Unleashing Generosity Through the Power of Stories, Part 2

Unleashing Generosity Through the Power of Stories, Part 2

Article posted in Values-Based on 30 March 2017| comments
audience: National Publication | last updated: 26 April 2017


We conclude Mike Stuart's insight into storytelling as a tool for empowering generosity with a real life story of a professional colleague of mine.

by Mike Stuart, President of FamilyArc, mike.stuart@familyarc.com

Click here if you missed Part 1

Common Obstacles

Monroe “Roey” Diefendorf Jr. is the fourth generation in his family to go into the financial services industry. Founder of 3 Dimensional Wealth Advisory and of the Argonne Trust Company, Roey’s experience as a wealth advisor has convinced him that creating a lasting legacy requires transferring a family’s values as well as valuables to the next generation.

“I believe that the family is the cornerstone of civilization, the building block of society. And the farther we have gotten away from this starting place, the more breakdowns there have been in the family structure,” Roey said. “In my opinion, this requires an emphasis be placed back on the family unit. . . . How is this done? By preserving the stories, creating the traditions, and capturing memories that provide the roots needed for stability of individuals and families alike.”

The majority of your clients will most likely agree that preserving their values is an important factor in leaving a strong legacy. Yet when it comes down to it, capturing those values is still hard work, and getting family storytelling off the ground can be a challenge.

Some of the most common obstacles to recording stories include:

1. Lack of urgency: A common view is that storytelling is something your clients will get to eventually “when life slows down.” Unfortunately, it often takes a compelling life event—a move to a retirement community, an illness, or even a death—to motivate families to begin the process.

2. Emotional anxiety: Like sharing stories about my mom and her untimely death, talking about your past (and perhaps especially your money) can be complicated at best, and sometimes even painful. Your clients may be hesitant to engage in the emotional vulnerability required to capture stories.

3. Lack of a strategy: Even if your clients are ready to capture their stories, chances are that they don’t know where to start, and the task could seem daunting.

A Plan and a Platform

To overcome these obstacles, your clients need a champion to drive the storytelling initiative—and that could be you. As their advisor, you already have their trust on matters of wealth and generosity, and capturing their legacy is the natural next step.

As their champion, your goal is to communicate the value of preserving generosity stories now, help them overcome any fears about it, and provide them with a roadmap for how to get there. Talk to your clients about their storytelling goals and come up with simple, sustainable plan. You could help them form a family mission statement, set up a strategy for capturing three family stories per year, or implement ways to gather stories from grantees each time your client gives a grant.

Once you have a legacy plan in place, your next step is to make sure the client’s family has access to those materials long term, which is where FamilyArc can help. Our platform is a private online archive that lets your clients protect legacy documents in a digital vault and share family stories in a central, secure location. We equip you to share the importance of legacy preservation with your clients and keep your firm at the front of their minds through co-branded marketing materials and a customized login page, and we offer customized professional services to fit your clients’ goals as needed.

“FamilyArc is part of the deliverable when completing a 3 Dimensional Wealth Plan,” Roey Diefendorf said. “It’s the framework that we will use to keep together the ‘total’ wealth they have put together. Somehow FamilyArc has amassed a team of pros. Before you think it, they already have your answer.”

Roey believes wealth advisors should lead by example, so he created an archive for his own family as well. Together, we preserved his family’s values through our professional story writing and media digitization services. To learn more about how we helped Roey’s family, read the case study here.

“Your life matters and the lives of those in your family matter,” Roey said. “However, memories fade over time. Unless purposefully preserved, your wisdom and your values will be lost forever.”

With you as their champion and a plan and platform in place, your clients can create strong family narratives and unleash generosity for future generations.

To see a demo and learn how FamilyArc can help your firm, fill out the interest form at familyarc.com/partners. Receive a free ebook with tips to guide your clients in having value conversations with their families when you include PGDC in the field that asks how you heard about us. If you have any questions, reach out to me directly at mike.stuart@familyarc.com.

Receive a free ebook with tips to guide your clients in having value conversations with their families when you fill out the interest form at familyarc.com/partners. Include PGDC in the field that asks how you heard about FamilyArc.

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