Guest contributor Wendy Rogers is a third-generation family business owner and corporate director with 25 years of experience. Wendy brings special insight to family businesses on how to facilitate stewardship and reach their family goals.
My grandfather started a feed and seed business in 1935 in rural South Georgia, out of a desire to help save or protect the crops of his friends and neighbors. Over the course of the next 70 years, the family business grew into one of the largest off patent crop protection chemical companies in the world. When our family made the decision to sell the family business to a Fortune 50 company, we found ourselves in the business of strategic wealth management and generational wealth transfer. We began to focus on preservation and growth of not only financial assets but also spiritual, human, relational and philanthropic Kingdom capital.
Shifting the Focus
No matter the account size, legacy and generosity are two key tenets that should ignite conversations around a family’s wealth plan. Advisors have the unique positions to be able to guide the conversation and help uncover the true goals for the family. By gaining insight into the outcomes these families are aiming for and the obstacles that might get in the way of this path, advisors can help guide the desired outcomes and build the plan for their clients to achieve these.
Key 1: Guiding Legacy Beyond Wealth
First of all, let’s take a look at legacy. Legacy is something that will happen, whether the client intentionally shapes it or not. Planned legacy helps preserve family stories and lessons learned. It curates the intangible assets to pass on to the next generation.
As an advisor, are you in on these discussions? Are you hearing about them and /or encouraging them? For example, what are your clients passionate about? Each family has different issues that they care about. Have a process to help them excavate what “pricks their heart.” By navigating these questions, the advisor will be able to start planting the seeds of a lasting family legacy.
Key 2: Intentional Generosity
Secondly, part of building a family wealth plan is intentional generosity. Legacy giving is not merely the giving away of wealth after death. Instead, it can also be the investment of time, talent, and treasure now, for impactful giving. Planned generosity means pushing clients to intentionality in solving local and even world issues that the family is passionate about.
Your clients should make promises and plans based on their income and portfolio growth. A family cannot give what they do not have, so that must be the foundation of their approach. They need to understand both cash and non-cash strategies and give from the overall picture.
Unlocking a client’s family giving potential takes time and is a complex process. As the advisor, you get to help your clients identify the legacy they want to leave and the generosity they want to model and instill in the next generation. Many advisors can be too limited in their view, focused on their own revenue stream. Transformational service has you in the middle encouraging and journeying with your client. When you help clients create and consistently execute a plan, next generations may well choose to partner with you for many years to come.