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Asian Family

What Are YOU Building?

Post Series: The Business of Family

With precise or vacillating strategy, movement and decision making, we build a life, reputation, family, circle of friends, and belief system.  We also build relationships, values, debt, and net worth, to name a few. All of these (yes, even debt, a modicum that is, to help you establish credit), in and of themselves, are good things to build.  But, is that all there is?  Will today’s “construction” efforts be enjoyed and bear fruit two or three generations down the line?  What are you building?

What am I talking about?  Well, I’m referring to building generational wealth; and, no, this is not exclusive to money.  Merriam-Webster defines wealth as “abundance of valuable …. resources; abundant supply.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wealth) Now, instead of material things and liquid assets, I am talking about those conditions, processes, business and intellectual possessions, and attitudes that survive and outpace any money or artful skill that we may pass on to our children.  What are you building? (A more poignant question may be, what do your children, family members, and friends SEE you building?)

As proud parents, we are happy to see our children grow up, go to college and graduate, get a job, start a productive life as a contributing member of society, and have children of their own.  And, for whatever reason, that seems to be the pinnacle of our hopes, dreams, and desires for them.  Well,  I’m here to tell you, in my opinion, that that is boring and so circa 1970. We all see what’s going on today. That is, jobs, values, ethics, and morals disappearing and the skills, abilities, innovation and education gaps, and of course the wealth gap, widening.  Here’s something to consider: we need to go back to basics – value by value, lesson by lesson, experience by experience.  What are you building?

With jobs disappearing, start a business – one that sees a need and fills it, one that you can pass on to the next generation (generational wealth), one that supports, contributes to, and builds up your community, and one that does not need to engage in slick and predatory practices to make a profit (Trump U anyone? Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC? etc.).  There are countless businesses out here waiting to be discovered. You just have to watch, wait, and listen, and think outside the box.

Not to be left out are our principles, beliefs, and value systems.  While our children will develop their own beliefs, morals and ways of doing things, remember that we’ve laid their foundation.  So what we build in them will, by all accounts, stay with them long after we’re gone.  From respect, honor, and cleanliness, to jealousy, envy, and laziness, to all the “selfs” that you can think of (self-control, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-absorbed, self-aggrandizement, self-deprecating, self-flattery, etc.).  Also, before I forget, let’s address the pink elephant in the room.  The two-tier value system has to be purged out of our system, toolbox, and wheelhouse. What’s good for one, whether it’s in a personal or professional setting, has to be good for the other.  Remember, who’s watching.

Wait, did I ask this already? …. What are you building? 

(This post is meant to get you thinking about what actions, plans and processes you have in place and to challenge you to change or reinvent what is already established.  Generational wealth is rarely, if ever, a topic of conversation over tea, coffee, dinner or at a get-together.  But, it should be.  And, the few times that it does come up, it’s in relation to money, stocks, and real estate (all of which, there is nothing wrong with).  So think long and hard and …. happy building!) 

(photo credit: pexels.com)



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