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unHeritage – 11 Pitfalls to Family Legacy and How to Avoid Them

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“unHeritage is definitely the lighthouse for protecting your family and wealth for generations. This book is a must read for anyone interested in legacy planning.” Enzo Calamo

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Center for Family Conversations

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The Center for Family Conversations (CFC) is a resource center that provides the integral tools and ideas in helping families establish a 100-year-plus Family Legacy Plan.

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THE TYCOON PLAYBOOK – How Business Empires Are Built

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The Tycoon Playbook course was created for business families who are already running a successful business and wish to ramp up their growth while preserving wealth for future generations. Specifically, the Playbook teaches high performance business owners the two most highly rewarded skills in business, namely deal-making and how to acquire cash flow producing business assets.

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  • Dow soars more than 400 points December 18, 2014
    Stocks soared for a second straight day with the Dow topping 400 points for the first time since November 2011 and the S&P 500 posting its biggest jump since January 2013. Leah Duncan reports.
  • Mixed reviews on Sony movie cut December 18, 2014
    Sony's controversial decision to cancel the release of "The Interview", is getting mixed reviews- some saying they had no choice- but others fearful of the broader consequences to hollywood. Bobbi Rebell reports.
  • EZ leaders grapple with economy, Russia December 18, 2014
    Ahead of the last summit of European leaders this year, German chancellor Angela Merkel warns there's no quick and simple fix to the euro zone crisis. The economy is top of a heavy agenda for the two-day meeting, as is the possibility of further sanctions against Russia. Joel Flynn reports.
  • I give Sony Pictures leadership a "D"-Mike Paul December 18, 2014
    Reputation consultant Mike Paul, President of Reputation Doctor LLC, says the current crisis at Sony is a failure of leadership, and a change is needed. Bobbi Rebell reports.
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    Robert Cyran and Reynolds Holding discuss Juno Therapeutics' IPO and the prospects for its cancer drug as well as other promising technologies in the booming sector.
 
 

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  • The Idea of Family Wealth

    The Idea of Family Wealth   This topic is absolutely foreign to the middle class, and even many high income earners. I myself have never experienced it;, my education comes directly from speaking with wealthy individuals and observing some of the richest families in history. The Idea of Family Wealth.

     
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  • Preparing Heirs by Bill High

    Preparing Heirs by Bill High

    Preparing Heirs by Bill High     What is it about our kids that prompt such great emotion – from elation to depression? Certainly, there is no greater joy than to see our children flourish and no greater agony than to see them wander from our values and our beliefs.   Irony: neglecting the “soft” side   The greatest irony in family estate planning: spending countless hours on the “hard” side of assets while giving lip service to the “soft” side of people development.    The tendency in estate planning is to prepare legal documents that transfer financial wealth without preparing our children for true legacy. What does preparing our children for true legacy mean?   Preparing children for true legacy   Life is often a blur in the child-raising years. In the same timeframe that we are raising kids, we are building our careers. And frankly, some of us tend to do a better job of building financial wealth than “family wealth.” Much of what our children learn is left to chance: whatever they observe along the way.   When things finally settle down a bit, the children are graduated, off to college, or even absorbed with starting their own careers and families.    What is family wealth?   In his book, Family Wealth, James Hughes discusses the importance of human capital that includes the following outcomes – ideally for all family members:   They are thriving They have a strong sense of purpose, passion, and calling They have a strong sense of work ethic and character qualities like integrity, honesty, and compassion They have interpersonal relationships both within the family and externally They understand that life does not revolve around them but that instead they are part of a greater whole, a greater cause They have spiritual grounding They are generous.   These are big ideas, which go way beyond transferring financial capital. They go to transferring intellectual capital, social capital, emotional capital, and spiritual capital as well.   Good relationships require intentionality   It’s time spent with children with intentionality – making sure they understand our story and that we understand theirs. It is time spent repairing relational damage that is unintentional but inevitable. It is making sure they are healthy, thriving, and feeling fulfilled.    Giving together creates unity   One of the best tools I’ve found to bring families together is giving together. Structurally, that may take the form of creating a foundation or a donor advised fund. But practically, it simply means doing some giving together.   Giving is the great equalizer. Suffice it to say that giving prompts conversations that everyone can participate in regardless of age or experience.   Investing in legacy   So what do you want when you think about your heirs – great joy or great agony? It will take great effort to achieve the former. It must go beyond estate documents. Estate documents are a part, but they really should be guided with the influence of all forms of capital – […]

     
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  • Change to an Elder Culture | Rich Grehalva

    Change to an Elder Culture | Rich Grehalva   In this short talk, Rich Grehalva shares an idea drawn from his Native American heritage about how our society needs to transform from an “elderly” culture to an “elder” one. Rich Grehalva, is an experienced sales & marketing executive, author, speaker and coach.

