The messages come in many forms. They come verbally from our existing advisors. In print in
magazines and books. Over the airwaves on TV and Radio. Blaring, redundant messages about
managing our money: Hedge funds, mutual funds, bonds, stocks, options...and the list goes on.
Would-be advocates send the message that we need better financial planning, less company
stock, a "balanced" plan. Yet if we look closely we see that these would-be advisors are in the
untenable position of having certain inherent conflicts of interest, namely, that their
compensation occurs in the same coin as their advice - money.
There is a better model. A true wealth model that addresses all our resources and not just our
money. If we look closely at our personal resources we can see that our true wealth, while
supported by our financial means is far more encompassing. Our personal resources include: Our
personality and characteristics, our health, talent, values, principles, habits, family heritage and
our time. They include our intellect, education, wisdom, our reputation and our personal
network. They also include resources that must be effectively employed like taxes, philanthropic
efforts, our tangible financial resources, our business interests and the education of those who
When we apply our energy and intention to our true wealth, all our resources are empowered.
And when led by our personal vision for our future and the future of our families, businesses and
the world, we affect and empower others through our efforts. Conversely if we choose to focus
only on building financial wealth we may well bankrupt other areas of greater importance.
Unfortunately a truly discerning look at even the most elite planning, wealth management, legal
and tax organizations will reveal that there is an underlying conflict of interest in having access
to your financial resources. Many organizations will tout their prowess as providers and
managers of your true wealth yet they fail. They fail because you cannot access their resources
unless they get to manage your money. Try getting a Trust organization or your Private Banker
to help you reach a child outside the family value system if they don't manage your money, and
you will see my point.
Major wealth management firms and banks attempt to convey their financial excellence and
ability to be our family advisors yet rarely will they stay beside us and help find the specialists
needed in the various areas of our lives and businesses. Certainly they want to manage our
money and sell us insurance. Tax advisors may help with tax planning strategy or year end
accounting yet rarely do they dig deep into significant strategies that control taxes over the long
term both personally and for our businesses. Attorney's may be truly talented in the estate or
business planning world but all too often we are at the mercy of their fees and that they believe
they know best how to solve our issues without even knowing our true vision. Rarely will any of
these individual specialists work together or bring in outside tacticians to develop a model that
empowers our true wealth. A common theme is "we know our client's best and we know how to
do great planning." Yet how many times have we seen children derailed by the sudden transfer
of wealth or clearly seen the conflicts of interests underlying a professionals advice?
In the January 2004 issue of Worth Magazine, an article by Dwight Cass, begins with the
following statement: "Our Desire for objective advice and honest dealing is not necessarily in
sync with the banking industry's desperate attempts to draw in and retain wealthy clients." I
submit that we could easily replace the word "banking" in that statement with any of the
following: Financial Services, Estate Planning, Accounting, or Insurance. Try re-reading the
statement yourself while substituting each different service for the word "banking."
And according to a recent study*, business succession and family wealth transfer failure rates are
nearly 70% world wide! Research on the subject indicates that the failures are not due to
governing law or tax systems but rather because our future generations are not being adequately
prepared for these inevitable events. Clearly this is a failure of existing planning models all too
frequently offered by independent specialists. It is, in this author's opinion, a failure to
incorporate visionary planning and collaborative leadership towards common goals of
empowering our true wealth.
In the business world we would not allow such models to exist. We would require a clearly
defined vision and a strategic plan, governed by an "executive team" and implemented by our
specialists. This is how we ensure success in business and it is time we applied the model to our
personal lives and the resources of our true wealth. No longer should we accept advice that fails
to be best-in-class and fails to integrate our ideas for our best life, lifestyle and legacy.
In an effective business it is the charter of a CEO is to lead an executive team and the
organization. This is accomplished by hiring teams of specialists (VP's and Managers) and
employing those specialists, collaboratively, to implement business, marketing, and strategic
plans. By following a powerful corporate vision, setting and managing milestones, and
maintaining accountability models, CEO's effectively empower corporate resources to ensure
they reach their corporate goals.
By applying business principles and a similar model to our personal resources we could create
many interesting and dynamic opportunities and empower our true wealth. Achieving a greater
result would require that we step away from piecemeal specialist models currently employed and
begin to look at life as if we are Chairman of the Board of something far more important than
Since we are, in-fact, Chairman of the Board of our true wealth, isn't it time we applied effective
business principles to our personal vision? How dynamic could our lives and the empowerment
of our resources be if we applied a business model led by our vision?
Establishing such a model would require that we identify one talented advisor or firm to act
solely on our behalf as our "personal CEO." That person or firm would then be chartered to be
our advocate to help us articulate our personal, family and business vision, our goals, and to
create a blueprint for the intentional empowerment of our true wealth. Such a blueprint would
require that we address All our resources AND our money and not just money alone.
A business model led by a clear vision and our own personal CEO, would allow us to identify
and engage the most talented service providers available as our "executive" team. With this
talent on board, chartered to work collaboratively and interdependently, we could identify the
best milestones, strategies and tactics necessary to employ our true wealth for dynamic results.
Wrapped with accountability models and timelines our effectiveness in life and business would
Our true wealth and desire for intentional empowered living will truly come to life when we take
control as Chairman of our resources and employ a properly governed team with leadership that
has placed our best interests first. By identifying your own personal CEO and your team of
specialists to make your vision become a reality, you move away from advice that is inherently
interested in your money and is clearly ineffective. You will create more opportunities to see
your vision come true, free your time from the day-to-day concerns of listening to all the
messages and take a giant step into a much bigger game.