Saturday, December 9, 2023

Do You Have A Family University?

Life is about the choices that we make every minute of every day. Unfortunately, the speed of communication in today’s technological world, forces us to make snap decisions without a full comprehension of the implications of those choices. Confucius says that “real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” and that “what the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.”

In the biblical story of Solomon, when God asked Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted, King Solomon asked for wisdom. What I find interesting in that request is that King Solomon received three gifts instead of one: wisdom, wealth and fame, and a long life. Sadly, I find that many of our choices today are based on wealth and longevity, not wisdom. Why would we choose only one life gift when we could have three? In my research, spanning several decades, it has become very clear that wisdom is the foundational corner stone to successful legacy planning. So how do we gain wisdom and transfer wisdom to future generations?

If our current attention is solely on accumulating and preserving assets or longevity, then we are building the foundation of our future on quicksand. History has proven that the majority of family wealth, over 90%, is lost by the fourth generation, or our great grandchildren. Yet, we persist with our false expectations that we will generate different results this time around.

If we want to empower our current and future generations, we need a different strategy. We need to create a central resource to capture family wisdom, family values, and provide education to the next generation. Hence, the importance of creating your own unique family university for your family members. It is only by gathering the best resources to pass on family wisdom, important skills, family values, and the secrets to your family and business wealth that a family can break this fourth generational curse. Otherwise, true legacy planning.

The current process used by most families is based on investment management, will planning, legal strategies, estate planning, risk management,  insurance planning, business succession, etc, which are simply respected processes and tools to pass on our assets to future generations. The problem with this approach, if I can use an analogy, is that we have become enamoured with the features of a drill but have forgotten the importance of why we wanted the hole in the first place.

The purpose of the family university is to centralize the resources for family success, in all aspects of life, for the current and future generations. As each family member has unique talents, it is wise to have every family member contribute to the family university based upon their strengths. The family university should preserve the family’s story, photos, videos, and family values. However, preserving the family story, although a very important priority, is just a small part of the family university. The family university needs to also capture the tools and resources that each family member can access to stay up to date on the markets, their business, life skills, and important knowledge on various topics.

You do not need to re-create all the content for the family university yourself. You can simply use links to existing content providers that your family members regularly uses on a daily or weekly basis. Furthermore, you can use any platforms that you desire for your family university as long as those tools work for your family. Just make certain that the platforms that you use are highly encrypted and that those platforms stay up to date with proper security against cyberattacks.

With smart phones, the internet, computers, tablets, and laptops, the family university is now viable for the first time in history. It is portable, easily accessible, and password protected. Imagine having the power of your family university at your fingertips whenever you need it. Let your family university be the foundation to empower your family dynasty for many generations to come.


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