     
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  • Family Farm succession planning – equal or fair? by John Mill

    Family Farm succession planning – equal or fair? by John Mill

    Family Farm succession planning – equal or fair? by John Mill     The recent appeal decision in Mountain v. TD Canada Trust is a classic example of how badly things end up without proper business succession planning. The case involved a farm that had been in Mountain family for five generations since 1830. Gary the son had been working on the farm for 24 years since high school and had received less than average wages so money could be used to build up the farm. Gary said that his father Jack had promised to pass the farm onto him. Gary’s sister Louanne never worked on the farm.   A universal problem in family farms and businesses is that there are usually children who do not work on the farm or in the business. The question becomes how do you treat these children fairly? A common misconception is that the child on the farm or in the business will be getting a very valuable asset; however if the farm or business is not to be sold then what the child really gets is a job. The problem in this case was that Jack and Helen Mountain had identical wills. Each left all of his/her estate to the other absolutely, or if either spouse died first, the estate would go to Gary and Louanne to share and share alike. This is the default will pattern employed by most families. But in family business succession cases the default will pattern creates havoc as happened with the Mountains. After Jack’s death Gary’s sister Louanne took the position that under the will she was entitled to half the farm. So Gary started a lawsuit to enforce what he claimed was an oral agreement that the farm was to go to him. In the period between January 2000 and November 28, 2001 when he died, Jack had made a number of attempts to transfer the farm to Gary. First Jack saw Mr. Riley his bookkeeper and tax preparer. Mr. Riley had detailed notes of their discussions about how to transfer the farm to Gary. The Judge ignored these notes because Jack did not act on them. In October 2001 Jack was hospitalized. He was first visited by retired lawyer Don Elliot who referred him to another lawyer Chris Moon. Mr. Moon prepared powers of attorney to be used if Jack was disabled but he did not recall discussing any land transfers. It seems odd that this lawyer would not have asked about Jack’s intentions for the farm. In mid November Jack met with Mr. Riley again. Mr. Riley sent a letter addressed to Jack, dated November 13, 2001. The letter says: This letter summarizes our discussion of the farm rollover from you and Helen to Gary. If I understand your desires correctly, the two farms, the 46 acre lot with the helper house and the trailer on the 97 acre farm are to be rolled over to Gary. The one-acre lot at Conc. 4, WHS Pt Lot 33, is to […]

     
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  • What’s Your Greatest Legacy? Hint: It’s Not Your Family Business

    What’s Your Greatest Legacy? Hint: It’s Not Your Family Business

    What’s Your Greatest Legacy? Hint: It’s Not Your Family Business by Tom Deans, Ph.D     I was playing my regular Saturday morning squash game and had my friend two games to zero. I was only three points away from taking the match in a clean three-game sweep. But something happened. I started to drift and lose focus. To make a long story short, I flamed out and went down three games to two. The sting of defeat is always more acute when you’ve already begun to celebrate before victory is earned.   On the drive home I wondered how many business founders have always imagined that the surest succession plan – the sale of the business to their own children – is a slam-dunk, only to find out too late that their children love their jobs but hate risking capital.   The plan is to talk later   I also wondered how many business owners never really know how to broach the subject of selling the business to their kids. The issue feels so emotionally complex and dangerous; the best plan is to plan to have the conversation…later. Many business owners in my audiences express to me the sentiment that if their kids were “real” business owners they would make the first move and raise the subject of a buy out. Similarly, kids will say “hey, I’m waiting for the big guy to make the first move.”   I wondered how many families feel the sting of defeat, never experiencing what could have been a great transition because no one knew how to start what is perhaps the most important conversation of a business owner’s life.   The blunt truth is that too often owners never have the conversation. Life unfolds, and parents who are controlling shareholders become incapacitated and die. And then their family discovers that the owner has done what feels so utterly right: he or she has treated their children “fairly” and proceeded to gift, via the owner’s will, an equal number of shares to each child, irrespective of whether the children are working in the business or not.   What unfolds next is unpredictable and often wealth destroying. Children working in the family business can find themselves reporting to their brothers and sisters outside the business. And too often children outside the business are disappointed with the dividend stream and clamor for more. Many children on the outside looking in assume that their siblings working in the business are overpaid – not because they know this to be true, but because they find themselves awash with emotion about what the business is, what it was and where it ought to go.   Exceptional advisors force awkward conversations   Advisors can play a hugely influential role in sparking the right conversation among the family about the sale of the business – when everyone is still healthy and thinking clearly. When the answer emerges that there is a buyer in the house, what a magnificent event for the […]

