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


“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


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


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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  • 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.

  • What Would You Die For? | Brad McLain

    What Would You Die For? | Brad McLain   This talk looks at the nature and impact of extraordinary experiences, especially how such experiences may change our sense of self or identity.   Brad is a social science research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for STEM Learning and is co-director of The Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative. Dr. McLain is an accomplished filmmaker originally from Norfolk, Nebraska, and he attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln for part of his undergraduate education. He is a member of the board of directors for the JGI, Jane Goodall institute.

  • David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes

    David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes   Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is “Big History”: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

  • Business Growth Strategies: Double Your Customer Base Overnight by Peter Ireland

    Business Growth Strategies: Double Your Customer Base Overnight by Peter Ireland

    Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners Can Use Acquisitions to Double or Triple Their Customer Base Overnight   Oftentimes it’s easier to significantly increase your customer base through the acquisition of competitors than it is with the more commonly used marketing route.  Anyone with at least a modicum of business experience appreciates just how challenging it is for an established business to grow its customer base by 10% per annum if it relies solely on marketing efforts.  On the other hand, the acquisition of a competitor can double, triple, or quadruple your customer base at deal closing.  Business Growth Strategies     What many business owners don’t realize is that it can be cheaper as well faster to go with the acquisitions growth strategy. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at cases where this was capitalized on from the recent past.  Specifically, let’s look at businesses which utilized subscriber revenue models such as cable-TV and Internet service providers.  If you owned a small system in either industry, you were faced with a choice of growth through marketing or acquisitions. Now suppose that you had set as your goal a doubling of your subscriber base in five year’s time. We will assume that this target is extrapolated from your growth rates over the last three years. An analysis of your customer acquisition costs needed to double your sales over three years may show that a marketing based strategy’s costs will exceed those of an acquisition strategy.  Morever, the acquisitions route will achieve your goal by doubling the subscriber base as soon as the deal is finalized.   Are you still not convinced that an acquisitions-base growth strategy is the way to go? Okay, let me throw in another reason to seriously consider this option: lower risk. Yes, if you know your business and industry and decide to buy-out a competitor your risk can be reduced because you are taking control of an asset that you understand and that has passed your due diligence. Imagine for a moment that you own and operate a pizza parlor and are looking for ways to expand. One day a marketing consultant calls on you to pitch a new marketing strategy which he promises will double your sales over three years–but at a substantial cost. The week after you are notified by a friend that your competitor down the street is for sale. Acquisition of this pizza joint would instantly double your revenue. You compare the prices of the two options and discover that they are only about 15% apart.   Which is the lower risk option? In most cases, the acquisition of an add-on profit center for your business. After all, you already know to successfully operate such a business and the lenders will trust you more than someone needing a loan to attempt some unproven growth strategy.   Business Growth via Acquisitions   Back in the 1990s, there was a great deal of M&A activity in the printing industry.  One large printer embarked on […]

  • My Top 10 Tips to Shorten the Life of Your Family Business by Tom Deans, Ph.D.

    My Top 10 Tips to Shorten the Life of Your Family Business by Tom Deans, Ph.D.

    My Top 10 Tips to Shorten the Life of Your Family Business by Tom Deans, Ph.D.   I’ve certainly enjoyed more than my fair share of quality time on airplanes to contemplate some of the fascinating family business stories I’ve collected on the speaking circuit.   It’s pretty common for professional speakers to spend a little time with audience members who confess their stories and share details about their family firm fiascos after an event – typically during the book signing.   Sadly, most of these stories are stranger than fiction. Some people who share their tales are looking for a kind of absolution for their family business sins. But dispensing penitence is a task I’ve never done particularly well; it’s always my cue to send someone in the direction of the advisor who hired me so that they can receive the proper professional care they deserve and require.   Underlying these tales of family business woe is always personal tragedy on a scale that for me is unfathomable: estrangement between children and parents and between siblings, and physical violence that’s been known to include murder – and I’m not kidding.   On a lighter note, as I vacation in Spain recharging my battery before another busy fall speaking season, I’ve prepared a lighthearted list of the Top 10 Tips to Shorten the Life of Your Family Business. Read ’em and weep. Top 10 Tips to Shorten the Life of a Family Business   Tip #1 Invite all your children into your business as soon as they’re able to walk so that you can enjoy as much of their free labor as possible. Remember to promise them that “one day all this will be yours” and look closely for the excitement in their eyes. Those are tears of joy.   Tip #2 Always give the most important jobs to your eldest child (but only a male) and pay him (if you must) vastly more than your other children – this is how great family dynasties are built. It may seem unfair, but it’ll toughen some of them up and really set the stage for great Thanksgiving dinners for years to come.   Tip #3 Talk about your family business history often with your children and remind them that “we have always been (fill in the blank – shoemakers, dry cleaners, widget makers…)” and that this is all they will ever be. This will instill great pride and confidence that life is about tradition and not about pursuing their own dreams and definitely not about reaching their full potential. Talk about how Henry Ford should have followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer and Steve Jobs in his father’s footsteps as a restaurateur.   Tip #4 Tell your children that the only reason you work so hard is so they will have a guaranteed job waiting for them when they graduate from school. Definitely do not let them work outside the family firm, for that will only build their self-confidence and […]

