The Money Workshop Provided Habits these Participants will Model and Strengthen

I recently conducted a financial literacy workshop with an associate of mine, Charlotte Lamp, PhD. It was for a 4th generation of a family with a family business. The 4th generation’s exposure to money was through the lens of the dividends of the family business and this was a concern for the second generation. The second generation had two main concerns.

First was the dependency on the business dividends. At one time the dividends of the family business were enough for the second and third generation to live on. As a result some of the family members were living entirely from those dividends. This was a problem because their industry had taken a down turn and dividends had to be cut…in half. You can imagine the pressure this was putting on the business to “be there for the family.”

Second, the fourth generation was building a sense of entitlement. The family business was their money source. Why should they be expected to do more for money? As a result the second generation was concerned about the level of stewardship and responsibility succeeding generations had to being stewards to their money and to the family business.

The goal of the workshop was to introduce the concept of money in a meaningful and tangible way to the fourth generation.

Our workshop went very well with an educational component on my 5 S.I.D.E.S. of Money© concept. The importance, relevance and the three ways to ensure you save, invest, donate, earn and spend were introduced. Examples were used, ideas were fostered, and most of all the participants learned and helped each other discover benefits to themselves of the 5 S.I.D.E.S of Money©.

This was followed by an interactive exercise which the three teams we put together played. The objective of the exercise was for each team to build a house with the money and objects given them. That part was fun. That part created team work among some members of the family who didn’t know each other. The teams engaged well with each other, integrating their family’s values and individual talents and strengths to their team.

But there was a twist.

During the building of their house the banker would come in with “Life Happens Cards”©. That twist created nuances in each team.

One team decided to focus on investing and did a great job with the risks they took, especially when they were faced with the “Life Happens Cards© that created setbacks. Another team decided to save money as the cards they received created so many challenges. They quickly learned that saving money would best prepare them for life’s challenges. As a result, when times were good for them, they were able to assist a team who ran into short-term financial difficulty. The third team decided, as a result of the cards they picked, that relationship building with the banker was vital in times of setback and that being involved in their community philanthropically would be important in strengthening their relationship with their community.

It was an incredible experience to be able to see these teams work together and create their own genuine purposes for their exercise. It was gratifying to hear them say
• how important it is to save money, because you don’t know what challenges you might face
• how powerful investing can be when done with a good strategy in mind
• you have to earn money to be able to use money and even if it is gifted money, someone had to earn it
• when you have extra money, beyond your needs, savings and investing, it is important to donate money to help the community

Money is a powerful tool. Providing family members with an opportunity to foster family harmony and friendship was a powerful idea with a productive outcome. I highly recommend this for any family.

This fourth generation enjoyed a lesson some of them will never forget, and for some a discovery about their own habits with money they want to model and strengthen.

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