One of the most critical decisions a family can make is whom to entrust with the financial resources needed for current and future generations. This choice is not entirely a rational financial decision. It is also about who can best take care of the family in a personal sense. Families turn to wealth managers not just to oversee their money but for skilled guidance about how best to use wealth, handle relationships within the family, plan for children’s and grandchildren’s futures, and deal with succession and family leadership. Asking these questions may confuse or scare off advisors whose primary skills are financial, not emotional or interpersonal. These questions may also be labeled “not our business” by the firms employing those advisors. Yet serving a family’s broader needs is a critical process. It not only optimizes the use of wealth within a family, it is the mark of the truly comprehensive and integrated wealth management firm. Increasingly, both the front-line wealth advisor and the wealth management firm must know how to help families in these crucial areas in order to be granted the privilege of managing family wealth across generations.
By Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. and James Grubman, Ph.D.
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