Books!

So if there are no blogs really talking about multi-generational wealth (if you find one let me know) how do we do any research? Turns out there are these things called books…

So here’s a list of what I’ve read (or at least started reading) in the past year. These are ordered more or less in the sequence I read them and not in any order of preference. I may do detailed book reviews later but I’m just going sum up the general impressions I got from reading them and a few “best practices” I’ve gleaned from them.

Generational Wealth Books

  • Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan
  • Wealth Grow It and Protect It by Stuart E. Lucas
  • Beyond the Grave by Jeffery L. Condon
  • The Living Trust Advisor by Jeffery L. Condon
  • Good Fortune – Building a Hundred Year Family Enterprise by Dennis Jaffe

The Crazy Rich Asians entry is a bit of a joke but the story line is about inherited wealth especially the last book. I won’t do any spoilers but the plot in the third book resolves around mysterious terms of a will and is probably the biggest lesson all the other books talk about: communication and transparency. Crazy Rich Asians (or the aptly named third book Rich People Problems) is NOT the way to go.

Communication with succeeding generations is the key takeaway for…as Jaffe puts it…building a hundred year family.

Planning is useful…probably more from the perspective of Eisenhower’s quote “plans are worthless, but planning is everything” than in terms of how reality actually unfolds.

More important is instilling a “mission” for the family beyond just accruing more wealth…something that will help keep the family together through shared values.

None of the books provide step by step cook book answers on how to build multi-generational wealth that lasts…especially for those of modest wealth. But they do give useful advice and guidelines. Of these I think the Jaffe book has resonated the most with me since there are a lot of accounts from members of successful families and compiled the list of best practices in a table. Many of there appear in Lucas book as well.

A lot of the stuff doesn’t apply for my family (we don’t own a family business) and some of the best practices aren’t required for this generational transfer (G1.5 to G2) but likely I will implement them anyway just as scaffolding for the next generation. Technically I’m Generation 2 but as an only child many of the to the G1 to G2 issues such as sibling rivalry didn’t apply but is something my kids and kids will have to deal with and also with their grandkids. It’ll be there as a fallback they can modify to meet their changing needs in a world I can’t imagine or plan for in 2020.

Plans are useless, planning is everything…that’s the purpose of the family enterprise structure I hope to build. My personal goal, which is different from the To Be Determined family mission, is to provide the financial infrastructure to give my descendants a lasting FIEFdom.

Finally here’s a quick list of other financial books I’ve read in the past year. It’s an eclectic mix as most of the reading has been online. I think that only Quit Like a Millionaire changed my perception on finance:

  • The Bogleheads’ Guide to the Three Fund Portfolio by Taylor Larimore
  • Think, Act and Invest Like Warren Buffet by Larry Swedroe.
  • What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan
  • Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

Quit Like a Millionaire is a little fluffy and I wouldn’t FIRE on just $1M because most folks (especially me) aren’t frugal enough to live on $40K a year but the whole idea that FI Equals Freedom to pursue your passions and how really useful it is to achieve financial independence early in life and why I want to help my kids and their kids and the kids after that achieve that…preferably without affluenza…

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