I’ll bet no one would be surprised that family conflicts and broken relationships are not exclusive to the wealthy. Unfortunately, we all experience some form of broken families in all economic strata. However, the amount of wealth a family possesses does seem to greatly magnify both the quantity and the extent of these problems.
I am writing a series of blogs to offer hope. There is no pain so deep that it can’t be removed, and no relationship so completely destroyed that it cannot be successfully repaired—if only one person is willing to try.
In those situations where reconciliation of these family conflicts and broken relationships are not possible, there are some very practical steps to gaining permanent peace and freedom. Regardless of whether reconciliation is accomplished, we all need to find personal peace and learn how to let go emotionally and let the Lord have his way with the person and we simply pray.
SO WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CONFLICT IN WEALTHY FAMILIES?
Not all of a family’s conflicts manifest themselves in intense and on-going arguments. In many cases, conflicts and wounds are held within and never verbalized. Freedom to discuss the conflicts and express the pain is often repressed. In many situations, these topics may even become taboo and are not to be spoken of. Many families have an unwritten rule that some topics are simply off base. In some cases, both parties in a conflict may not be aware that a conflict exists. You can see this may be a multifaceted problem that certainly involves prayer but may involve clarity as to the cause of the conflict. Over the years working with families, we have found that virtually every family conflict and subsequent broken relationship seem to fall into six categories.
1. General Neglect.
Have you ever heard the saying that an asset left unmanaged can become a liability? Imagine buying a home and then ignoring all maintenance for the next 20 years. What will that do to its value? Buy a new car and then drive it without any maintenance for 50,000 miles. Do you think your car will be in good shape?
There is no difference in relationships. My father was never around while growing up and then when out of the home he never called or showed any interest in my siblings or I. What kind of relationship do you think we had with our father? It is a wonder that none of us got into any serious trouble, rebelled or turned to drugs or alcohol.
The very common internal family conflict that wealthy families have is the absence of one or both parents when the children are young. In many cases, nannies or housekeepers are the primary caregivers for the children. This can create serious problems for the children as they grow up and does not create a fertile environment for the children to know or internalize important family virtues and values. If you want to leave a legacy of the heart that passes to the next couple of generations, it is going to require time, presence and transparency.
Typically, these abandoned children become bitter with very little self-worth and at best are looking for the hand-outs they have gotten all their early life. When I was young, the absence of my father had all of us feeling unloved, abandoned, and cheated.
When we introduce a potential client to the Christian Family Legacy Plan, they are typically impressed with our first phase of the plan, Vision. In it, we have the client answer 75 questions to help us understand the husband and wife’s story from early life to the present. Through a day and a half retreat, we go over the answers to the questions to fully understand values, virtues, and attitudes. We dig deep into the relationships and begin to understand the issues, not only about taxes and gifting but also about the relationships in the family. Designing a plan has to do with how we are going to leave our wealth, values, and virtues.
It is why I believe that “Legacy Planning” has so much more to offer than simply Estate Planning. Family legacy planning involves relationships and strengthening the ties in the family so that what passes on to the next generation is not just our money but deep committed loving relationships. It is in this retreat that we discover any assets that have been left unmanaged. These include relational assets as well because human assets can be just as important to manage as financial ones.
We will continue this discussion in our next few blogs. Click Here if you want to understand the Discovery Retreat and why it can be a life saver for families in conflict.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.