Date: Sep 29 2017
“In life, longevity is a gift only if you know how to use it. And as we prepare to tackle issues related to family journeys at the FOX Fall Forum, I wanted to highlight an interview with one of our presenters, Coventry Edwards-Pitt, CFA, CFP®, Chief Wealth Advisory Officer at Ballentine Partners, LLC and author of the new book Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. In her upcoming session, Covie will share insights from vibrant elders about the factors that allowed them to design meaningful later lives as well as the best practices that each of us can put in place today to ensure that our aging positively impacts our families down the road. She’ll also lead the group through a planning process based on her observations of families that have successfully navigated the longevity journey, equipping families with the tools they can use to get started on their own journey.”
–Amy Hart Clyne, Executive Director, FOX Knowledge Center
What inspired you to write the book?
In my role at the firm (Ballentine Partners), I’m charged with thinking deeply about the problems our clients are trying to solve and how best to relieve them of these worries. My first book was about one of those problems - how to raise children who are grounded and motivated amid wealth, and this book is about another – how to how to age well and ensure that our later years have a positive rather than negative impact on our families. Our goal was to address this for two groups of clients – both those who are themselves at this stage of life and those who may have parents at this stage of life.
Tell us who you chose to interview – what was the selection criteria/process?
The simple answer is I sought out people we all would want to be when we’re older. People who seem engaged, are enjoying their later lives, are role models for the rest of us. I interviewed clients and non-clients, about equally split between gender, and equally split among people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
You write that people are living longer but most resist thinking about aging. Do you have any outliers?
I had some interviewees in the medical field who, as a result of their work, are quite matter-of-fact about aging and some of the related issues, like being upfront with family regarding end-of-life wishes. But in general, I found almost an inverse correlation – the healthier and more vibrant you feel, the less likely you are to think about issues that can accompany aging (like housing choices, conveying the meaning behind your estate plan, planning for the potential of cognitive impairment, etc.)
Do you have a key takeaway you would like to share that will better inform the advice we provide to our families?
My first book was in many ways about gifts parents give to their children that they shouldn’t. This book is in many ways about gifts all parents should give to their children but that few do. All of us would love our parents to take the steps necessary to enjoy their later years. And all of us would so appreciate clarity from our parents – about their wishes for where to live during their later years, about their end of life wishes, about the meaning behind their estate planning decisions. But judging by how infrequently these topics are discussed, few of us will have that clarity. A lot of this book is about the practical steps we all can take both to 1) enjoy our own later years, and 2) impart this gift of clarity to our own children. No parent wants to be a burden – this is about how not to be.
In your previous book you interviewed the inheritors of wealth and rising generation; conversely, when you interviewed elders for this new book what did you see as the biggest differences in your conversations? What surprised you?
In the first book, I was asking my interviewees largely about their parents. With this book, I was asking elders largely about themselves. That was a dynamic I was aware of in the interviews – that people are hesitant to speak too highly of themselves. But as an outside observer, I really wanted to highlight these wonderful proactive choices these individuals were making to design active, engaged later lives.
Coventry Edwards-Pitt is a Partner and the Chief Wealth Advisory Officer at Ballentine Partners where she is responsible for thought leadership for the firm, including the development and management of the firm’s family education, family governance, and philanthropic offerings. Covie also leads several of the firm’s large family client engagements and specializes in helping her clients manage the impact of their wealth and ensure that their wealth management strategy reflects their families’ values and goals.
Covie is the author of the Healthy, Wealthy & Wise collection, a two-book series based on interviews that highlight success stories: the first, Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise (2014), focuses on raising children to be grounded and successful adults amid wealth and the second, Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise (2017), focuses on designing a vibrant and purposeful later life and legacy. Covie has spoken widely on the lessons in the books and has been a featured speaker at over 80 events for wealth-owning families and their advisors. She also consults to individuals about how to implement the books’ best practices in their own lives and within their own families.
Covie has been recognized as one of “The 50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth” by Private Asset Management, one of the “Top 50 Women in Wealth Management” by Wealth Manager/AdvisorOne.com, and was selected to the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. Covie has been quoted widely, including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Investment News.
Covie expanded further on Age Healthy, Wealthy & Wise during her presentation at the 2017 FOX Fall Forum.