Our nation has a mixed view on the morality of keeping wealth in the family. Most of us want our children and grandchildren to have a better life than we do, yet many Americans turn up their noses at the uber rich trust fund babies – people with third generation (or more) wealth.
Some believe that to keep America being the ‘land of opportunity’, it is necessary to strip the wealthy of money and make it available to those less fortunate. Some even want big government to enforce that view – with programs to address things like ‘income inequality’.
Very few of us want to see a caste system develop here, where your birth family determines your station in life. No matter the reality, we want to believe that each new baby has a chance to become a Bill Gates, Warren Buffett or a US president.
Maybe it is a good thing, then, that most wealth is dispersed before the end of the 3rd generation of the creator. Riches to rags in three generations or shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations – there are a number of popular expressions that attest to the commonality of the condition.
What if, though, a family could continually grow and thrive, with wealth creators in each generation. Doesn’t building a base of financial and personal assets in each family generation make sense in support of providing increasing opportunities, not only to family members, but to the ever widening circle of associates, partners, shareholders and employees around them?
Personally, I love rags to riches stories – and they abound in our literature. But what of those families, like mine, that work hard, save well and build wealth over time? One generation continually provides a step up for the next. The story isn’t one of a single shooting star, but of multiple family members earning and growing resources which they share with the next generation. How do they do it? What is the secret to their legacy of wealth building across generations? Continue reading