color-chris-eIt is far too common for people to think that creating and maintaining wealth is their purpose, rather those activities being for their purpose. The purpose for your wealth can be a challenging topic to discuss with your family or your advisors because it is entirely personal. There isn’t a “right or wrong” or a “better or worse.”Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to listen to many families describe their intended purpose for their wealth. Here are some vignettes of people we’ve talked to and how they described their wealth’s purpose:


  • Diane and Dan are in their late 50s. Diane is the CFO of a large publicly-traded health care company and Dan is a physical therapist. They have one son, a recent MBA graduate now embarking upon the “real world.” Between Diane’s perpetually-busy corporate travel schedule and Dan’s long hours helping patients, they are looking forward to their planned retirement in five years. They are focused on continuing to grow their wealth over their remaining working years so they can renovate a home in Napa Valley and live a retirement lifestyle that includes the leisurely study of Pinot Noir and artisan cheese.


  • John and Judy are in their early 70s, have two children in their 30s and five young grandchildren. John spent 25 years running the manufacturing company that his father founded, and eventually sold it five years ago. Given the company’s long history of success, John and Judy have no concerns about their ability to maintain their desired lifestyle. Their focus is on using their wealth to create opportunities for their future generations, such as helping their children start business ventures and funding their grandchildren’s education. Through these efforts, they hope to perpetuate the legacy that John’s father started for generations to come.


  • Jim is single, 55, with no kids. He founded a technology company 20 years ago and grew it into a successful global enterprise that he is currently in negotiations to sell. Over that time, Jim developed a passion for tutoring and helping children improve their math and science skills. In addition to supporting his own lifestyle, he wants to use his wealth to fund exploratory, “cutting-edge” education initiatives in a number of schools in his city.


  • Brian and Sara have been “serial entrepreneurs” for their entire careers. Between the two of them, they have managed to start, manage and successfully sell over a dozen businesses, while also raising twin daughters who recently graduated from college. Brian and Sara love the excitement of getting a new business off the ground and want to make sure the wealth they’ve accumulated is available to support their lifestyle while also continuing to fund new ventures for at least the next 15 years.


Most of us have a fairly clear understanding of how much wealth we have. But what’s it for? Maybe your purpose is similar to one described above, maybe it’s entirely different. No matter what your specific purpose is, understanding it and uniting it with your wealth is our ultimate value proposition.

What’s Your Wealth For? Questions to consider.