Canadian Investor Magazine

Volume 1 Issue 3 - May/June 2012

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Page 35 of 39

CANADIANINVESTOR • VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3 SMART MONEY Book Review Lombardo offers readers both a blue- print and a methodology for improv- ing their chances of success in pass- ing on wealth to the next generation. The Great White Elephant will inspire benefactors to seek out their best way of leaving the next generation prop- erly prepared, both intellectually and emotionally, as well as positively im- pacted and inspired, as the future suc- cessors and beneficiaries of the family wealth. The book asks and addresses most of the awkward questions (the great white elephants) that are nearly always avoided in families, regardless of wealth. In avoiding asking awk- ward questions, families also avoid the difficult conversations that, if they remain unspoken, can ultimate- ly undermine a family and its desire to perpetuate the family's wealth. In The Great White Elephant: Why Rich Kids Hate their Parents, Lombardo compassionately chal- lenges the current model for wealth transition and enables people to iden- tify and then let go of the negative and ineffective behaviours and be- liefs they may hold towards power, ownership, and money, and create a new framework for success; one in which wealth is both bequeathed and received with love, gratitude, and re- spect. Doing this work means wealth is far more likely to be passed on in a way that is truly reflective of the giv- er's core values. Doing the work also means that wealth is far more likely to be received in a way that is congru- ent with the recipient's values. T 36 he Great White Elephant: Why Rich Kids Hate their Parents authored by Franco author GLOBAL FAMILY WEALTH ADVISOR, FRANCO LOMBARDO Great White Elephant: Why Rich Kids Hate Their Parents! What is the Great White Ele- phant? In the early pages of the book Lombardo tells the legend of a Thai king, who, if upset with one of his subjects, would bestow upon him, a great white elephant. The white el- ephant is considered quite valuable but because of its extremely high cost of care, it can also be deemed a burden and ultimately worthless. Because they are sacred and the new owner would often have to accomo- date people that would want to wor- ship the animal, the owner would almost certainly experience financial ruin. Lombardo uses this legend and weaves it together with the "elephant in the room" analogy to bring the reader to an understanding of his methodology for navigating the awk- ward conversations (the great white elephants) that can ultimately under- mine a family and its desire to per- petuate the family's wealth. Lombardo challenges the current and universally applied approach to business succession planning and wealth transition and enables peo- ple to identify the ambivalent and often negative feelings, beliefs and behaviours they hold towards own- ership, power, and wealth. In Great White Elephant: Why Rich Kids Hate their Parents, Lombardo provides the reader with a roadmap to follow and the means to create a framework for success, ultimately bringing a family closer—all because, assuming they successfully follow Lombardo's blue- print, they had the courage to face their great white elephant(s) together. What if the whole process of succes- sion planning and wealth transition began with a discussion designed to help a client identify the great white elephant in their own nuclear family? What if such a discussion supported that family in naming, owning, even embracing the great white elephant for all that it is, as opposed to con- tinuing to ignore it in the hope that it goes away? What if succession plan- ning and wealth transition advisors, perhaps even their whole profession shifted its focus from the "top of the table" planning (which deals with the "valuables" of a family's wealth) in favour of first dealing with and in- corporating the family's "values" and their great white elephants? If such a switch in approach and emphasis were to happen, what would the outcome look like for the client families and the professionals that serve them? Well, certainly it would be bit more anxiety provoking, since both advisor and clients would have to be willing to address the unspo- ken feelings and unaddressed issues which exist as emotional undercur- rents below the smooth surface of the table top. The proverbial great white elephants would have to be brought into the light and fully discussed.

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