This section will feature articles, inspirational stories, and conversations with entrepreneurs within our own family. This feature will highlight creating generational wealth through entrepreneurship, investing, and strategic planning. The first article in this series will be a reprint from a January 2015 interview the Tampa Planning Group conducted with Mr. Doug Eze of Largo Financial Services in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Does your family desire to build wealth and leave a legacy for generations to come? If you answered “yes,” then you are not alone. Many people sincerely want to transition from their current financial status to a stronger, healthier financial state for themselves and their families; however, they don’t know where to start. Even for those who are improving and growing their personal financial wealth, it can be challenging to determine how to get their family (immediate and extended) on the same page. What’s the missing link? Wealthy families use financial meetings as the catalyst to bring everyone together to: discuss financial goals and money management challenges, educate family members, and make collaborative decision on the best financial strategies to implement. The majority of American families have family meetings only once a situation arises that requires immediate attention (e.g. a death in the family, the need for home care assistance for a parent with health challenges, a change that has grossly impacted the family business in a negative way, etc.). At Largo Financial Services, we strongly believe that holding family meetings before situations arise that cause your family to make decisions in crisis-mode is critical to building and maintaining wealth. As a key factor in creating generational wealth, family financial meetings may include topics such as family values, wealth building strategies, asset allocation, asset protection, inheritance planning, philanthropy and future goals. Wealthy families make it a habit to hold family meetings every six to 12 months. We encourage you to implement this wealth building strategy within your own family.
7 Tips for Running Your Family Financial Meeting
1. Don’t Procrastinate
If establishing and maintaining your family wealth is really important to you, then don’t delay. Decide on a couple of possible dates to hold your first family financial meeting within the next 45 days and invite your family members to attend. Also, it’s beneficial for everyone if the family starts having these meetings before serious health issues start to develop for members of your family.
2. Pick A Comfortable Place:
Choose a comfortable place to host your family financial meeting that is on neutral ground and that will not have a lot of external distractions. Retreat centers, resorts, conference centers, or hotels in metropolitan areas are often great places to hold your family meeting. In addition to having a comfortable environment for your family to meet, the location should ideally offer access to outdoor space where family members have plenty of space to relax and engage in physical activities once the meeting has concluded. With this in mind, family reunions may be a great time for you to hold your family financial meetings.
3. Be Inclusive:
Invite all of the adult family members across as many generations as possible. Remember, family financial meetings are focused around the long-term vision for the family. We strongly encourage that you invite older children (i.e. 16 - 21 years old) to subsequent family finance meetings after the holding your first meeting so that they can attend and learn about how the family plans to build wealth. If possible, we recommend that you have separate, fun, financial literacy activities for children of the family to participate in while the adults are meeting together.
4. Set An Agenda & Determine a Facilitator for the Meeting:
Having a structured meeting will help ensure the meeting runs smoothly and makes everyone aware of what will be covered. There will normally be one or two people in the family who feel that they should lead/facilitate the family finance meeting. Make a decision about who the facilitator will be and move forward.
5. Talk About Your History:
Initiating a conversation about legacy is very important. Let a senior family member share about the family’s financial successes, struggles, choices and lessons learned. The objective is for family members to listen and gain an appreciation of what has been done in the past to help the family achieve a better quality of life, understand where they have come from and what they have inherited.
‘6. Have Open, Respectful Conversation:
Create an environment where family members feel respected. Advise family members to speak for themselves, not others. The facilitator should be vigilant in making sure that no one or two people dominate the conversation and that others are minimal interruptions.
7. Hire A Professional Financial Advisor / Referee:
When multiple generations share decision-making authority, a family’s dynamics can be complicated or delicate. Often, there is simply a need to have a financial planning expert in the room to help guide your family through different topics. An advisor’s presence can reassure all family members that they will be treated fairly and, despite their differences, they can come to some sort of agreement.
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