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Who is in your trust circle?
There exists a group of individuals who hold immense significance. They are trusted advisors, the circle of wagons or professionals that we choose to do business with and trust with our wealth and sometimes even safeguard our well-being. As the saying goes, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”. We can’t choose our blood relations, but we can hand-pick those we trust to be a part of our inner circle.
I recently attended an event where a discussion was held regarding how to recognise the people who rip you off, who discriminate against those with money, who are downright criminals and those who are just mentally disturbed when it comes to money and how to handle it. Some of these people are in our blood-related family.
How do we deal with that? How do we deal with people that are different?
In some instances, the ones in our family that are ‘different’ aren’t any of those things; they are just different to us. We feel threatened by them, and there’s no trust. Dealing with these types of blood relations isn’t that hard. Ask yourself one question – Do they have my, or my extended family’s, best interests at heart, and have I seen enough action to prove this? If the answer is “yes”, then processes, discussion, and planning can handle any other issues. As long as we keep inviting them and they keep showing up, they are family and should be involved in our life. That’s not to say we take their advice without testing it or consulting others.
Now let’s think about the people who aren’t in our family but are in our lives for a period to do damage. And make no mistake, these people exist! Again, ask yourself, does this person have my, or my extended family’s, best interests at heart, and have I seen enough action to prove this? If the answer is “I don’t know”, test it (and not with the family fortune). You can give someone enough rope, and they will hang themselves. These people are normally opportunistic and will incriminate themselves. And if you lose a little or it hurts, just remember to learn from it and be grateful you found out before it hurt those you truly love and want to protect. And if the answer to the question above was “no”, be brutal – get rid of them. And don’t waste time and energy pursuing retaliation unless they could do it to someone else. Being responsible for your family, friends, and wider circle is a duty we should take seriously. We will all benefit from that.
Now going back to a trusted network or circle. You have built these relationships of trust within your wealth, professional, friends and even health circle over a long time. Quite often, these individuals work independently from each other. You may have also had some of these trusted individuals introduced to you by your parents or grandparents. Think about bringing them together! They each form part of your puzzle, story, and journey. Introduce them to your children and beneficiaries so that they can benefit from the relationships you have built and tested. Doing this ensures that your family’s wealth and purpose will continue beyond the present. Be conscious that they may not like everyone you introduce them to; personalities play a big part in whom they will choose to interact with. Your future generations and/or businesses may have different approaches or ideas (and these aren’t all bad) to get to where you are now.
If it’s too hard to do the introductions because of distance, age, or other external pressures, consider engaging a third party/independent person to manage your family office. Sometimes all the above is easier with a neutral person than with family.
If you would like to talk about our Family Office service, please contact me.
“We have used the GS Family Office service for personal and Trusts oversight since 2018. We thoroughly recommend that the service take out all the administrative complexity and risk of error. Debra and her team check everything on our behalf, and with us where appropriate, and they make sure it is paid on time and to the right place. Then it’s all seamlessly fed into the GS accounting and tax services, which saves us a lot of administration.” – Chirs Western, Lawyer