirs. Give them the ability to create wealth rather than just giving them money. Position them to have a major advantage in life, by starting on the platform you leave and not having to start low on the learning curve. Give them the freedom to enjoy their position of privilege but also the gift of responsibility to steward the family’s wealth. Inspire and challenge the next generations and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they will leave their heirs and the world a better place.