Family Wealth

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The Solari Report – 19 Nov 2009

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On this week’s Solari Report, we will be talking about one of my favorite topics—preserving and growing family wealth—with attorney and family counselor James E. (Jay) Hughes, Jr.

While Jay’s work has been focused on helping wealthy families preserve their fortunes, I believe his insights can also help families of more modest means learn how to build financial security.

Jay is the author of Family Wealth—Keeping It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual and Financial Assets as well as Family—the Compact Among Generations: Answers and Insights from a Lifetime of Helping Families Flourish.

Originally recommended to me by Phil Cubeta who blogs at, Jay’s work has had a profound impact on my thinking about how to address the opportunities and challenges before us.

We live in a world of increasing risk. The family is the most  successful risk management organization created by mankind. Yet many of us have experienced families that have been torn apart by geography and divisions in our society. Jay’s work reminds us of the possibilities and power of what a family can be. His vision inspires us to revive our families as human systems that think and act strategically—together.

“But I am estranged from my family,” some of you will write me to say. “I have no intention of discussing financial matters with my siblings or children.” Truly, I understand the challenges. Please open your hearts and minds to one simple fact—family wealth is the building block of healthy communities, which are in turn  the building blocks of healthy global economies.

Look around your community or county. What is working? Whether it is a great local grocery store or a wonderful local arts council, you will find that its history started with the hard work and funding of a great local family. Despite all the harm done by government programs and corporate encroachment, the health of your place reflects the tenacity and courage of local families whose history is deeply rooted in your community.

If our economy and democracy are to revive, millions of individuals will need to turn failure into success. This means that if you simply want to save the world, I vigorously recommend family wealth as a place to begin.

For some, that will mean helping your own family members navigate the challenges they face. For others, it will mean supporting the efforts of local families who make an important difference in your community. And for some of you, it means incorporating a vision of family wealth into your proposals for reviving our culture and economy.

Whatever your particular interests, a very special person always inspires and revives us. Please don’t miss the opportunity to listen to Jay Hughes.

I will be covering Money and Markets and responding to subscriber questions in Ask Catherine, including my next segment on one of our most popular questions “how do you tell the truth and stay alive?”

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This week’s Money and Markets charts will be posted at the blog on Thursday morning.