Wednesday, August 13, 2014

From Shoemaker to Shoe maker in Three Gnerations!

It’s an old story winningly told by TOM ROGERSON  senior director and wealth management advisor at WILMINGTON TRUST COMPANY ( A 14th generation Mayflower descendant, still living on the family’s original land in Massachusetts, Tom is the scion of a wealthy Boston family that lost all its money – in three generations.

He weaves his personal story into solid wealth management advice for families. Speaking to a meeting of philanthropic advisors in Vancouver BC - members of the Giving Institute ( - it is less a story about money itself but how family dysfunction and poor-to-non-existent communications among the family, from the paterfamilias downward, took away the wealth.

A recent study, Tom reported, showed that typically a family loses lost 80% of its wealth within 50 years of the fo under’s death. The takeaway is only partly about how the wealth will be managed, or by whom, but ratherthe family dynamic. A dysfunctional family will end up with a dysfunctional foundation – quarreling about the founders’ (usually parents) commitments versus the children’s interests – either philanthropic but commonly about money that they’d rather have themselves; about who’s in charge and how decisions are made. Tom’s presentation included this quote attributed to George Burns:

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

Tom Rogerson

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