As a parent, one of our greatest desires is to have a family full of strong, loving relationships. However, contrary to common belief or practice, this does not happen by default. We need to follow certain principles and disciplines to have a strong family connected by a common identity. Financial wealth is a tangible dimension of a family, but too often the impact that wealth and wealth transfer can have (good and bad) is overlooked. Ignoring or downplaying its existence is hazardous.
Recognizing that wealth is part of the family and acknowledging its presence,enables it to be a powerful tool at our disposal to foster relationships between family members. Discussions and coaching around its use can become natural encounters within the family. Your philosophies about money, work and giving, are among your most defining attributes. We have the opportunity to instill in our children principles and values that will lay the foundation for success in life. One of the most powerful ways to teach this, is by allowing your children to witness your experiences. At an age-appropriate level,we can involve our children in the rationale and principles behind our management, use and decisions regarding wealth. Whether the child will one day be the next steward of significant wealth or not, this is a wonderful opportunity for apprenticeship, building trust and enhancingyour relationship.
Relationships are built through common experiences. Whether at a small rural high school, friends made at university,or the deep relationship of husband and wife, these common experiences become the platform for a growing relationship. These experiences are investments into a relational bank account which validate the depth and value of the relationship. We must invest time to have shared experiences with family members. If all we do is work or volunteer (or both), we will have no time for these critical shared events. We might have financial wealth, but we would be poor or even bankrupt when it comes to family relational wealth.
Strong families share core philosophies. That does not mean they all think alike. Each member has a unique perspective to offer, but as they share experiences, there is a tendency toward like-mindedness, common values and interests. The stronger the family identity, the more the family tends to be centered on issues like faith, community and purpose. Successful families are developed when parents provide good leadership and give their children a solid foundation of well-defined core beliefs and values. We need to be proactive and invest time, but the return on our investment (ROI) will be greater than anything we can generate anywhere else, and it continues to compound beyond our lifetime!
This article is influenced by the National Christian Foundation’s book entitled “Family. Money.”. The National Christian Foundation calls the family’s core beliefs about wealth a “Family Stewardship Philosophy”. The good thing about developing a Family Stewardship Philosophy and imparting it to our family is, it is never too late to start.
Covenant Family Wealth Advisors' certified financial advisors and business succession planning experts help guide families through the technical and emotional aspects of managing wealth, estate planning and business succession. Our experienced financial management team uses a Christian perspective that is rarely found in traditional financial planning, and we work closely with you to develop a personal Holistic Stewardship Plan that encompasses financial planning, estate planning, family business transition and philanthropy.