Monday, April 02, 2007

Legacy Planning: Family Meeting

Well, we continue our legacy planning. Sarita and I had a meeting three weeks ago with Greg Smith and a guy named Terry Hunt. Terry, it turns out, is a fourth-generation heir of a very large family fortune. He turned my mind a bit--or, actually, a lot--concerning the idea of "giving everything away" as much as possible (rather than possibly passing a [financial] legacy along to our kids).

In essence, he argued for the idea that money in a future generation's hands can be used for good. And we should encourage them to use it for good.

Perhaps the most inspiring comment had to do with enabling our kids to do significant work whether or not they were paid decent wages to do it. Thus, as he said, a member of our family who "bought" our values might be highly motivated to do some deeply charitable work, but without financial backing, they might be unable to do it. With the family's backing, however, they could. . . .

(I am reminded of what we were told while on staff at the U.S. Center for World Mission: that the average "faith mission" missionary has to invest over two years to "raising support" before they can go to the field. How great a "waste" is that of the prospective missionaries' time? [I would say it's a big waste. And a poor use of most prospective missionaries' talents and spiritual gifts. Since when is it reasonable to expect an evangelist, say, to be an effective fundraiser?] And how great an obstacle to them actually gettting to the field? [Major!] How many drop out before they finish raising funds? [Lots!] . . .)

So, Terry suggested, why not provide funds?

He envisioned for us what he says his own extended family is doing. In essence, he said, besides their own jobs, the cousins and kids of the cousins who are older than 21 run a family foundation and a family "company." They hold each other accountable to their family's shared values and operate, in some ways, as a kind of "angel investors" group one for the other. . . .

Anyway. The ideas intrigued me.

But/and Terry's admonitions encouraged me all the more to proceed with legacy planning and the establishment of a family mission statement and vision statement.

I don't want to go through the entire process. But on March 12th, Greg, Terry, Sarita and I worked together to hammer out a tentative vision statement for our family. What we did that day would be a preliminary glimpse at what we intended to do together as a family with our kids on March 31st.

So Saturday, March 31st came.

Let me continue this in a separate post. . . .
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