How to Create a Next Gen Wealth Education Plan

By Kirby Rosplock, PhD. , Torri Hawley, MS

Most families struggle when it comes to planning wealth education for the next generation. Often, learning initiatives start informally and don’t get real traction because  there is no formal learning program in place. Initially, parents conduct wealth education in fits and starts. Perhaps the family brings in a consultant or speaker, attends a conference, or the CFO provides an annual review of the company’s financial statements. After the event, interest is high and the next gen is excited, but time passes, momentum is lost, and interest in wealth education wanes.

Knowing when, where, and how to build a framework for intentional wealth education is key to keeping next gen wealth education on track. Follow these steps to create a wealth education plan for your family that will inspire the next gen to become extraordinary stewards of wealth.

Start with Clear Purpose and Direction

The first step of developing a wealth education plan is to define a clear purpose and direction. Just as a mission and vision statement pull a business towards a unified goal, having a clear vision, purpose, and desired outcome for education
initiatives will help align next gens to the importance of wealth education. Simon Sinek, speaker, and author of “Start with Why” wrote, “Achievement happens when we pursue and attain what we want. Success comes when we are in clear pursuit
of Why we want it.”

The “why” drives the education plan through purpose and intent. Anyone planning wealth education should ask, why is education important to where the family is at this time? Furthermore, why should family members prioritize the education that is presented to them? Knowing the why is fundamental to lasting and meaningful education for next gens. Education for the sake of education and checking boxes isn’t likely to win hearts or minds and get the intended result of engaged and competent stakeholders. However, demonstrating how wealth education is an integral piece of their personal development, goals, and ultimately, defining what’s in it for them, drives adoption and engagement.

Determine Motivators and Cater to Competing Priorities

The second step when planning wealth education for your family is to understand competing priorities and the “WIIFM Principle.” WIIFM or “what’s in it for me,” gets to the heart of motivation and engagement. A next gen’s time is a finite resource as they build their career and life both in and out of the family enterprise – thus, the asks of their involvement and engagement should be valuable to them and impactful to the family system.

Identifying the WIIFM for the next generation will be unique to each family, its values, and priorities. Some families use wealth education to build relationships between branches or large shareholder groups, some use education mandates for board participation, while others use successful completion of wealth education programs as a benchmark for family council eligibility. These extrinsic motivators can be a carrot and stick when it comes to initially engaging the next generation, but they lose their impact over time. While prepared and competent stakeholders are important to the family enterprise, this intangible vision is not guaranteed to incentivize the next generation. Instead, to encourage genuine buy-in and lasting engagement, focus on intrinsic motivators to answer the WIIFM question. Perhaps wealth education is an overarching family goal, but individuals set the meaning and importance for their own participation. Consider that each family member is truly different from the next, and some may have different goals depending on their learning capacity, direction, interest, and engagement. Pairing a family purpose while allowing next gens to define their own meaning and success will encourage adoption at the individual level.

Select Effective Administration

The third step is to determine how and by whom wealth education will be administered, or the educational strategy. Ask the fundamental questions regarding “who, what, where, when, and how.” Who are we educating? Where will they learn? Is learning in-person, with a mentor or virtually better suited to family’s schedules? Determine the cadence (monthly, quarterly, etc.), method (in-person, remote, asynchronous), and clearly define success (complete coursework, pass an exam, etc.). Determining the educational strategy sets the stage for the family to focus on learning and keeps momentum moving forward.

Prioritize Learning Areas

Finally, focus on outlining and prioritizing learning objectives. Are there topics that need to be urgently addressed to accomplish ownership or governance related issues? Use urgent items as a starting place for the wealth education plan and to inform the overall curriculum. To aid curriculum prioritization, survey the next generation to see what topics most interest them, and how topics help them to meet their personal goals. From there, plan education and mentoring around those key areas.

Alternatively, provide a pre-selected list of education topics for next gens to explore. After establishing a list of important topics and objectives, create a learning schedule and review it periodically to ensure it is still aligned with the family’s goals. While not every detail needs to be in place, having a clear framework will keep the wealth education plan moving forward.

Planning and executing wealth education for the rising generation can be a monumental task but starting with the purpose and vision can guide the process. Wealth education is a wonderful opportunity to bring the family together and unite around shared vision and values, drive engagement, and move the family enterprise forward.

To get started with your family’s wealth education plan, take our learning assessment here and unlock access to the Personal Education Plan workbook.

Kirby Rosplock, PhD. is the Chief Learning Officer and Founder of Tamarind Learning. Torri Hawley, MS, is the Client Education Manager at Tamarind Learning.

 

 

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