How to navigate family wealth discussions

Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2019 by Nicole Fracasso

When it comes to family wealth, communicating any possible concerns can be challenging, writes Crain’s Cleveland Business in their Dec. 2 issue. But learning how to discuss finances can benefit your family long-term.

In this article, financial expert Ron Ambrogio, president of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s Ohio Region discusses necessary steps to help the next generation, the types of business practices that can help build family connections and ways to increase success.

Ambrogio first recommends hosting an annual or semiannual meeting to discuss finances. He suggests beginning with personality tests to determine how each family member makes decisions. These tests can also help indicate each person’s financial knowledge and skill.

"A family should build a team of trusted advisors over time, with each family member forming an independent relationship with the advisors, learning critical skills at a pace that makes sense for them” Ambrogio said.

These advisors can educate the family on concepts such as balancing a checkbook, managing cash flow and understanding investment statements, Ambrogio says.

In addition, Ambrogio recommends implementing successful business practices into the family transition plan. For example, he suggests creating a formal family mentoring program.

“In an effective mentoring program, a facilitator equips the participants with a fully realized plan, including step-by-step instructions, regular checkpoints and suggested activities to help the participants connect with one another,” Ambrogio said.

To increase the success of the transfer of wealth for both generations, Ambrogio recommends utilizing the trusted advisors, or a family council. These people can help determine who the most strategic family members are when it comes to their money.

“Seasoned advisors recognize that each family member has his or her own distinct educational needs, learning styles, interests and technical abilities,” Ambrogio said.

All in all, whether a person chooses to enter the financial industry or embark on a different path, utilizing these skills is beneficial for people of all generations.

Click here to learn what Ambrogio has to say in full.


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