As individuals and families invest in the causes they are most passionate about, there is a great opportunity to share the experience of philanthropy with loved ones.
At a recent Professional Advisors Network Education session at the Women’s Foundation, Brianna Mooty, Director of Estate and Charitable Planning at Accredited Investors Wealth Management, discussed with our Professional Advisors Network the ways in which families address philanthropy, wealth, and multigenerational giving. Brianna was joined by Ella Daniels, president of the Brown Family Foundation, and Grace Vojta, a student at The Blake School, to share the importance of beginning and continuing a family conversation around wealth and philanthropy.
While the specifics may differ for each family and individual, many families must navigate conversations about philanthropy as they seek to transfer wealth from one generation to the next. The conversation is both important and timely, as studies show that nearly $60 trillion in assets will shift one generation in the next four decades. Studies also show that the majority of intergenerational wealth transfers fail—meaning that the wealth involuntarily leaves the inheritors hands—mainly due to a breakdown of trust and communication within the family.
To increase the likelihood of success, families can make wealth a family discussion. Families struggle to have these conversations for many reasons, and sometimes generational differences play a role. Perhaps the older generation was raised to believe it was impolite to discuss finances, so have not shared much with their children and grandchildren. Younger generations may not impute the same taboo to those topics, and family tension and misunderstanding can arise when they ask their elders questions about wealth. Recognizing some of these personal and generational differences can help families approach these topics more transparently.
Families can ease into the discussion by laying a strong groundwork. While it may not seem related to family wealth, families can have successful conversations by sharing stories about their family history, discussing values that are important to the family, and sharing goals (and perhaps fears) they have for the future. These conversations can give the next generation a deeper connection to the wealth, as well as a feeling of stewardship and purpose as it passes to them.
Some families continue the conversation about wealth by focusing on philanthropy. Older generations can share what organizations they have supported through their lifetime and why, then open the discussion to learn what is important to the next generation.
We commonly see that Millennial and Generation Z philanthropists are not waiting until they accumulate their wealth before they start giving back. They tend to want to give more than dollars—volunteering their time, skills, and connections to an organization, in addition to providing financial support. They are often focused on results and look for organizations that show how they make a direct, meaningful impact.
Conversations around money and wealth can be difficult but, when approached thoughtfully and proactively, can not only set the family up for success but bring members closer together. By connecting the conversation to philanthropy, families can create a lasting and impactful legacy.
Professional Advisors Network
The Professional Advisors Network at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota is growing network of financial professionals interested in helping clients build a legacy, gain financial benefits, and create positive change in our community. For more information about the Professional Advisors Network, contact Lizzie King at Lizzie@wfmn.org or 612.236.1832.
By Brianna Mooty
Brianna Mooty is the Director of Estate and Charitable Planning at Accredited Investors Wealth Management where she counsels clients on estate and tax planning, generational wealth transfer, and philanthropy. She is a Women’s Foundation of Minnesota donor-partner and serves on the Professional Advisors Network Steering Committee. Brianna lives in Minneapolis and enjoys traveling, yoga, and scuba diving.