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…

FIEF not FIRE

In my first post I said that I didn’t believe in FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early). Folks that really retire early (in the classic sense of not working anymore) probably don’t have the drive to get the FI part done.

What you find in the FIRE world is a lot of “retired” folks diligently working on their side hustles, managing property, writing books and building their FIRE site. Which is great but it ain’t retired.

So FI doesn’t equal Retire Early, instead FI Equals Freedom (FIEF) to do what you want…which is even better! This isn’t some new concept even within the FIRE community. The Retire Early is what folks focus on but it’s really the Financial Independence part that’s important. Even the term FIEF appeared in a list of alternative acronyms. I work for NASA so we do loooove acronyms. And I like FIEF because the way to FI is to build yourself a little financial fiefdom that generates the money that allows you to do what you want instead of what you need to do.

Feudal Fiefdom vs Modern FIEFdom

In a feudal system you were granted land to support your lifestyle, either as a reward or in exchange for service (as say a Knight). Serfs would work the land so you could pursue other endeavors, whether that was art or politics or the ability to ride a horse and swing a sword. The land was often hereditary and passed from generation to generation (more on this in another post).

In a modern FIEFdom we replace serfs with money…and using the adage of using money to make more money. That’s the whole passive income gig and the path to financial independence. You don’t necessarily stop “working” but you do get to do whatever you might want to do instead of grinding a 9 to 5 career…including spending your time learning how to ride a horse, swing a sword and working at Renaissance Festivals as a career.

So not only do we have a four letter acronym that spells a real word but we have a corny slogan to use (“building your financial FIEFdom!”).

Win.

Author’s Note: It’s probably very obvious at this point that the site is rather unpolished. I prefer to say that it’s a “soft launch” since there is no SEO, graphics, logos and any attempt to drive any traffic here. I’m creating content for the real launch and the content that’s here is subject to editing, rearranging and even deletion. If by some miracle you found this site, well, welcome and pardon the dust…