These are typical comments we hear from Millennials who will eventually be carrying the torch of the family legacy. They represent the lack of preparedness, skill to engage in productive conversations, and growing resentment that will eventually distance them beyond the point of communication.
The vision of many parents is that after they have gone, what they have built will be used to create opportunity for their children that is greater than what they themselves had. They also hope their children will use what the parents have built to grow and contribute to the wealth, as well as their community--not just grow the wealth or preserve it, but use it to grow the person and purpose.
The gap between these perspectives is where the opportunity for building trust and communication lies.
We ask the question, how can the younger generation be expected to fulfill their parent’s vision and purpose if they have not participated in the plan they will be expected to execute if they have not learned to articulate their own goals, or lack the skills to engage in a potentially difficult conversation?
The younger generations today are at a huge disadvantage. To a large degree technology has stripped intimacy and relationship from their lives. Millennials have grown up in a world where emoji’s express emotion, conflict is handled over texting, and dating happens with a swipe left or right. They have learned that communication and coordination can be done without any face-to-face contact so emotions don’t have to be known. Communication for them happens on their time, when they feel like responding. Most parents have felt the frustration of trying to call their son or daughter, only to find out if they text them they stand a better chance of getting a response.
The Williams Group family meetings are a place to learn the fundamental skills of relationship, communication, and learn to cope with emotions. These skills are more of a requirement than ever before as more wealth is transferring. The offspring of baby boomers are coming of age, and the baby boomers themselves are feeling the pressure to know their wealth will not divide their family.
When the entire family can engage in meaningful conversations, family ties grow stronger. Conversations include:
What role the family members will play as part of a team to ensure the wealth will be a force for good
What and how individual aspirations will be nurtured
What education they would find helpful in learning about their own finances
Learning to express themselves authentically allows family members to be seen for who they are and what they care about. These are the building blocks of dignity, integrity, and most importantly, trust.