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Thank you for spending your time with me! FO Perspective is written for those that care deeply about us fortunate families and empowering unique answers to the tricky question “so what is all this money good for?”

FW = FA (HC + RC)

Your family wealth is equal to your financial assets multiplied by the sum of your human capital and relational capital.

A family with all the money in the world but terrible people and an inability to relate to each other and live by common values and principles? That family has no wealth in my books. A family with low wealth but is committed to growing individually and as a collective? Now that family is wealthy! To explore this equation further please check out Issue 1.

Now is as good a time as any to point out that this is definitely “lawyer math” and not, well, actual math. There’s no formula for family success. There are only helpful perspectives for influencing your efforts as family champions.

This equation anchors my key perspective that resource deployment amongst your capital pools is critical to long term family wealth. All capital pools are important and how all three capital pools (FA, HC and RC) relate to that month’s theme will be highlighted in each Newsletter.

FW: family wealth is about impact

One answer to the question “so what is all this money good for” is that the money provides for future generations. Money is good for food, shelter and security but also, ideally, opportunity.

An opportunity to make an impact.

Those future generations had better be valuable to the world, I often think. Actually most of the time I’m aiming lower in my expectations for future generations; those future generations had better be grateful for their good fortune.

But actually gratitude doesn’t cut it for me. No, coming from privilege bears a responsibility. I expect future stewards to:

  • know they are privileged;
  • know the world is not fair;
  • appreciate the unfair opportunity afforded to them; so as to
  • maximize fulfillment, reduce fears and anxieties around stewardship, and go make a big impact on their world.


Impact is a great way to measure the usefulness of family wealth over the long term.

FA: will financial assets help or hurt impact?

Far too often, financial assets lead to a little too much comfort and luxury and not enough fulfillment. On the other hand, money deployed into opportunities to learn and grow are investments in long term impact. Are resources being deployed effectively to capture more time and deploy your most valuable resource (time) more efficiently into impact opportunities?

HC: human capital is often influenced by family work scripts 

Fear of the unknown is a common impediment to fulfillment.

But there is another factor I often highlight for families; family work scripts. This short video and blog describes the concept effectively; subtle cultural references abound as to “good” and “bad” work decisions.

We are often only vaguely aware of the impact our family culture and ‘work scripts’ have on our views of productivity and worth. Which directly impacts our pursuits. Be aware of influences over your own definition of fulfillment.

Find your unique ways to make an impact.

RC: relational capital needs a broad perspective on impact and high standard of impact

If family ‘work scripts’ have such a big impact, let’s build cultures that can challenge norms and embrace unique development paths while we as families continue to honour the beaten down, reliable, work paths that are usually very valuable and therefore oft-recommended (such as family business participation).

Families could perhaps create new rituals to celebrate unique development paths to celebrate such boldness. Perhaps come up with your own family nickname for times when you follow traditional family paths (I followed my family into law (Grandmother) and entrepreneurship (both Grandfathers) and knew early-on that my stone-hands were ill-suited for following Dad into orthodontics!) I (in jest) call the pursuit of law “Jewish grandmother guilt” but I’m sure your family can come up with something catchier than that!

Taking the time (and money) required to maximize opportunities for impact is this month’s FO Perspective topic for responsible, committed family members. After all, if money is not good for maximizing fulfillment and making a big impact on the world, then what is it good for?