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Wealth in Families Paperback – June 30, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard; 2nd edition (June 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978634500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978634506
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Faramarz Rabii on May 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been wanting to read this book for a while. So I was very happy to see it back in print. This book focuses on intergenerational wealth management. A good deal of the focus is on people who have large amounts of wealth, something that would exclude me. But many of the lessons apply to regular people with modest savings. One of the best things it does is to debunk the myth that people should not discuss money with their family. It makes it clear how absolutely essential it is to teach the next generation about wealth, and its meaning. It also helps people understand that the real meaning of wealth goes beyond money and is really one's family and its values. I think anyone with children will benefit from reading this book.
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The author's primary focus is on philanthropy, which is not surprising given his job as senior philanthropic advisor to Harvard University which has the largest endowment of any university. Much of the book is concerned with how to manage trust funds within families, in particular, intergenerational transfer of leadership and training the next generation. So, unless you have a few million in a trust fund, there are other books much better at teaching your children about financial matters.

If you want some benchmarks, the lowest net worth he deals with at one point is $15-30 million where he advocates giving your children $1-2 million (although also suggesting that some families lean towards $3-5 million) If you have greater net worth, he advocates a higher number ($10-15 million per child if your net worth is over $100 million) - but there is no real justification for any of the numbers - nor any suggestions for people with lower net worth.

However, even if you do have significant wealth to pass on to your heirs (and society), this book is probably not the right starting point. Mr. Collier does not have much of his own thought to share as much of the book consists of long quotes from others and interviews with a variety of other authors and experts. It all comes off a bit disjointed, with many ideas not fully developed.

An example: midway through the second chapter, Mr. Collier redefines wealth into four different categories: human, intellectual, social, and financial (the latter is what people typically think of when the word "wealth" is used. Expanding on these could be a major theme of the book but instead, after this brief mention, Mr. Collier drops the topic until chapter 5 (where he erroneously references chapter 1 as the place where he introduced the topic).
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Format: Paperback
In Wealth in Families, Charlie Collier- head of planned giving at Harvard University- raises poignant questions facing families of wealth. The applications of Collier's approach, however, span well beyond wealthy families.

Collier's Socratic, humanistic, and therapeutic approach to consulting, could help any family unit- whether of significant means or not- by helping them to structure a discussion around those issues impeding their healthy growth.

Charlie Collier is a brave pioneer in the world of family wealth planning. Collier takes an indirect, non-judgmental approach to helping families have break-through conversations. Collier's hope is that his approach will unlock answers- by helping his clients to look within their own hearts. Collier makes it clear that he has no 12-step program or silver bullet. He avoids the sophistry of so many consultants and gurus, who falsely claim they have the hidden key.

Collier doesn't hide from the truth that problems confronting every family are a complex and messy layered onion. And that it is only through raising poignant questions, listening, and resisting the urge to cast judgment or explain using neat theories that advisors can help bring about beneficial change for their clients.

Collier's main theory is that family issues, which stand in the way of financial decisions, are always far deeper than money. Barriers to change are the product of complex family dynamics that require time and ardent communication to unlock. Collier believes that as a development officer, wealth manager, advisor, or whatever, the only way to help a family work with what they are up against is to listen, be non-judgmental, and ask the right questions.
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Length: 2:33 Mins
Excellent book for family business owners, single family office professionals, or those entering that space. The parts on governance and philanthropy were most helpful for me.
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It was an interesting read but not what I was hoping for as far as a balanced view of philanthropy. The writers do a good job of conveying the facts but I'm not sure it is a broad enough view of the sector.
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This interesting paperback discusses families and their wealth in a decidedly American context. Financial wealth is derived from entrepreneurial success or prior generation's trust funds. No landed gentry; no vast estates producing wealth for the absentee owners.

Of particular interest is the fact that the author deals directly with the responsibilities of controlling a lot of money. Responsibility to oneself, family and society as a whole. The author discusses situations involving assets of around 12 million or greater but the concepts and lessons embedded in this book apply to any family that is financially comfortable, even those rather modestly so.

There are values, morals and ethics embedded in this book that make us think about money in different ways and, as such, the book is a great success.
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