From Gowdie Family Wealth (AUS) –
‘What do you think is the major concern of wealthy families?’
I posed this question to several people (who shall remain nameless), and the reply was, ‘Wondering what they will spend all their money on.’
It was a witty response, but they are — as a group — fairly serious.
Discussing family wealth issues — outside of a select group of likeminded people — is too difficult.
To paraphrase John Gray’s bestseller, ‘Custodians of wealth are from Mars and consumers of wealth are from Venus’.
Recently, my family and I were guests of Bill and Elizabeth Bonner at their home in the south of France.
One night, while enjoying a local red, we were deep in discussion about markets, the economy and family wealth challenges. It dawned on me that this type of conversation is the exception rather than the rule.
Is it just the people I mix with?
I asked Bill, ‘Do you discuss these issues within your social circle?’
Bill’s reply, delivered with a smile, was, ‘No.’
Taking a generational view to wealth is not standard in our society. Most people do not have the luxury of thinking that far in advance, nor the capital. And those who do often find the topic too difficult or too thorny to deal with.
The role of custodian can be a lonely one…until there is engagement from the next generation.