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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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Psychology of Money

  • Greg McKeown: Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

    Greg McKeown: Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

    Greg McKeown: Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less   Greg McKeown saw first-hand how success can lead straight to professional and personal failure, during his career evaluating and coaching Silicon Valley executives. The heart of the problem, he says, is the insidious idea that we can do it all. As entrepreneurs and executives find success, they’re often overwhelmed by expectations and options, and end up losing the single-minded focus that made them successful in the first place. Taking inspiration from legendary designer Dieter Ram’s philosophy of “less but better”, McKeown outlines an antidote in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which features practical tips on how to figure out what’s most important, eliminate the trivial, and establish routines for effortless execution. McKeown earned his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

  • Bob Browne: A Lesson in Tax-Deferred Investing from Warren Buffett

    Bob Browne: A Lesson in Tax-Deferred Investing from Warren Buffett   As investors look to build wealth, they can learn both tax strategy and investment strategy lessons from Warren Buffett’s recent sale of Graham Holdings Company.  

  • 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 […]

  • Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? – Lugen Family Office

    Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? – Lugen Family Office

    Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? – Lugen Family Office   It’s amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there’s good news too. (Filmed at TEDxMarin.) Paul Piff studies how social hierarchy, inequality and emotion shape relations between individuals and groups.   Why You Should Listen To Him?   Paul Piff is a post-doctoral researcher in the psychology department at the University of California, Berkeley.​ In particular, he studies how wealth (having it or not having it) can affect interpersonal relationships.   His surprising studies include running rigged games of Monopoly, tracking how those who drive expensive cars behave versus those driving less expensive vehicles and even determining that rich people are literally more likely to take candy from children than the less well-off. The results often don’t paint a pretty picture about the motivating forces of wealth. He writes, “specifically, I have been finding that increased wealth and status in society lead to increased self-focus and, in turn, decreased compassion, altruism, and ethical behavior.”   “When was the last time, as Piff puts it, that you prioritized your own interests above the interests of other people? Was it yesterday, when you barked at the waitress for not delivering your cappuccino with sufficient promptness? Perhaps it was last week, when, late to work, you zoomed past a mom struggling with a stroller on the subway stairs and justified your heedlessness with a ruthless but inarguable arithmetic: Today, the 9 a.m. meeting has got to come first; that lady’s stroller can’t be my problem. Piff is one of a new generation of scientists—psychologists, economists, marketing professors, and neurobiologists—who are exploiting this moment of unprecedented income inequality to explore behaviors like those. “ Lisa Miller, New York Magazine  

  • Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will by Tom Deans

    Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will by Tom Deans

    Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will by Tom Deans At a farm convention in Chicago, I was approached by an audience member who explained that gifting a working farm to her children was preferable to selling and leaving them each $5 million. When I pressed her for more details – such as – “what do your children think of your plan?” She snapped her head back and proclaimed, “why would I tell them?”   I have to confess it wasn’t the first time that I had heard someone say that silence was going to be the key ingredient of their estate plan. It got me thinking how many beneficiaries – children especially — truly know the contents of their parent’s wills?   When I put the question to my audiences, “how many people hold a copy of their parents’ wills?” Only 10% on average acknowledge they do. The more interesting question is: “how many in the audience will play a lead or significant role in providing care for an aging parent?” The response — an average of 75% — agreed they would. I find the disparity between these two pieces of data, striking.   The relationship between inheriting money and the provision of health care is an issue moving into the media and cultural spotlight for two major reasons – we’re living longer (a lot longer) and the cost of health care and assisted living are rising faster than inflation and saving rates.   For some who live much longer than the average age of 76 for men and 81 for woman, many will turn to family for financial support and care when their savings are fully depleted – the same family from whom secrets were kept when a surplus seemed assured.   Why do so many people keep secrets from those who will likely be providing them with late in life care? How do secrets serve beneficiaries or add to relationships before we become old and dependant? Talk to enough estate planning professionals and they’ll tell you it almost always comes down to a lack of trust and a debilitating fear of death.   For those who view their money as an absolute source of power and control you can see how the aging process and the concomitant relinquishing of power and control makes dying and death such a wretched, fearful experience. Compare that to individuals who seriously prepare family, friends and charitable organizations to receive not just their wealth but their wisdom and you’ll find some extraordinary relationships built purposefully over a lifetime – even when years outstrip savings.   Sharing the contents of a will requires judgment – some might call it wisdom nurtured over time. A wisdom both taught and harvested through conversations with intended beneficiaries not in the last year of life, when death seems imminent, but precisely the opposite, when death is a distant abstraction.   A will doesn’t need to be seen as a solo “end of life document” but rather a […]

  • My Vet sends me reminder letters … Why can’t my lawyer when it comes to my will? by Tom Deans

    My Vet sends me reminder letters … Why can’t my lawyer when it comes to my will? by Tom Deans

