Our work with clients often focuses on multi-generational wealth. Achieving the kind of success that means you’ve created wealth that – with careful management – will be part of your family for generations brings with it some unique challenges.

For many of our clients, the biggest concern is ensuring that their children can lead happy, productive, values-driven lives. The definition of financial independence for these families isn't having "enough," however that's defined. Instead, it focuses on education that leads to good decision-making, starting at a young age.

We do this for our own families – Kelly has written a recent article about the Eagle Scout Personal Management Merit Badge that articulates his belief in the value of learning financial principles. We also build it into the services we offer the families we partner with. Learning the principles of money management is how to inculcate responsibility and build healthy relationships to money.

We take a very specific approach:

  • Start early
  • Teach foundational principles that can be used as building blocks (saving, budgeting, planning)
  • As kids grow, we emphasize understanding more complicated financial topics, including investing
  • Include children in family discussions and charitable giving

We don’t just utilize our approach with clients – we’ve developed a curriculum and regularly host a financial literacy speaking series at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Wharton Graduate School of Business, and Stanford Graduate School of Business.  

Why Financial Education Matters

It can be challenging to talk about money. Our relationship with money starts early and is profoundly influenced by our childhoods, our parents, and the values we hold dear. We all have money stories that relate to so many deep things in our lives, and money means different things to everyone. Raising children with wealth is a balance between ensuring that all the things that wealth brings don't also stifle creativity and incentive and that children can grow and find their path. Healthy relationships with money are the goal, but can we present it in a way that removes personal bias?

We believe that education is the answer, but it's not something they will be taught at school. Learning about how money works, what it can do, and its limits should be part of a financial education, taught like anything else – in stages.

By teaching children about money in a structured environment, they encounter financial principles and wealth in a familiar way. By focusing on the "nuts and bolts," we can create perspective and good habits. These are the genesis of good decision-making. Our goal is to create an age-appropriate understanding of financial principles and wealth. Ultimately, children can participate in family meetings and understand the responsibility and the opportunity of wealth.

Creating the Next Generation of Wealth

For many of our clients, the pillars of multi-generational wealth are to ensure that wealth endures and that family values are carried forward.

But to get to that goal, it requires a plan to generate a sophisticated understanding of wealth in the next generation. This education of wealth is critical to building confident, open family lines of communication, which helps enforce decision-making standards.

Whether this entails educating children to take on a role in the family business, making decisions for a donor-advised fund or a family charity, or ensuring that children can build the lives and careers that they find most satisfying, financial education is at the core.

We want to know our clients’ entire families, and we embrace the opportunity to connect with their children on financial issues. For us, it's a way to build trust and deepen our understanding of family dynamics.

We also see it as part of our fiduciary duty to our clients. In our role as an advocate for you, ensuring that your family approaches wealth with a unified, clear mindset is a key component of your financial plan. We understand the financial implications of family dynamics, and we work with our clients to ensure that children have an understanding of wealth and can participate in family values and goals.

The Bottom Line

Financial education should be part of the curriculum, but it isn't something taught in school. Building trust, guiding children through an understanding of how wealth is maintained and the opportunities to express values that come from it, and ensuring that children become an integral, activated part of a family's wealth plan are central to the service we provide our clients.