  • The 3rd Element of Planning by Rod Zeeb

    The 3rd Element of Planning by Rod Zeeb

      For centuries, “comprehensive planning” for most families has consisted of two elements: financial and estate planning. And for centuries, 90% of that planning has failed when measured by the objective of helping the family to retain both their family unity and their assets for more than two or three generations.   This is not a recent phenomena. Since ancient times, the majority of inheritance plans have failed. Two thousand years ago a Chinese scholar penned the adage: “fu bu guo san dai,” or “Wealth never survives three generations.” In thirteenth century England they said “Clogs to clogs in three generations,” and in nineteenth century America the expressions became “From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” And, over 200 years ago, Adam Smith – of “specialization and division of labor” fame – summed it up in “The Wealth of Nations” when he said: “Riches, in spite of the most violent regulations of law to prevent their dissipation, very seldom remain long in the same family.”   The basic principles of most of the Inheritance Planning today were put in place by King Henry VIII nearly five hundred years ago   This three generation cycle is not news to financial and legal professionals.  Ask a room filled with advisors how many have seen families torn apart by issues surrounding money and inheritance, and you will see every hand shoot up. And yet, traditional, two-element planning continues to be the dominant framework within which most people prepare for their futures. (By the way, when we say ‘traditional,’ we mean it: the basic system of inheritance planning used in the Western world today is not much different than it was in 1540, when England’s King Henry VIII pushed his Statute of Wills through Parliament and set in motion many of the processes and procedures we use to this day!)   Change comes slowly in the world of planning. The most significant changes since the 16th century have come about in just the past quarter century. In the mid-1980’s, Bob Esperti and Renno Peterson formed the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys with a goal to “Change how America Plans” to use Living Trusts and avoid probates in even modest estates.  Within 10 years, the Network had grown to over 1,500 members, and Living Trusts were becoming the norm in all estate plans. The National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys helped change the way America did its estate planning; which was a wonderful accomplishment.   But, they still did not transform how America plans.  That is the goal of heritage planning, and the increasing number of advisors, non-profit officers and educators around the world who are introducing the 3rd Element of Planning to their constituents.   Register Today for our Upcoming Counselling the Affluent Program!

  • Do you have a Chief Legacy Officer? by Family Wealth Coach

    Do you have a Chief Legacy Officer? by Family Wealth Coach

    Do you have a Chief Legacy Officer? by Family Wealth Coach   No, that’s not a mistake in the title. But we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that, because Chief Legacy Officers are a relatively new idea.   We get lots of feedback about how much the “values and vision” concepts in our blogs resonate with readers. We can imagine though, that with everything else that’s going on in your life, it can be difficult to implement some of those ideas as effectively, efficiently and directly as you’d like. That’s where the Chief Legacy Officer comes in.   The idea behind the “Chief Legacy Officer” originated from the Family Office Exchange. It’s an idea that we’re enthusiastic about because a Chief Legacy Officer is to values and vision, what a CEO is to executive decisions, and a CFO is to financial decisions. We firmly believe that decisions about values, vision and mission play as crucial of a role in your business and family office as the executive and financial decision-making aspects. After all, there needs to be a driving reason behind making those executive and financial decisions.   A Chief Legacy Officer can help to define governance structures, and can be designated to implement some of the important concepts that we’ve discussed in past blogs such as engaging and educating the next generation.   This isn’t a fluffy role; it should be taken just as seriously as the selection of a CEO and CFO. However, one difference to consider between those roles and a Chief Legacy Officer is that experience isn’t always an asset. Leaving this role to the first generation can have risks. Incorporate the second and third generation’s views. The first generation’s take on all of this is great, but it will fade with them if the younger generation’s views are not also considered.   Incorporating a Chief Legacy Officer gives you the opportunity to focus attention and energy on all angles of your family business and estate—not just the obvious ones.

  • Epigenetic Transformation: You Are What Your Grandparents Ate: Pamela Peeke

    Epigenetic Transformation: You Are What Your Grandparents Ate: Pamela Peeke   Dr. Peeke is an internationally renowned physician, scientist, expert and speaker in integrative medicine. Acclaimed as one of America’s top physicians, Dr. Peeke is a Pew Foundation Scholar in Nutrition and Metabolism, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland and Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She was the first senior research fellow at the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine, studying the effects of chronic stress on the human body. She is WebMD’s lifestyle expert, co-host of RadioMD’s HER radio show, and a popular in-studio medical commentator for the national networks and media.  A New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Peeke’s latest release, The Hunger Fix, is the first consumer book describing the newly emerging science of food, addiction and epigenetics. Dr. Peeke is founder of the Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living, guiding people through the mental and physical transformations of their life journeys. 


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Lugen Family Office is the Most Trusted Online Curator on Legacy Planning, Wealth Management, Financial Literacy, Family Business, Philanthropy, and the UHNW.

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