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Family Fortunes: How to Build Family Wealth and Hold on to It for 100 Years Hardcover – July 31, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

How can you build the kind of wealth that will allow you and your children to become the next generation of "Old Money"? In Family Fortunes: How to Build Family Wealth and Hold on to It for 100 Years, father-and-son team Bill and Will Bonner present a radical new way to look at family money along with the practical advice you need to build—and maintain—multigenerational wealth.

To construct a legacy that will last, you need to forget everything you think you know about what it means to be rich (even if you already are). Big houses? Flashy cars? Not so fast. Keeping money in the family involves putting in more hard work, not having more fun. It's a constant challenge, but the benefits can be huge.

Rejecting much of the common wisdom associated with building family wealth—from the mistaken belief that withholding money from your kids will somehow toughen them up to why putting your faith in professional money managers is never a good idea—Family Fortunes presents a game-changing new look at family, money, and how the two can come together in exciting, potentially life-altering ways. To reap the enormous potential rewards of multigenerational wealth, families need to work together, and think about the long term when it comes to investing and other moneymaking opportunities.

Comprehensive and accessible, Family Fortunes shows you how to establish a lasting estate by training and motivating your relations to work toward the preservation and growth of both assets and a family business. Filled with invaluable advice for making money and keeping it in the family interwoven with anecdotes about the authors' own family's wealth philosophy and practices, the book illustrates why family money is the most dynamic, forward-looking capital in the world, and how your family can cash in on it for generations to come.

From the Back Cover

"We welcome Bill and Will Bonner's radical new way of addressing the complexities of intergenerational wealth. The traditional approach has a track record of losing family well-being as well as family wealth. It is time for fresh ideas and systems."
—Susan Bradley, CFP®, Founder of Sudden Money® Institute

The how-to guide to building a family legacy that will last for generations—from bestselling author Bill Bonner

From New York Times bestselling author Bill Bonner, and Will Bonner, comes Family Fortunes: How to Build Family Wealth and Hold on to It for 100 Years, a radical new way of looking at family money and a practical guide to building and maintaining multigenerational wealth.

Revelatory and contrarian, the book rejects almost everything you think you know about building a family legacy, from why giving your children as much education as possible is not a good idea to why charitable donations are generally a waste of money. Filled with real-life stories from families with money, as well as recollections from the Bonners' own experiences, this is the only book you need to keep your money in the family.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118171411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118171417
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard W. Mason on October 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Will Bonner focuses on a 100 year time scape of wealth building, but I saw in the book a lot of things that I can do short term. His advice on no surprises for the inheritors and a thorough review with the inheritors of the why's and wherefore's of the structure of any trusts created looks very sound. The book is well written and quite engaging. I have struggled with at least 6 estate planning books that I never managed to read all the way through. Bonner's book was a refreshing exception to this. I would strongly recommend it whatever the time frame of your financial planning goals.
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By Twin on August 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is a compilation of the writings that have been published to private paying members of their Bonner Family Office service from the last three years. Good advice to build and keep multigenerational wealth, and in particular, how to avoid letting the government steal it and waste it. It also suggests structures to help future generations from squandering hard earned wealth.

It lays the foundation for a family bank to fund new businesses and education, and be independent of the current financial system in its unsound condition.
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Format: Hardcover
Great book, entertaining and informative whether you already have a fortune or plan on building one. The irony of money is that it is only a tool, a means to an end, not really about money but freedom. Ultimately, the most important achievement family money can provide to future generations is a way to communicate and hopefully instill your values. The truth will set you free.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most poorly written financial book I have read in the last decade. Its wandering prose is filled with trite expressions and cliches. Most of the text is opinion stated as fact, yet totally unsupported such as " most charity is a waste of time and money" or that employee morale doesn't matter in a family business..."If employees are unhappy with this approach, fire them".
The book is filled with contradictions. On one hand, the writers repeatedly warns that the greater the hard sell you get on an investment the more you should avoid it. Yet they recommend gold as one of their two best long term bets. You can't turn on the TV or satellite radio without hearing some huckster tout gold. They preach modesty and living under the radar, yet they have written a self-aggrandizing book that brags about the family's success. At his 60th birthday party the author proclaims.." You see before you a man of modest talents and immodest achievements". And this isn't bragging? They claim that the Internet has done nothing to improve the world economy, yet I would wager a tidy sum that the elder Bonner posts his daily blog from his ranch in Argentina using the Internet. Thomas Friedman has written a much better researched treatise on how the Internet has created a world economy. While the authors make a compelling case for buying and holding growth stocks over dividend stocks, they fail to see the contradicting parallel to running an entrepreneurial business versus a family business. If Bill Gates ran a family business where he used the company to extract large portions of the annual earnings to enrich his family, he'd still be working in his garage.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has so many take away messages....

It is an easy read that is meant to direct you to creating business for the writer's company and yet the concepts between the covers are so compelling that I will forgive the authors for appearing contrived. The concepts are very deeply thought out and even though I have been teaching myself many financial and investing concepts for years now, I surprised by the information I was learning at every turn of the page.

I there were many compelling sections of the book. The one section that really stands out was the story about how his Grandparents from eastern Poland survived WW2! There was a lesson in this story as there are lessons for all of us in this book.

The one fault of the book is some of the authors conclusions of why some societies prosper and others don't. There were hints of value judgements that cloud the message of the book. For example the authors suggest that because some African bush tribe doesn't progress from one year to the next that that is a bad thing.

So if you keep an open mind and keep the premise of this book in its proper context, then the book can be a valuable planning resource.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The tone of the book is definitely one of cynicism. I found some of the perspectives different and interesting, but the ideas are over-simplified. For example, the author argues not to give to charity because it is a waste of money and you are probably doing it to feel good about yourself. I believe creating innovative businesses, products, and jobs is better than most charity...but not all charity.

The author also downplays investing in stocks as a wealth builder, but says businesses are good wealth builders. By investing into stocks, you are investing into businesses. The only difference is (1) public vs private and (2) control of management. Highly concentrated bets into rare opportunities to invest into remarkable businesses at great prices is a great way to build a fortune. Buffett is a great example. You must be an investor that spends 40 hours a week doing research if you want to be a good investor, plus have the right temperament. The author says Peter Lynch got lucky. Yes, Lynch was lucky to be investing into a market with +15% annual returns, but crushing it with 29% annual returns over 13 years is not luck. Chapter 7 in One Up on Wall Street is one of the best chapters ever on investing.

I think once family wealth is created, the family should use an approach similar to Yale's Endowment fund to preserve and grow wealth.

I like the comment about marrying the right people as being a big part of wealth preservation. I also like the authors promoting frugality over lavishness. There are some insightful perspectives in the book, but I wish it was less opinionated and toned-down a little.

I agree with other comments that the authors promoting gold as a good investment at the height of its promotion on TV and ads everywhere is puzzling.
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