Every Minute $2.3 Million is Inherited

Thomas William Deans Ph.D.
April 9, 2024
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To say that the great wealth transfer is under way would be stating the obvious. But what most people, including people in the business of managing other peoples's money under appreciate, is the magnitude of this wealth shift.

Every minute an estimated $2.3 million is inherited in the US and Canada combined - for math nerds that $38,000 a second or $3.3 Billion a year. That's a lot of money moving at the speed of death. The leading edge of the most affluent demographic in the history of our planet -- The Boomers (born between 1946-and 1964) are turning 78 years-old this year.

Before delivering my keynote on intergenerational wealth transfers to this mutual fund company or that advisory firm, I like to ask my client to explain their vision, mission, goals, strategies and tactics specifically as it relates to intergenerational wealth transfers.

The answers I'm getting back can best be described as deeply vague -- usually a hodgepodge of tactics, like "we always make a point of including spouses in portfolio reviews." Okay good start, but for firms to prosper in the age of The Great Wealth Transfer, real leadership starts at the top, by acknowledging that what got them where they are is not going to get them to where they want to go, because the rising generation of inheritors have their own set of ideas about who, how and where they'll invest.

A firm's clear vision to assist family wealth transfers provides a long-term direction, the mission defines the organization's purpose, goals specify desired outcomes, strategies outline broad approaches for achieving goals, and tactics detail specific actions for implementing strategies. Together, these elements should form the foundation for effective organizational planning and management of intergenerational wealth transfers.

When I split tested my manuscript for my latest book The Happy Inheritor, one sentence elicited the most feedback from non-advisors --in other words clients: "wealth management isn't about building wealth, its about building families." I dug deeper and it turns out that in the minds of clients, growing wealth is table-stakes, building a high performance family is an entirely different conversation that requires new advisor skills.

I'll have more to say about advisors offering facilitated family meetings. Let's just say that if the leadership of investment firms/ insurance firms/ financial planning firms aren't training advisors to facilitate these meetings and also forging close strategic relationships with consulting firms who offer family meeting facilitation services, they will soon be on the wrong side of history. Every second a firms dithers to define their generational wealth vision, another $38,000 is inherited - 80% of which will likely moving to a new firm.

Family members who inherit and are happy because the process was well-designed by a trusted advisor, almost always remain loyal to the firm -- that's The Happy Inheritor: How Successful Families Prepare Heirs and Transition Wealth . Order your copy: www.TheHappyInheritor.com/books