     
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  • Are you accidentally putting your next generation at risk? by Family Wealth Coach

    Are you accidentally putting your next generation at risk? by Family Wealth Coach

    Are you accidentally putting your next generation at risk? by Family Wealth Coach     No one wants to think that their successors would be in harm’s way of any kind, as a matter of fact, most leaders of family businesses are actively working to ensure that the next generation is not at risk. Who would want otherwise?   But there are certain conversations that need to happen, or it can put the next generation at substantial risk. Let’s take a look at one of those conversations.   Kelly Lector and Jennifer Pendergast, the authors of the book Roadmap, offer a thought that there is a single critical theme that must be handled properly, if a succession is going to be successful. That theme is Shared Vision.   The overriding theme of the book is that it is critical to invest time and resources to develop a vision for the future of the family business, and it should be started sooner rather than later. But this kind of vision casting is often overlooked by business families for five great reasons: It’s not action oriented — it doesn’t seem practical and it seems like a waste of time It typically doesn’t solve a particular problem at hand Many families don’t know how to do it, what questions to ask, who should be involved, or who should lead it Sometimes there’s a fear of asking big questions in case stakeholders [including children in the business, sibling partners, etc.] have different answers They fear conflict – avoiding the conflict is much easier than facing it   These are good reasons. Unfortunately, not facing them can put succession at risk. It’s better to clearly understand the motivations of all the constituents sooner, rather than later. What would happen if you reached a crucial moment in the succession, only to discover that someone has a completely different goal? If there is uncertainty in the business succession with the owners, it will affect all stakeholders. Clarity of vision helps ensure confidence for everyone involved.   So what kind of questions would you ask if you wanted to arrive at a shared vision? Here is just a handful: What are we trying to be as a family? As individuals? As a business? How will we know when we’ve achieved it? Why is it important for us to own this asset together? Is it because it’s profitable? It keeps the family together? It is our heritage and our purpose? Under what conditions would you sell? Is it important that a family member lead the business?   You may want to consider having some conversations with stakeholders, having a family meeting, surveying stakeholders, and becoming more prepared to take on hard questions. If your values, principles, and vision are aligned, you can likely have a shared vision and smoother continuity. If you have different values, different principles, and a different vision, perhaps you can’t follow the same purpose.   We encourage you to start a process of continuity planning, not just succession planning. Succession implies […]

     
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  • The New EBITDA: Emotions Before Interest Taxes and Depreciation

    The New EBITDA: Emotions Before Interest Taxes and Depreciation

    The New EBITDA: Emotions Before Interest Taxes and Depreciation by Tom Deans, Ph.D.     Sitting in the departure lounge at LAX, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between an investment banker and his younger associate. I learned two things. First (and most business travelers can relate), it is amazing how cavalier people are about discussing confidential details in public places. The second confirmed something I had been thinking about family businesses for some time.   The older of the two bankers was whining about how he thought the slam-dunk deal they had just presented was now probably never going to happen. On and on he grumbled about the time he had spent running the numbers, lining up partners and generally bringing the deal to a crescendo, only to have the business owner change his mind about selling.   The investment banker was completely perplexed about why the offer, the numbers, the multiples that looked so good weren’t enough to entice the owner to do the deal of a lifetime.   It took everything I had to stop myself from leaping into the conversation and selling him a copy of Every Family’s Business (it wouldn’t have been the first time). But I exercised extraordinary restraint and settled back and listened to him talk about the clever structure of the deal, the tax that could have been saved and the instant wealth the owner would have secured if only he had been smart enough to take the deal.   Emotions are Squishy – Not the Stuff of Deal-Makers in Suits   The funny thing about listening in on a conversation is that the longer you listen the harder it is enter the conversation. So I bit my tongue and instead simply wondered how many other business brokers, M&A professionals and investment bankers expend such effort trying to bring deals to fruition only to have sellers back out. I wondered how an entire industry of intermediaries could so badly underestimate the emotional connection that owners have to their businesses, and also fail to understand how these emotions can scupper so much good work and extraordinary planning and lead the owner to ultimately destroy the business’s value.   When really bright finance experts hear the word “emotions” you can so often see their eyes roll back and the calculators shut off. Yet students of the greatest financiers of all time – deal-makers like Warren Buffett – know that these people get deals done by running the numbers and then engaging business owners in the one corner of their life where most number crunchers don’t go – their family. It is the rare rainmaker who has both the left and right brain firing on all cylinders.   Warren Buffett Buffett and other great deal-makers know that the sale of a business will typically result in a “liquidity event” that will leave owners with more wealth than they feel comfortable consuming. Most business owners accumulate wealth precisely by denying themselves consumption. Sellers will often kill deals, blaming a low bid price, […]

     
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  • Why Do Family Business Owners Often Die at their Desk? by Tom Deans, Ph.D.

