Taking Control of the Wealth Management Process
Using the Strategic Wealth Management Framework requires leadership—your leadership. Leadership is necessary to protect your financial interests and to reinforce a positive family culture. You must accept personal accountability for managing your wealth, regardless of whether you want to manage simply and conservatively or with focus and risk. It doesn't matter whether your goal is to build the next Rockefeller dynasty, launch a new start-up business, or hand over day-to-day responsibilities for wealth management to an advisor who has earned the moniker "trusted." In all cases, you, as the wealth owner, must take personal charge of your wealth management by assuming a role I refer to throughout the book as the "Wealth Strategist."
Sometimes the Wealth Strategist is an individual. Sometimes several family members work as a team to play the role. Typically, a first-generation wealth creator takes on the role him- or herself. In a multigenerational context, either model can operate successfully. However, in the multigenerational context, it is important that the Wealth Strategist serve at the pleasure of the family. Dictatorship as an American family governance structure tends to be fundamentally unstable, even when the position is earned through merit and sanctioned by the previous generation!
For those with substantial wealth and a multigenerational timeframe, a managed transition of the Wealth Strategist role from one generation to the next is a critical task. In turn, my great-grandfather, my grandfather, and then my father played the role of Wealth Strategist. Today, I share the Wealth Strategist role with my brother William and my sister-in-law Melissa, though my father still plays an important oversight role. As a rule, our family believes in gradual generational transitions, not as a delaying tactic by the older generation to retain power, but to diligently work through the inevitable issues that arise. Time has been our ally in working out complex family and financial dynamics. It can be yours, too.
You and your family stand to benefit greatly from having a designated Wealth Strategist in place to work closely with advisors. Having been a wealth industry advisor myself, I know that the relationships I've built with designated Wealth Strategists from other families over the years make wealth management activities a lot easier and more efficient for everybody. If I'm able to work with a designated Wealth Strategist, we can optimize our working relationship in numerous ways. We use our time more efficiently, make better investment decisions during times of stress, and our decisions are based on a clearly understood set of operating principles and investment goals. As an educated client, you'll also delegate responsibility more effectively and you will confidently and accurately distinguish between good and mediocre performance.