Christopher Vellacott

Christopher Vellacott's Profile

Young, gifted and minted

December 22, 2009
Wealth under wraps?

Wealth under wraps?

Families that inherit vast fortunes are free of the financial worries faced by the majority but suffer their own anxieties associated with the transfer of wealth across generations.

To help the patriarchs and matriarchs find their way in bringing up well rounded offspring in a context of huge wealth, one family office – a minibank managing the affairs of a few rich families – produced a pamphlet of insights earlier this year.

SandAire, founded in 1996 to take care of proceeds from the sale of Provincial Insurance accrued to the Scott family and since expanded to take on 20 more dynasties, explores some of the dilemmas based on a survey of 40 rich families.

A central concern outlined in the 52-page ‘Horizons: Children, Wealth and Purpose’ booklet, is how to keep the generations that inherited wealth, without necessarily contributing to its accumulation, on the straight and narrow.

“A central life challenge for any inheritor of wealth is to seek and find their own purpose in an environment that lacks many of the drivers that stimulate our peers to progress and to develop,” SandAire’s chairman Alexander Scott writes in the introduction.

Some of the respondents put the concerns more bluntly:

“I am worried about her having too much money too quickly and buying drugs and sticking them up her nose,” said one participant of the pressures facing his daughter.

Another widely held concern was how to keep the next generation motivated enough to find a purposeful career when money is no object and the temptation is always there to not work.

“They could be an artist, actor or doctor and I will not oppose any course but I would like their lives to have purpose. I suspect I would be proud of them if they planned and executed a perfect robbery,” said one respondent.

Comments

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