    Why Do Family Business Owners Often Die at their Desk? by Tom Deans, Ph.D.

    Why Do Family Business Owners Often Die at their Desk? by Tom Deans, Ph.D.   I was speaking to a friend who owns a successful manufacturing business and asked him when he plans to sell his business”. His response echoed something that I’m hearing more and more from business owners in my audience. “I can’t afford to sell – if I sell and take the proceeds and invest in this market, I couldn’t replace half my current salary”.   Of course the danger with this logic is that if unforeseen risk visits the business and it fails, my friend will neither have his salary nor the equity that he’s accumulated in the business over the past 20 years.   Misaligned financial interests of family members   But here’s the real problem. My friend, like so many, has other shareholders, namely other family shareholders who aren’t working in the business who want the sale proceeds now! His family dinners can best be described as a food fight waiting to happen. What to do?   What we do know is that doing nothing is a plan. Do nothing long enough and we know that a business owner will die at his desk. But where does the stock in the company go? Will it go to his or hers estate, to minority shareholders?   What usually unfolds is chaos especially when family is often left out of the planning loop. Financial advisors are doing a much better job these days of getting business owners to play the “what if” game. In fact there is a brand new breed of advisor brandishing a tough to acquire professional designation known as the Certified Business Exit Consultant — CBEC. I delivered a keynote to a recent convention of CBECs in Boston and they’re a rather impressive group of professionals committed to exit planning excellence.   The best advisors never stop reminding clients about the risks of business ownership   Asset allocation has forever been the first principal of sound investing. As investors near retirement, advisors constantly rebalance portfolios away from equity to income. The business owner who allows their high salary to cloud their thinking about the dangers to their equity in their business don’t need to travel Las Vegas to gamble – they’re already there!! Extraordinary advisors will keep this risk in focus for their business owner clients and work on divestiture strategies and timelines that meet the financial needs of both business owners today, their retirement tomorrow and the needs of surviving family.   Savvy advisors remind business owners that the sale process seldom unfolds quickly and even after the sale of a business, the new owners may either insist or welcome the seller to continue working and drawing a salary. It took our family 5 years to find the right buyer for our business and another 4 years to receive the full sale proceeds – that’s almost a decade from start to finish. Business owners in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s often completely […]

     
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  • Tom Petters Net Worth December 18, 2014
    Tom Petters Net Worth: Tom Petters is an American businessman who has a net worth of $50 thousand. Tom Petters was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota in July 1957. He was the chairman and CEO of Petters Group Worldwide but was convicted of massive business fraud in 2009. Petters is imprisoned at the United States […]
  • Martin Cummins Net Worth December 18, 2014
    Martin Cummins Net Worth: Martin Cummins is a Canadian actor who has a net worth of $500 thousand. Martin Cummins was born in North Delta, British Columbia, Canada in November 1969. Cummins is best known for his role as Ames White in the TV series Dark Angel. Martin studied at the Vancouver Actors Studio. He […]
  • Buddy Nielsen Net Worth December 18, 2014
    Buddy Nielsen Net Worth: Buddy Nielsen is an American singer and musician who has a net worth of $300 thousand. Buddy Nielsen is best known as the lead vocalist for the post-hardcore band Senses Fail. Senses Fail formed in 2002 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Nielsen is the only original member of the band still remaining. […]
  • Donald Goines Net Worth December 18, 2014
    Donald Goines Net Worth: Donald Goines was an African-American writer who had a net worth of $500 thousand. Donald Goines was born in Detroit, Michigan in December 1936 and passed away in October 1974. Goines wrote urban fiction and his novels were greatly influenced by the work of Iceberg Slim. Goines lied about his age […]
  • Brooke Anderson Net Worth December 18, 2014
    Brooke Anderson Net Worth and salary: Brooke Anderson is an American television correspondent who has a net worth of $2 million. Brooke Anderson was born in Savannah, Georgia in May 1978. Anderson is a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight since 2013. She was formerly a co-host of The Insider and was a culture and entertainment anchor […]
 

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