Engaging the Next Generation in Building Your Family Legacy

From: aefonline.org

LEGACY. It’s more than assets left in a will. It is the values and qualities that accompany those assets and endure across future generations. Family legacies are not something built by parents and then passed to their heirs when the time comes, they are built by families working together to embrace and express a shared family ethos.

Engaging the next generation in your family philanthropy, as early as the teen years, is an excellent opportunity to begin building your family legacy. Charitable giving as a shared endeavor promotes consensus on the long-term mission for family wealth and enables you to further your family mission before wealth transfer. Philanthropy opens up conversations about values, passions and money, providing treasured opportunities for self-discovery, accountability and deeper family bonds.

Building your family legacy through charitable giving takes time, commitment and careful planning. Here are some tips to get you started:

Share Your Story

The historical culture of silence around money leaves many Next Gens without opportunities for exposure and discussion about finances and giving. Be willing to share stories about your wealth and who helped you along the way with their time and/or financial support. Discussing how you got where you did provides important opportunities for your children to learn more about you and your history and values.

Empower Everyone In The Process

Your children’s beliefs, desires and motivations must be heard and must play an equal part in the design of your charitable giving plan. Don’t just invite your kids to the table and explain what you want them to do. Find out their interests and look for ways to incorporate those interests and passions into your shared mission. Your giving plan should establish clear decision-making guidelines, of course, but it must also cultivate shared ownership and engagement. Let this be a truly a shared family endeavor.

Understand Generational Differences

Philanthropy can be as unique as a fingerprint. Don’t assume your way is the only way. Next Gens want and need their own philanthropic identity within the family structure. Millennials and Gen Y’s tend to be relationship focused, impact oriented and values driven. Their approach to philanthropy may be more collaborative and entrepreneurial than previous generations. Allow your children opportunities to act upon their inherent motivations and look for ways to support their unique giving style.

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