Summary of The Dilemmas of Family Wealth

Insights On Succession, Cohesion, and Legacy

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The Dilemmas of Family Wealth book summary
Family companies can generate wealth and charity, or friction and waste. It depends on how the relatives relate.


7 Overall

8 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


Before soap operas, people could follow the rise and fall of actual famous families’ fortunes. The soaps borrowed heavily from the sagas of wealthy families, stories with the essential elements of any good drama: money, nepotism, jealousy, decadence and conflict. Family businesses are the world's most popular form of corporate ownership, yet few family businesses make it past the second generation. Judy Martel offers case histories and aptly describes the problems associated with family fortunes, but tends to fall short of fully explaining solutions. She repeats some remedies often, such as forming a "family council." And, some remedies seem slight, such as ways to resolve differences over sharing a summer house. getAbstract appreciates Martel's emphasis on family values, while wishing this book's solutions were all as solid as the fascinating problems it describes.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why family businesses fail in the second generation
  • How to keep family wealth intact
  • What to teach your kids about money


Squandered Fortunes
Family fortunes are overwhelmingly often made by one generation and lost by the next. One study of 3,250 wealthy families found that, in the course of a decade, 70% did not transfer any wealth from one generation to the next. While the popular conception of wealth ...
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About the Author

Judy Martel, CFP, is a vice president at an asset management company. She has 20 years of experience in journalism and public relations, and was a newspaper reporter for 11 years. She has written extensively on wealth issues and family dynamics for the Robb Report, Worth, Town & Country and Vive magazine.

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Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Family Wealth
    How to solve a great problem: keeping that fortune in the family.

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