Skip to main content

What is a Spripe? And other key terms you should know.

This month I hope we share this time together wisely by defining a few terms important to the language of family enterprise.

In working on the League of Heirs, I came to realize that there is not a term that properly defines our target market: the enlightened, responsible wealth stewards that intend to meaningfully contribute to their family legacies.

About the same time as realizing this new term needed inventing, I joined Reddit’s fatFIRE community, a public anonymized space that I find worthwhile  to discuss legacy-scale wealth topics.

For my anonymous Alias, I wanted a name that properly conveyed my perspective; where my comments would be coming from.

I come from very spoiled beginnings; the more I meet wealthy folks the more I realize how high up the “spoiled” spectrum I sit!

Growing up, my mom often used the line, “you’re spoiled not spoiled rotten”. I always identified with that, and nothing frustrates me more than those spoiled rotten types; the anti-heroes. They lean into comfort and luxury and are all-too comfortable making a marginal (or negative!) impact on their world.

I wonder how often these people look back on their lives with regret.

And then the Alias hit me and with that, the new term!

I went with “Spoiled_Ripe” for my Reddit user name. I like to think that I’m doing my best to live up to my mom’s “spoiled not spoiled rotten” goal.

And the new term needed to describe our tribe of privileged, responsible, intentional wealthy folks?

How about a “Spripe“:

Spripe n. plural Spripes a person that uses the resources available from their wealth to improve their well-being and those they care about.

Spripes of course come with varying degrees of engagement within their family enterprises. Not all Spripes become or even aspire to become Family Champions.

And what is a Family Champion? This is also a clearly defined term by Dr. Joshua Nacht, who wrote his PHD thesis on the concept. A Family Champion is “a visionary catalyst who brings new energy into the family enterprise to support the family ownership advantage.” I describe Family Champions as natural collaborators and strong communicators that ensure family principles are both known, through storytelling, and are also effective through governance adaptations and a willingness to stand up for what matters to the family.

Two great resources regarding Family Champions:

FEX’ summary and an interview with Dr. Nacht.

A few other roles came to mind that you, dear Reader, might enjoy. Especially if these terms are new to you:

Personne de confiance. A term Jay Hughes uses often and lovingly to describe a family outsider that is entrusted with key information and is afforded the opportunity to deliver advice on key family matters. A similar but heightened role to a “Trusted Advisor”.

Elder. Elders hold key wisdom and are willing to sacrifice personal ambition for the betterment of the family, and other tribes like Indigenous Bands. They work on conveying that wisdom to younger family members. They are also critical to the family culture in conveying the historical family stories and the principles and values embedded in those stories. .

Rising Gen. Replacing the term “Next Gen” to describe a younger generation than the older generation (typically in positions of greater control). The term “Rising Gen” fits better in large part because these generations aren’t “former” and “next”; families must balance the needs of multiple generations of wealth stewards that want to participate in family leadership whom have decades-long overlapping prime leadership years.

Black Sheep. As opposed to former family members that no longer have affinity for each other, in which case the person outside the family is simply a former family member. A Black Sheep is different than most of the other family members, the flock still includes them and appreciates their diversity of opinions. However painful that opinion may be 😉

Seven Generation Families. The objectively held goal that a meaningful family legacy occurs when a family considers the impact of their decisions on the family’s culture seven generations into the future.

While I have other terms I love to use, I will leave this Newsletter with a perspective on one last key term.

The Wealth Equation:

FW = R (HC + RC) 

(Your wealth is the product of your resources, your human capital and your relational capital.)

Family Wealth is more than your money and through time your “FW” measures the quality of your legacy (discussed last May, here.)

I hope my legacy will include the re-ordering of Webster’s definition of “legacy” because clearly the wealth management industry has usurped what is a much more valuable form of legacy (the second definition) while focusing our attention on the first definition; making a financial gift.

I’ll know the League of Heirs succeeded when the definitions reorder and the perspective that your legacy is your Family Wealth, not merely your money.

To the journey,