The Business of Family – A SavvyReview and Giveaway

The Business of FamilyThis second SavvyReview takes a look at The Business of Family: How to Stay Rich for Generations by Linda Davis Taylor. Taylor is the CEO and Chairman of Clifford Swan Investment Counsel, the nation’s oldest investment advisory firm, in Pasadena, California.

A participant in a fourth generation family business, she is a frequent speaker on wealth transition, family governance and philanthropy. Her versatile career includes stints in senior leadership positions at multiple colleges and she has served as a trustee for numerous educational and non-profit organizations.

I was excited to read this book as generational wealth is something I have given a lot of thought to recently, speaking about the topic not only with my wife, mother and daughter, but also with cousins as I explore ways to ensure future generations of my family are well positioned to attain – and maintain – wealth.

The first thing that caught my attention upon receiving the book from the author’s publicist was the size of the book. At less than 200 pages, it isn’t a 5″ thick tome and I was able to read it in less than three days. Nice! However, don’t be fooled by the thinness of the book. It is packed with useful information.

How do families go about building and maintaining wealth? That is the central question the book seeks to address. The question has challenged families for many generations. Unlike an entrepreneur that develops and executes a detailed strategy for ensuring financial success, Taylor notes that most families do not have a detailed strategy in place and that is exactly what they need.

The book is conveniently broken down into five sections. Early in the first section she notes that over 70% of wealth doesn’t last beyond three generations; and she observes that making money is only one part of the equation, keeping it is the other. The first step in doing both? Having a strategy. Taylor notes that starting a business takes more than a dream; it requires a well-thought-out strategy. The same goes for families hoping to achieve – and maintain – financial success.

Getting the family on board is discussed in the second section. Just like a business, the recommendation is that families should forge partnerships, set goals and celebrate milestones and there should be established roles/responsibilities for each family member. As someone who firmly believes in tracking meeting minutes, it was interesting to see that Taylor shared the agenda for a client’s first meeting. The agenda covered multiple areas including: mission and membership of the family council, review issues for the future meetings, an open discussion and a wrap-up.

The third section addresses something discussed quite frequently here at RetirementSavvy, financial literacy and education. Taylor notes that just as an educated workforce is necessary for fueling long-term growth in a business endeavor, the same is true for a family. Beyond financial education, Taylor recommends that families get along to get ahead and continued guidance and mentoring take place in the family. Sounds like solid advice to me.

With a solid foundation in place, the suggestion is that families turn their attention to staying on track, both with respect to their finances and the family. As Taylor notes, the wealthy know their family and their money are not mutually exclusive. Taylor concludes the book by advising that families establish a long-term plan that adequately prepares the next generation.

For anyone that has given thought to building wealth that extends well beyond their own life, understands the importance of advocating for financial education throughout a family and the importance of involving all family members in the discussion, planning and execution of financial goals, The Business of Family: How to Stay Rich for Generations serves as an excellent guide. It is well written, organized and comprehensive in its approach. It provides enough detail without being overly long or too technical in its presentation.

As a thank you to RetirementSavvy readers, I will be giving away a complimentary hardcover copy of the book to a reader. The winner will be randomly selected from those who leave a comment. For those readers not fortunate enough to receive the complimentary copy, The Business of Family: How to Stay Rich for Generations is available at Amazon in Kindle and hardcover formats.

The Giveaway will end, and the winner selected, at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, July 26th.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

26 Comments

  1. Thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely be looking for this book. Just in the past few months I have started to shift my focus from accumulating wealth on a personal level to trying to figure out how my extended family can build a sustainable plan for ensuring the success of future generations. This looks like it was written for me.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I have recently begun to focus on extending and maintaining wealth beyond myself and my wife. The book is well written and worth your time. Thanks for stopping by an adding to the conversation. Good luck and see you here on Sunday when the winner will be selected and announced.

  2. Interesting post, and it’s always interesting to hear about how wealth has changed from generation to generation. It seems like today there are more tools and services catered towards wealthy families to KEEP them wealthy indefinitely. With that being said, there are more ways to waste money today than in the past. You can literally spend millions from your bedroom on your phone.

    • Thanks for stopping by, DC. I believe you are correct on both counts. There is a real effort by the wealthy to grow, and hang onto, what they have and as a nation, our appetite for ‘stuff’ is insatiable and easier than ever to get … whether you can really afford it or not.

  3. Oh man, I’m the third generation of wealth, I hope I win this book because I don’t want to be the one who dwindles the wealth to nothing.

