Being “rich” means little if you do not feel “enriched”.

Family and Money.  Most of us think wealth is just money: the cash in our bank, the value of our home, or the size of our financial portfolio. Some people chase it; others hoard it or fear it. Money represents safety and security.   We spend a considerable chunk of our lives trying to accumulate it. And we worry about it—for some, constantly. All all too often families break up over money distress.

Money no longer goes as far as it did.
The promise of a retirement pension after long-term employment has for most people gone the way of the dodo bird. As more people live past the average life expectancy (79 for men and 83 for women)[1] they have a still greater challenge funding their retirement years from personal savings. Only an exceptional few will be able to do so while maintaining the lifestyle they live today.

As the co-owner and CEO of a family office wealth management firm, I have been fortunate to work with families of wealth for the past thirty years. Even many of them have trouble with the idea of money. These wealth creators have millions of dollars at their disposal and yet they’re often afraid that the money flow is stagnating or depleting, which makes them feel insecure about their and their children’s future (the more you have, the more you have to lose in so many ways). They are often highly stressed by their complex, multifaceted, and often confusing and burdensome wealth management issues. Some struggle with guilt about their financial abundance and often feel resented by those with less money. And even the most financially confident and astute individuals find that money worries cause trouble on the home front.

Most young adults are worried about money too, which distorts the choices they make in life.
They may have grown up with money, but now they don’t know how they’ll ever afford a home of their own or the lifestyle they once had. In their eyes, opportunities are few, competition is fierce, money is scarce, and hope is drying up. They often feel they have to choose between a career that makes good money and one that would be inspiring and fulfilling to them. Why must they choose one at the expense of the other?

Whether you are wealthy or not, we all have something in common. We all, except for the enlightened few, struggle with our relationships to money and to each other. Clearly, our attitude toward money is all wrong. Too many of us accumulate money only to feel safe rather than use it for the joy of creation.

It’s time to remember what money is meant for: as a tool of exchange between people who care about each other’s well-being, to equalize everyone’s right to a good life, and to play with in the act of creation.

Chris Clarke draws on 30 years of experience as CEO and Co-owner of First Affiliated Holdings Inc. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Trust and Estates Practitioner, and a Registered Financial Planner. Clarke is also certified as a Family Facilitator by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise. Her new book, True Family Wealth-Love, Money & an Inspired Life, can be bought on and at bookstores.