When you think about growing the wealth of a family what comes to mind? Is it their balance sheet or how they treat each other? The difference they make in the world? Their family values, or how they come together as a family?

It’s actually all of the above yet something tends to happen in wealthy families, they define themselves by their financial wealth. One of the first families I worked with had one financial value articulated when I met them, and it was, “don’t invade the principle.” I’m not suggesting that there is something wrong with that value, but as a stand-alone idea it didn’t give the family a focus or direction to move them forward.

A more positive approach is for a wealthy family to articulate that their financial capital supports their family to invest in the human and social aspects of its members. Meaning that the family backs individual members in leading a life that is fulfilling where pursuing a calling is valued. The family grows from dealing with differences and is able to communicate openly. Lastly they see that the money is a gift and it is their job to be good stewards of the wealth.