Monthly Archives: April 2011

Don’t wait to order “Passing Wealth Along to Our Children” from The Inheritance Project

Only 21 copies remain of Passing Wealth Along to Our Children: Emotional Complexities of Estate Planning, published by The Inheritance Project. Once gone, the booklet will not be reprinted. Don’t wait too long!

This article introduces readers to the complexities of creating trusts and wills. The fictional story of Stan and Nancy Blackman illustrates the dilemmas that may arise in leaving wealth to descendants. It has been continuously in print for 15 years. The following is an excerpt: Continue reading


A recent conversation with wealth advisor Franco Lombardo got me thinking  in a new way about people and money: about wealth, inheritance, and how easily inherited money can interfere with being free to live a meaningful life.

And about how to get beyond being stuck in stale beliefs. Lombardo, who advises business-owning families,  has coined the term “Money Motto”:

“We all have tapes about ourselves that play in our head (‘I’m too fat, I’m too skinny, I’m not smart etc.), which often affect our lives in more ways than we realize. Just as we have tapes regarding ourselves, we also have tapes regarding money. Although we may have a variety of tapes regarding money (such as ‘money buys me power, money is a measure of my worth, money allows me to fit in,’ etc.), one usually stands out as a central belief. I call this tape the “Money Motto.” As with the tapes people hear about themselves, a Money Motto can be empowering or destructive. If we do not identify and assess the validity of our Money Motto, we run the risk of allowing it to motivate our behaviour, as it is our beliefs regarding money that dictate most of financial decisions—how we invest, spend, negotiate, and transition our finances. Once you are aware of your Money Motto, you can measure it against your core values and determine if it is helping you achieve what matters most.”


A recent articles in The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, reports on a survey by BMO (Bank of Montreal) of several hundred of its wealthiest clients. When asked about wealth transfer, “only 58 per cent said they were confident their children would be able to properly manage the money left to them.” Andrew Auerbach, head of BMO Harris Private Banking, commented that “It’s not so much doubting the capabilities of the children. It’s simply that they haven’t really thought in a deep way as to what that [managing their inheritance] will look like.”

The banking sector has started calling wealth transfer “transliquification, ” meaning that “once the wealth is transferred, it will be ‘liquefied’ by their children.” Continue reading

Joseph Stiglitz article in “Vanity Fair” magazine on the richest 1% of Americans

In the current (May, 2011) issue of Vanity Fair magazine an article by Joseph Stiglitz a prominent economist and Nobel Prize winner, writes about “an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.” Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% explores the growing wealth gap between the superrich in America and everyone else: “It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. … Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. … While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall.” Continue reading

Brand new “Atlantic Monthly” article on the “super rich”

An article by Graeme Wood in the current (April 1) issue of the Atlantic Monthly, entitled “The Fortunate Ones,” offers a juicy glimpse into a not-yet published book by Boston College’s Center for Wealth and Philanthropy. I interviewed Paul Schervish, Director of the Center, in 1993; Schervish is a sociologist who has devoted much of his life to studying the very rich in America. The forthcoming book distills responses from 165 respondents who, according to Schervish’s criteria, are “super rich,” meaning that their net worth is $25 million or more. In In 2009 approximately 115,000 such households met this extremely high benchmark.  This figure has undoubtedly risen since that time.

The respondents include investors and entrepreneurs and inheritors. Continue reading