Culture is key. Great businesses, sports teams, colleges, and civilizations are built around strong cultures. Culture is ingrained in all of us at some level. But, what seems lost is the role culture plays in our homes.
In Establishing A Healthy Family Wealth Culture the author makes a few points that we can all use to establish a strong family culture in order to help build family wealth and provide lasting legacies.
Communication is key to creating culture, which is a shared set of principles, attitudes, values, and goals a family lives by.
The power of stories and their importance in allowing older family members to pass wisdom from one generation to the next while allowing for the understanding of preserving and being good stewards of family wealth.
Maintaining a successful legacy over many generations centers around having a shared family vision and purpose.
So how do we do this? How do we make it practical?
Here are a few things that every family can do to create their own culture.
Have a family mission statement. If things aren’t documented, they tend get lost. Writing down a mission statement for your family, making it visible, will keep your family focused. It will give you an ideal to strive for. Make this mission something that can be handed down to the next generation. This is what your family will be known for. How you Achieve the mission will change over time as your family and circumstances change but the mission will never change. It is your true North.
“Honor your father and your mother”. Everyone knows this Bible verse because at some point everyone’s parents recited this to them when they weren’t doing what their parents asked. In reality, this commandment has a lot more depth to it. I think one of the best ways we can honor our parents is to pass down the great attributes that our parents have to the next generation. What traditions, values and goals of your parents do you want to live on well past their lives? Make those a part of your family culture and vision.
Involve everyone in the process. If Dad or Mom are the ones making all the decisions on what the culture and mission of the family will be, you’ll probably get buy-in, but it might not last long. Involve your children, if your children are grown, involve them and their spouses.
Give money away together as a family. One of the best ways to build family culture is to get behind some causes together. Have a pot of money that you give away as a family. Have some guidelines on what types of organizations you want to give to and then collaborate as a family as to where you want to give. Family generosity changes culture and brings strength to relationships.
Maintaining wealth across generations can be just as difficult as creating wealth in the early generations. Does your family have a shared set of values and principles they operate by?