Educating Family Members

When wealth owners are asked what challenges them most, their first answer is frequently, “helping my children become productive adults.” Parents want their wealth to be a source of satisfaction and opportunity for their children and want to ensure that their children are prepared for the responsibilities that come with wealth. Getting this right is not easy, but those who have committed to educating the next generation will tell you that the return is well worth the investment.
 

Where Do I Begin?

Like many things, when it comes to family education you’ll be most successful if you begin with the end in mind. 
  • What are the goals of the family and how can education help support these goals? 
  • What key skills do family members need to develop? 
  • What behaviors do you want to encourage? 
  • What values do you want to instill? 
While the answers to these questions will vary from one family to another, here are some of the key skills and concepts that members of every family enterprise should master: 
  • Understanding of family virtues, values and history
  • Basic financial fluency (e.g., income statements, balance sheets, personal accounts, and the skills of saving and investing)
  • Awareness and understanding of legal duties and rights as individuals
  • Ability to make competent decisions in tandem with financial advisors
50 Best Practices for an Enduring Family Enterprise is a collection of practices that have contributed to the success of the highest-achieving and most forward-thinking families. Four of these best practices are specific to education. The blog post titled 10 Strategies for Family Unity by FOX Founder, Sara Hamilton, provides an excellent starting point.
 

Designing an Effective Family Education Plan 

Educational opportunities need to be consciously threaded throughout the activities of the family and the family office. See the Introduction to Education System Design in the FOX Guide to Family Education to get a good understanding of how to do this. 
 

Identifying Resources and Programs

Once you have determined your goals and have your plan in place, you may find that you are in need of resources. See these lists of resources recommended by the FOX community:
 
  • Financial Education Resources feature games, books, curriculum, and activities for teaching children and young adults,
  • The FOX Knowledge Center features whitepapers, research studies, and multi-media materials devoted to the issues of most concern to FOX members.
  • Recommended Reading List, a selection of books on a variety of topics, including family wealth and purpose, family culture and governance, parenting, family business, investing and financial management, and philanthropy.
  • FOX Learning Programs

Additional Resources Only Available to FOX Members

Preparing the Next Generation for the Responsibilities of Ownership provides an in-depth look at the behaviors and skills that family members need. It also provides ideas about how to approach the challenge of educating the next generation as a life-long process rather than a one-time event. For insight into the Millennials in your family, read Engaging the Client of the Future or review the webinar.
 
Taking Time to Teach: Raising Responsible Children Amid Affluence asserts that it's best to start building financial literacy early and includes examples of practical ways to teach children about wealth. 
 
Family meetings provide an ideal setting for continuing education and are one of the most popular venues for delivering education to family members. Listen to the FOX recorded webinar Family Meetings: Communication, Education, and Family Cohesion to learn how successful family meetings equip family members to be responsible shareholders and stewards of family wealth.
 
FOX family office members can also access editable versions of the presentations featured in the FOX Guide to Family Education in the Shared Templates section of the Knowledge Center.