During Pathstone’s most recent webinar, “Bring More Intimacy to Your Generational Wealth Experience,” we had the opportunity to partner with the leader of Fidelity’s Center for Family Engagement, Tobias Donath. Through the lens of Tobias’s personal and professional experiences, he provided thoughtful and meaningful ways to navigate the conversation of wealth. He discussed the importance of “intimacy,” and challenged the audience to think about wealth – is it a burden or an opportunity? How do wealth decisions create closeness or distance in our families? – and provided the tools to develop peership and a sense of mutuality in our families when making or discussing financial decisions.
Additional comments from Tobias’s talk are below. To view a recording of this session, please contact your Pathstone advisor.
- From a psychological perspective Tobias shares that the definition of intimacy is “the driving need to be in a relationship with others; having a sense of closeness.” Often families try to disassociate wealth and financial decision-making from intimacy, and by doing so inadvertently cause confusion within their family and create distance.
- Closeness within families is critical in a successful wealth transfer between generations. Tobias describes how financial decisions can either create closeness or distance. The idea is that without including the next generation in the decision-making process, the result will feel more like a burden than an opportunity.
- As advisors, we often hear that parents feel the need to protect their children from the stigma they face from being wealthy. However, Tobias examines that in doing so, parents are not allowing their children the opportunity to do good with their wealth. Wealth doesn’t have to be a burden if conversations can be had across generations and within families.
- When it comes to money, wealth, and estate planning, Tobias stressed the importance of transitioning out of a hierarchy and embracing peership and a sense of mutuality instead. Allow each family member regardless of hierarchy (ex. Age, gender, role, etc.) to have a voice and feel heard.
- It is inevitable that failure can happen, but as stated by Tobias “succession can’t happen if one person is always driving.”