The Family Compass by Jerry Nuerge
Families often lack a compass for navigating through potential distractions. Most high net worth people believe that if they have signed all their trust documents and wills, they have taken care of their future. After all, their attorneys and CPAs have assured them that the maximum amount of financial assets will be transferred to their spouse and then to their children with as little loss to the tax man as possible. Unfortunately, research shows that only ten percent of financial assets make it to the fourth generation.
A family’s values are just as important as those of a corporation, but they receive far less attention. I have found it more beneficial to families to focus on three often ignored components that have the potential to extend a legacy indefinitely:
1) What are your values?
2) What virtues will we pursue?
3) What do we want our family story to be?
Collectively, these are family brand equity, the core of a family’s culture. The values define the family, the virtues build the family, and the story describes the family.
Rather than elevate whatever human values are currently in vogue in our culture, we identify our family’s values based on the evidence of our calendar and pocketbook.
Virtues are frequently underestimated in importance. Aristotle argued that substantial happiness and human flourishing could be grasped only through the virtues. King Solomon stated it this way: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you.” (Proverbs 3:1-3)
The battle of morality is not so much about knowing what is right as it is doing what is right.
The family story is a crucial component. Think of the family story as an ongoing stream of past, present, and future stories of family members woven together. These stories, infused with the family’s values and virtues, provide a sense of identity as well as motivation to not be the generation that weakens the heritage.
Imagine the priceless joy when family brand equity is the focal point of our transfers to the next generation! These assets empower families to live intentionally productive lives for multiple generations.
To learn more about the Center for Family Conversations and the new book, Unheritage, click here.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO JERRY?
Jerry Nuerge is founder and owner of the Financial Independence Group. He is also the creator of the Wealth Integration and Transfer System™, the Generation Connection Process™, as well as the Revenue Retrieval System™. Jerry holds a BBA and MBA degree, holds the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), a Certified Family Wealth Counselor (CFWC), and a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). He is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), and has qualified for its “Top of the Table.” He also belongs to the National Estate Planning Council, the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and is a past-president of the local chapters of these organizations.
Jerry is a member of Kingdom Advisors (KA) and a charter member of the Int’l Association of Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP), which he served as president in 2009.
Jerry has been married to his wife, Sharon, since 1967, and has three children and eight grandchildren, all living in the Fort Wayne, IN area.
Co-author of Family Wealth Counseling: Getting to the Heart of the Matter and author of The Priceless Gift, Jerry is active as a consultant and national speaker.