Intentional wealth is what you strategize or plan in order to increase your worth and to pass on your wealth to the next generation and/or to support philanthropic purposes.
There are two different aspects of intentional wealth:
- keep/amass, and
- pass on to someone or something else.
In the first part, The Cecily Group helps a client identify areas where there is a drain on wealth: where performance is not there, or costs are too high. Then together with other experts, we look at the tax and legal-driven structuring of their wealth. That is the more traditional family-office side to our work and the more well-known aspect of wealth intentionality. The lesser-known aspect is the second aspect: helping clients devise plans to go about distributing their wealth with a plan, intention, or strategy that is more than just leaving it to the heirs, to decide what happens next. Instead of just “letting it happen”, clients can take an active role in determining what happens with their wealth. When you have those two parts covered—how to amass wealth and how to spend it, we come to the four abundances. Strategizing your investment in the four abundances is the key to successful wealth intentionality.
What Are the Four Abundances?
The abundance of money: How can I keep and create more money?
The abundance of time: How do I want to spend my time?
The abundance of relationships: How much do I want to invest in relationships?
The abundance of purpose: What kind of legacy do I want to shape? Will my wealth stay within the family, or do I want to invest in philanthropic purposes? How does society see me and my family?
If you are interested in more information concerning the four abundances, please see my blog on the subject.
What do we here at The Cecily Group do to actively support your decision-making process about the four abundances?
Abundance of Money
Our contribution to your efficiency is made through a combination of objective assessment tools and critical judgments based on years of family office experience. We will:
- Analyse your investments with a sophisticated reporting tool to investigate and improve the efficiency of your asset managers
- Write an Investment Policy Statement that aligns the asset managers to a strategic goal you want to achieve (the important thing is that the client formulates/develops the strategic goal that is to be achieved, together with the asset managers) For example, questions may come up that need to be addressed, but you may otherwise never have the opportunity. The process of creating an Investment Policy Statement also brings up other issues, like the ethics of investment – are there areas you do not want to invest in, or especially want to invest in?
- If desired, we create a “bird’s-eye-view” report of all of your investments, enabling you to compare and contrast the performance of various banks and asset managers
Abundance of Time
We give you back the time you need to focus on proactive strategy development:
- By organizing the mundane tasks of caring for your wealth. Instead of relying on reactive tactical maneuvers, you can move on to implementing a real strategy that moves you and your whole family forward. You can focus on the bigger picture instead of getting mired in the details of small, time-consuming administrative tasks. We achieve this by seeing where processes need to be put in place or changed, and recognizing where staffing needs to be increased or reorganized.
- Where necessary, we assist clients in delegating smaller tasks to trusted partners, who also will be reviewed by us to assess their effectiveness. Nitty-gritty details can then be accomplished by trusted and competent helpers, which gives you the time to focus on crucial strategic planning which would otherwise be left to chance, and the opportunity to start thinking about your next project.
Abundance of Relationships
We help you invest in and solidify financial and personal relationships that create a network of responsibility:
- We look closely at how to get a financial advising team together that clicks, that has a good dynamic. We look for good working partners with a sense of teamwork. We watch closely and guard against bad relationships where you end up with the bank vs. the client, as opposed to the bank working with the client.
- We look for banks that see the bigger picture and make changes to your structure where necessary.
- We look for asset management services that take a long-term view and want to keep client relationships for years.
- Through our Family Council Module, we help you to maintain good family relationships and cope with the strains of dealing with the special family circumstances related to wealth acquisition
Abundance of Purpose
Our Family Council Module provides you with a structured pathway to develop a vision for your family’s wealth:
- We help you develop a Family Council to think about the values your family holds dear, and develop strategies to support and further develop those with the interest of all family members in mind.
- We conduct a personal assessment of the unique abilities of family members. We then help the family to answer the questions: Where do we set our unique abilities into motion, and where do we need to get others in to fill a gap in abilities, to support our financial well-being?
All of these points illustrate how we help families find their wealth intentionally.
Here are a few examples of how we have already helped families achieve wealth intentionality:
- Our reports revealed weaknesses in a client’s structures that were subsequently addressed, which led to a decrease in the costs of asset management for that client by 0.5% per year and increased performance by 0.6% per year – resulting in a total increase in net performance of 1.1% per year.
- The introduction of an Investment Policy Statement to the investment structure of one family led them to become more aware of social investing. They began to make sure that their investments aligned with their values. They discovered certain parts of investments they held that they weren’t even aware they had—that did not align with their values. With our help, they transformed those investments into investments in another area that was more in line with what they believed to be important for the future. Their asset managers are now actively incorporating knowledge of these issues into their investment strategies. Their managers now also discuss these topics with them, to find the areas they do not want to invest in. We now also have filters active that indicate when there is an investment into questionable areas within larger products, and these investments are discussed with the client before the transactions are finalized. The positive result is that the family now takes a more active role in their investments, and can feel good that their money is being used in appropriate ways.
- We created a “virtuous circle” of activity by matching a client’s philosophy to a manager’s philosophy. We have helped a client to find an asset manager that matches his vision and way of thinking, without being too close personality-wise to the client himself. Finding a virtuous circle where one can help the other is a crucial part of what we do. Managers and clients need to complement each other. They need to agree on a common set of values, but it is better if they have different strengths so that there is a balance and an exchange of ideas within the framework of agreed-upon values—instead of stale agreement and reliance upon tradition alone for core decision-making. This step was crucial to the client’s philanthropic goal because he needed help he could trust to fulfill that goal—no one can undertake such a large venture alone.
- Assisted a client in formulating realistic entrepreneurial goals for his child. The entrepreneurial journey can be a positive experience for everyone. We helped a client set realistic goals and find the resources for his child for an entrepreneurial journey. Just giving money would not have been enough. There were other aspects besides money that were necessary to achieve his business goals, and we assisted in organizing those components.
Ultimately, we as a company serve as a resource for wealthy families to build their legacy from early on (not at the last minute) and to do this as intentionally as possible. When you work with The Cecily Group, you will know that you’ve got a plan—once we’ve helped you set up your structures, you know what you want to do and how to get there. Your family members know and recognize the value of your vision for your wealth, understand that you want to keep the wealth together rather than splitting it up, and have reached an agreement with you on how to go about growing that wealth.
We help you set the cornerstone for building a legacy that can be passed on from one generation to the next, whether through a family council or a philanthropic structure such as a foundation.
Ultimately, the values and vision will change: We enable you to build an adaptable framework for your wealth that will actively change with the times. We help you to make it as future-proof as possible, either for the next generation or to see your philanthropic intentions carried out even after you have moved on to your next project.
If you start the process early on, you will have a structure that is based on shared values (not just the principal investor’s values) and so, in binding the whole group together, reducing risks for the time of wealth transfer.
When it is time to pass the wealth on, you will feel confident that your wealth will be retained and used in a meaningful, beneficial fashion.
Also, wealth intentionality reduces the risk that beneficiaries will be attacked and disinherited by legal actions. If you truly build the house of your values together and put in everyone’s ideas, no one will want to tear it down. By working with The Cecily Group and relying on our years of experience, you can achieve those goals for the wealth you have been dreaming of.
“If you truly build the house of your values together, and put in everyone’s ideas, no one will want to tear it down.”