In Search of “Family Glue”

Last week’s post recapped a “Lasting Legacy” evening where I was honored to share the stage with the Coors beer family. I described how the Coors family connection remains strong even among fifth generation descendants of Adolph Coors. Today’s post focuses on my part of the presentation: “In Search of Family Glue: Improving the Odds of Multi-Generational Success.”

After Coors sisters Melissa and Carrie shared secrets of their success, I revealed that the Coors story is the exception. A staggering 90% of families fall victim to the adage “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Only 10% of families can tell the Coors story. There is much to learn from them. The bulk of my speech highlights best practices of the ten percenters like Coors. Click here to review my PowerPoint from that presentation.

In a nutshell, I identified 9 best practices of successful families for us to emulate:

  1. Family Meetings
  2. Family Travel
  3. Education Program
  4. Governance Structure
  5. Family Mission Statement
  6. Business Succession Planning
  7. Preserve Family History
  8. Family Traditions
  9. Legacy Letter

I concluded by shining a light on a 10th best practice—Family Philanthropy. By creating a charitable structure in your estate plan, you leave your heirs two inheritances: (1) a traditional inheritance to provide for their security and needs; and (2) a second inheritance giving them the opportunity to use the family assets to give back.

Family Philanthropy is a gift that keeps on giving, not only to the recipients of grants, but also to the donors. Those who give get back more than they give. I described a Family Foundation as a “laboratory” where family members come together to practice group decision making as they jointly select causes to support. As they manage foundation funds, they learn about investing and money management. Through private philanthropy, they can set a vision for their community and shape the future of the place where they live. Moreover, these interactions create connectedness and powerful family glue.

It was a privilege for me to share my thoughts on building family connection. The goal is to create an interdependent family who will be there for each other. In my 44 years of law practice, as well as in my own life, I’ve learned that when adversity strikes, there’s no support system more critical than your family.

I urge everyone to take intentional steps to strengthen your family and create family “glue.”

Marvin E. Blum

Marvin Blum speaking at “Lasting Legacy” seminar sponsored by Tailwind Philanthropic Advisors and The Miles Foundation. Blum shared tips on how to create “Family Glue” and improve the odds of multigenerational success.