    • ” … I hope I win this book because I don’t want to be the one who dwindles the wealth to nothing.” Ha 🙂 Indeed, the pressure is on, my friend! Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.

  4. Looks like a great read. My family isn’t the best when it comes to finances. I want to be the one that gets the ball rolling for generational wealth.

    • Definitely a worthwhile read. As I noted in the post, I have been giving quite a bit of thought lately to building and then maintaining dynastic wealth. Thanks for dropping by and make sure you swing by next Sunday when the winner will be selected and announced.

  5. Every calculator I have even done in the past year says I will have enough for 3-4x my spending. And in 352 days, I will get to find out.

    • While I have a few days more than you – about 3663 in fact – most of the calculators I have used (and the one I have developed myself) indicate something similar, about 3x more than I believe I will need in retirement. It would appear as if your retirement planning/execution is going to pay off handsomely. Congratulations!

      Have you actively planned for sustaining generational wealth?

  6. I know of family meetings, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see what happens in a family meeting. It sounds like a good read.

    • It is a good read; certainly worth the time. The issue of generational wealth is an important one that all families should be discussing. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware, most families don’t talk about money.

      Thanks for dropping by and make sure you return next Sunday when the winner will be selected and announced.

    • Congratulations. You have been selected as the winner of this giveaway!

  7. I read an article this AM. The writer’s point; how we spend or use money is a result of what we witnessed growing up in our households and whatever lessons we learn (or didn’t learn) gets repeated in adulthood.

    Families share a lot, but when it comes to money it is almost taboo. I know my mom & dad, sister & brother in law are smart with money. They’ve been through ups and downs like most of us, but neither of us have had conversations about what we’ve done, what we’re doing or how to help each other.

    • I know exactly what you mean. My experiences, both prior to running this blog and in the time I have been running this blog and wrote the first book, is that talking about money is taboo … even within families. As you know I have covered the topic more than once in various posts on this blog. It can’t be stressed enough, one factor in attaining and maintaining wealth is to open our mouths and talk about money. As an adult child, one aspect is to talk with your parents as they age, to first, ensure that their monthly living expenses are covered and second, to understand what their wishes are with respect to their money – and other assets – when they pass (I have done both). Some families talk about/address one or both of these first two aspects. Very few families consider and proactively engage in the third aspect, generational wealth (I have recently started to consider and act on this aspect). Hopefully everyone that reads this post does more than just give thought to generational wealth, hopefully they act decisively!

  8. This sounds like a very worthwhile read. Thanks!

    • It is. Thanks for dropping by. You are in the Giveaway. Good luck!

  9. Entering! Really, really hoping we’ll be able to use her advice in the future.

    • You’re in, my friend. She provides some pretty good guidance. As I noted in the post, the idea of long-term family wealth is something that has been on my mind lately. I feel as though the wife and I are exactly on the path we need to be. My focus now is on helping family find that same level of financial comfort. Make sure to drop by next Sunday when the winner will be selected and announced.

  10. I agree with Kyle , financial literacy is the key . The issue for me (like Kyle) is getting the point across to family members . I also remain hopeful that more of the immediate family will get involved .

    • Good to hear from you again, Brad. As we have discussed previously, getting family members adequately engaged can be quite the challenge. You’re in … make sure to drop by next Sunday when the winner will be selected and announced.

  11. Sounds like a great read. I think it’s so important to teach our children as much as possible about money as they begin their financial lives.

    • It is a pretty good read with some useful information; and there is no doubt that financial education for the children (grandchildren) is essential. Thanks for dropping by, Brian and be sure to drop by next Sunday when the winner will be selected and announced.

  12. Looks interesting. Count me in!

  13. I think financial literacy is at the very core of generational wealth. My friends and family don’t have much financial literacy. I think we both started off writing our blogs for the same reason, wanted to teach friends and family how to manage money. I don’t think I’ve had too many people listen so far, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop. One cousin, sister or even my dad get into reading and researching it could change their life.
    Hopefully we will spark a few generational wealths other than our own.

    • Great, great feedback. No doubt in my mind that the key is improved financial literacy! Our experiences are definitely similar. In fact, I wrote a pretty lengthy post on the topic around the time of the blog’s one-year anniversary. Fortunately, my immediate family is on board and we have conducted detailed family financial meetings. While the interest level of extended family (e.g. cousins) has only risen moderately, I remain hopeful 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by and kicking off the conversation, Kyle. Make sure you check back next Sunday when the winner will be selected.

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