    My Vet sends me reminder letters … Why can’t my lawyer when it comes to my Will? Leading up to the release of my new book Willing Wisdom, I paid extra attention to the mail I received. Delivered to my home over the course of three months, were reminder letters from a host of personal service suppliers, including my accountant to file my taxes, my window cleaner, my lawn service, my insurance provider and my veterinarian.   What I didn’t receive, in fact what I’ve never received over the course of my 51 years on the planet, is a letter from my lawyer reminding me to up-date my will. Curious to know if I’m special (and not in a gifted way) I recently asked my audience – about 200 business owners from across North America assembled at a convention in La Jola California – how many of them had received an annual letter from their lawyer reminding them to up-date their will? Only seven hands shot up.   The results confirmed my suspicion that, like me, 193 people in that room had windows and pets receiving better regularly scheduled maintenance than their estate plans. So what’s the deal?   More alarming is that when questioned on the subject, half of that room acknowledged they didn’t have a will at all. When pressed further, 50% of those who did have a will confessed that it had been more than 5 years since it was last up-dated. When questioned even further almost the entire room confessed to having clean windows, healthy pets and weed free lawns.   Approximately 125 million North Americans over the age of 18 have no will and will eventually die intestate. The resulting financial and relational devastation to families is incalculable.   When I asked my veterinarian how she could be so organized and proactive in scheduling my pet’s annual check-up she tilted her head side ways (kind of like the way my dog Goblin does when I say “treats”) she blurted out – “auto-scheduler”. She might as well have added …“duhhh.”   Asking her for detail on this cutting edge 25-year-old technology she noted it was free — as in it doesn’t cost anything.   Below is the letter I received from my veterinarian word for word. ———— To: Tom Deans Annual physical examinations and a personal health consultation is integral to maintaining Goblin’s health. Please call our office to schedule an appointment. We’ve missed you and look forward to seeing you soon! Dufferin Veterinary Hospital ————   If you’re not receiving a letter from your lawyer reminding you to up-date your will, would you consider forwarding this article to your lawyer and help them get acquainted with the power of “auto-scheduling” and helping clients keep their estate plans up-to-date? Here’s a sample letter for them to consider sending annually to clients like you. ———— Dear client: A will is one of the most important legal documents for you and your family to consider. If one or more […]

  • Managing Risk –  Just Remember STARR

    Managing Risk – Just Remember STARR

      Fortunately, there are a number of techniques for handling risks. The nature of a specific risk and the circumstances (extent of exposure, available resources, and so forth) often dictate which technique, or combination of techniques, is most appropriate. Basically, there are five methods for dealing with risk. It is easy to remember these by thinking of the acronym STARR.   Sharing—Sometimes, when a risk cannot be avoided and retention would involve too much exposure to loss, we may choose risk sharing as a means of handling the risk. By sharing risk with someone else, an individual also shares potential losses. That is, the individual’s own loss may not be as great if it occurs, but the individual may have to pay a portion of the losses experienced by others.   Transfer—Risk transfer means transferring the risk of loss to another party, usually an insurance company, that is more willing or able to bear the risk. Some non-insurance transfers of risk occur, such as when one agrees to assume the risk of another under the terms of a written contract.   Avoidance—As the name implies, this technique deals with risk by avoiding the risk in the first place. This usually means not undertaking an activity that could involve the chance of loss. For example, by never flying, one could eliminate the risk of being in an airplane crash.   Reduction—Sometimes, when risks cannot be avoided, they can be reduced. Risk reduction can work in one of two ways: it can reduce the chance that a particular loss will occur, or it can reduce the amount of a potential loss if it occurs. For example, installing a smoke alarm in a home would not lesson the possibility of fire, but it would reduce the risk of the loss from the fire.   Retention—Retention simply means doing nothing about the risk. In other words, people assume or retain the risk and, in effect, become self-insurers. For example, the insured would pay a smaller portion of the loss than the insurer, such as paying a deductible.  

  • Warren Buffett & Bill Gates on Measuring Performance – Lugen Family Office

    Warren Buffett & Bill Gates on Measuring Performance – Lugen Family Office

    Warren Buffett & Bill Gates on Measuring Performance, Wealth, Billionaires, Financial Crisis   Performance measurement is the process of collecting, analyzing and/or reporting information regarding the performance of an individual, group, organization, system or component. It can involve studying processes/strategies within organizations, or studying engineering processes/parameters/phenomena, to see whether output are in line with what was intended or should have been achieved.   Performance measurement has been defined by Neely[1] as “the process of quantifying the efficiency and effectiveness of past actions”, while Moullin[2] defines it as “the process of evaluating how well organisations are managed and the value they deliver for customers and other stakeholders”. Discussion on the relative merits of these definitions appeared in several articles in the newsletter of the Performance Management Association.[3]   Wikipedia – Performance Measurement   The wealth effect is an economic term, referring to an increase (decrease) in spending that accompanies an increase (decrease) in perceived wealth.   The effect would cause changes in the amounts and distribution of consumer consumption caused by changes in consumer wealth. People should spend more when one of two things is true: when people actually are richer, objectively, or when people perceive themselves to be richer—for example, the assessed value of their home increases, or a stock they own goes up in price.   Demand for some goods (especially Inferior goods) typically decreases with increasing wealth. For example, consider consumption of cheap fast food versus steak. As someone becomes wealthier, their demand for cheap fast food is likely to decrease, and their demand for more expensive steak may increase.   Consumption may be tied to relative wealth. Particularly when supply is highly inelastic – or in the case of monopoly – one’s ability to purchase a good may be highly related to one’s relative wealth in the economy. Consider for example the cost of real estate in a city with high average wealth (for example New York or London), in comparison to a city with a low average wealth. Supply is fairly inelastic, so if a helicopter drop (or gold rush) were to suddenly create large amounts of wealth in the low wealth city, those who did not receive this new wealth would rapidly find themselves crowded out of such markets, and materially worse off in terms of their ability to consume/purchase real estate (despite having participated in a weak Pareto improvement). In such situations, one cannot dismiss the relative effect of wealth on demand and supply, and cannot assume that these are static. (see also General equilibrium).   However, according to David Backus, an NYU economist, the wealth effect is not observable in economic data, at least in regards to increases or decreases in home or stock equity.[2] For example, while the stock market boom in the late 1990s (q.v. dot-com bubble) increased the wealth of Americans, it did not produce a significant change in consumption, and after the crash, consumption did not decrease.[2]   Economist Dean Baker disagrees and says that “housing wealth effect” is […]


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