“Shirtsleeves” refers to a very real danger. But by starting with scare tactics, what sort of responses do we trigger in family leaders? The myth proposes that family fortunes dissipate over generations, further suggesting that the failure lies with the heirs. It implies that second and third generations of a family are lazy and unmotivated and use up the fruits of their elders. On its face, it is really demeaning to the younger generations. By implication, it suggests that wealth creators have the higher virtue and they need to use their wisdom to set up structures like conditional trusts to “take care” of these obviously less noble and deficient heirs. What’s the problem? Isn’t this prudent foresight?
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