The Tides of Wealth

Newsletter No. 24 – June 23rd, 2024
Written by a human. 

We pulled into the driveway and my kids immediately hopped out of the car.

They ran straight for the water, yelling, jumping, and acting as, well, kids. I don’t blame them; we had been in the car for almost six hours.

However, my kids are too young to navigate the surf on their own. They don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t understand the force of the tides nor the risks that loom beneath the surface, mainly currents and rip tides.

Before we allowed them to “hit the waves”, we had to have a family talk.

We had to prepare them for the responsibilities that come with the freedom they seek.

This talk is what every parent does with their children when at the beach, no one would blindly let their children play in the ocean without some discussion about how to handle the risks.

Why?

Because the risk is physical, it’s right in front of them, it is obvious. It is literally life and death.

What about when the risks are not physical, not immediate, and not necessarily life and death.

This is the challenge that confronts those looking to transition assets from one generation to the next, whether that’s a successful operating company or a portfolio of assets.

Hear me out for a minute…

I often hear from members of the leading generation that their kids are not prepared to assume the mantle of responsibility that accompanies the transition of their assets.

The onus of responsibility is often thrust upon the kids; they need to be ready.

However, I would assert that the onus is on the leading generation, not the succeeding one. In my estimation, it is the responsibility of parents to make sure their children are ready by not letting them play in the tides of wealth without a full understanding of the associated risks and responsibilities.

While those risks are not necessarily life and death, the implications are equally as profound for the wellbeing of your kids and their future happiness.

Four points of consideration as you think about navigating these tides:

  1. Start early. As early as you can, frame your assets as a blessing and a responsibility that need to be managed with dignity and maturity.  They don’t need to know how big the waves are, just that they can be both enjoyable and require respect.
  2. Be upfront about the risks. Many avoid this conversation because they don’t want to scare kids off, but you’re better off discussing risks rather than becoming a victim of them.
  3. Play in the tide together. Hold their hand, get involved, and wade into the waters together so you can be there when things get turbulent, guiding their way when they need a hand.
  4. Finally, if your kids are able to navigate the waves on their own, ask them about their experiences and talk to them about what they love and what they’re hoping to achieve. Don’t take their experience for granted, I’m sure they would still love to tell you all about the fun they are having.


To the joys of summer…

– Josh Gentine

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