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Five Secrets of Enterprising Families

Insights from our new book by The Northern Trust Institute

How will your wealth impact loved ones?

Fear that your children will squander the wealth you built through a lifetime of hard work can be the very thing that undermines a successful transfer of your wealth and values. In our new book Secrets of Enterprising Families, we share the practices that have helped families thrive generation after generation. Scroll down to explore the insights.

Grandmother, mother, and young child playing in the surf on the beach.Grandfather watching young granddaughter kiss her father on the temple while sitting outdoors.Grandmother with young grandson harvesting vegetables from the garden.Grandparents with their son and grandson in their living room.Mother standing behind her adult children as they laugh at the dinner table.Multigenerational family enjoying a meal around a table on their deck.Mother with young daughter sitting on the arm of a chair.

Silence Doesn't Make It Go Away

When you have enough, there is less need to talk about it, and families may shy away from having these discussions. But being silent robs you of the opportunity to teach valuable lessons.


Resist the carrot and the stick

Using money as a carrot to incentivize work, academic excellence or other accomplishments can backfire.


Write It Down – And Communicate

Provide context to your estate plan by writing a letter of wishes that reflects your “why.” Providing this detail to an estate plan allows loved ones to gain a better understanding of, and become invested in, the “bigger picture” end goal.


Develop Financial Skills

Everyone is different, and financial education should meet them where they are. To achieve self-motivation, it helps to be transparent by sharing information and providing children the flexibility they need to identify what really interests them as individuals.


Anticipate Conflict And Find Common Ground

Nimbleness is one of the competitive advantages inherent in successful business owners, resulting from the advantage of combined ownership and management. But in later generations, a family can be paralyzed by conflicting views.

See How Others Built Their Wealth Plan

How One Family Instilled Purpose in Their Wealth PlanCase StudyHow One Family Instilled Purpose in Their Wealth PlanAvoid family conflict with a new approach to wealth planning.How a Vesting Event Revealed Flaws in an Executive's Estate PlanCase StudyHow a Vesting Event Revealed Flaws in an Executive's Estate PlanRefining an estate plan to address concentrated equity risk.Families Finding Opportunities in Down MarketsCase StudiesFamilies Finding Opportunities in Down MarketsHarness the advantages of multiple generations.


Northern Trust works with high-net-worth individuals and families to optimize the impact of their wealth and legacy. Request a meeting to discuss how we can work together.