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Introduction to Wealth: Grow It and Protect It

Stuart E. Lucas introduces his book, which focuses on what an individual like you and families like yours can do to protect and grow your wealth, share it with others, and build lasting personal and family legacies based on it.
This chapter is from the book
  • Question: What’s the best way to make a small fortune?
  • Answer: Start with a big one.

This book focuses on what an individual like you and families like yours can do to protect and grow your wealth, share it with others, and build lasting personal and family legacies based on it. The lessons learned and shared here come from my many years as a wealth industry professional combined with the experience of representing my family as longtime clients of the industry. There is value in having sat on both sides of the table, and I want to share that value with you.

Whether you are building your wealth over time or acquired it suddenly, whether you have a few hundred thousand in assets or a few hundred million, whether your family situation is simple or complex, the principles discussed in this book will help you sustain, grow, and, most important, enjoy your wealth.

Everyone dreams of striking it rich—by selling a business, scoring a great investment, receiving an inheritance, or winning the lottery. In fact, most people generate their wealth, small or large, by patiently accumulating and nurturing their asset base. Either way, integrating all the components of wealth management into a coherent, satisfying whole is the challenge we have before us.

I was one of the lucky ones because I was born into a wealthy family. For me, the dream began with $25,000 and the founding of what became the Carnation Company by my great-grandfather E. A. Stuart in 1899. Eighty-six years later, the company was sold to the Nestlé Corporation for $3 billion, and I am a beneficiary of that wealth. But I am even luckier because I’ve drawn perspective from a thoughtful family legacy and over a quarter century of working in financial services.

I’ve used this perspective to build a flexible framework that can be customized to the unique circumstances of anyone who cares about managing their wealth. That’s what this book is about. My hope is that you’ll use this framework to protect and grow your own wealth, share it constructively with those you love, enjoy financial security, and build a lasting personal and family legacy.

But first, I will share a little personal and family history so that you can see firsthand where I’m coming from.

Good Idea, Bad Start

The story of Carnation’s founding and of E. A. Stuart’s pluck and grit in revolutionizing the production of fresh, safe milk products at the turn of the 20th century is the stuff of American history. So too is the fortune he amassed in bringing these products to your grandparents, your parents, and now your kitchen table.

Back in the late 19th century, E. A. Stuart had a dream of making wholesome, good-tasting milk as available to the Americans of his day as sugar and salt. So in 1899, he co-founded the Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company and spent $25,000 to buy the rights to a process for producing evaporated milk.

The circumstances surrounding E. A. Stuart’s purchase of his new milk production process were hardly auspicious. In fact, in the beginning, they had all the markings of a business disaster. At first, poorly sealed cans of evaporated milk spoiled by the wagonload after leaving Stuart’s plant near modern-day Seattle, Washington. Making matters worse, local customers in those days weren’t convinced they needed his product anyway, not in a region where cows dotted the lush local countryside and fresh milk flowed as plentifully from local pastures as cold, clear water did from local mountain streams.

But my great-grandfather persisted. “Pluck wins. It always wins,” he used to say in those challenging and sometimes dark early days. Showing flinty resolve, he perfected his milk evaporation process and improved his canning procedures.

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