Inheriting Wealth (and Problems)

Dave Hutchison, CFA |

In our practice, there is no more important subject to address than the transition of wealth from one generation to another.  The stakes are high, and it’s not easy to pull it off successfully.

On the surface, you could say it’s ludicrous to worry about such a high-class “problem” as inheriting a significant amount of money.  Yet, many of us have heard the saying “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in 3 generations.”

3 things affluent families should consider addressing sooner rather than later:

  • Independence and Autonomy.  Dealing with high expectations in following a highly accomplished predecessor can inhibit a sense of your own identity (would others like me if I weren’t wealthy?).    


  • Entitlement and Lack of Initiative.  Self-explanatory.


  • Alienation and Isolation. Wealth can create a gulf between younger family members and those they encounter in their lives.