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Family Office: Expect More Than Money Management

Kevin Donohue, CFP®, AIF® | December 18, 2020

This time of year, we all look forward to finding out what our “return” was.  But if the front page of your investment statement is the only place you are checking for results, you may be getting a lot less than you realize.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said: “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” A similar statement can be made about financial advisors.

Nearly anyone can review a financial statement and determine whether there’s been a gain or loss and/or what your rate of return has been. If that were all there is to it, no one would need a financial advisor.

But each of us knows that life is about a lot more than following the numbers. In fact, we like to think that managing stocks and bonds is just the beginning of what a successful family office can provide.

The unfortunate fact is that for most families who have achieved significant financial success, their most difficult challenges come in the form of the poor organization of their affairs, lack of family or advisor communication, failure to recognize and seize strategic opportunities, insufficient estate planning, lack of next-generation financial savvy, and administrative missteps. The family office service model is meant to address and resolve these issues for families before they happen.

When assessing your current or new advisory team, assess what they do beyond your stocks and bonds. The best advisors serving successful families have built their infrastructure to support a robust need to address the above-mentioned issues. Typically, these families have an estate planning attorney, a business attorney, an accountant, multiple insurance advisors, an investment advisor, and possibly others. To effectively manage their affairs, they should meet with these individuals at least annually and some of them multiple times a year. And for those meetings to be effective, the advisors should have a clear picture of the client’s current financial standing, goals, and objectives – which they rarely do. It is no wonder many families inadvertently neglect these issues or miss opportunities.  Keeping up with all of the moving parts is extremely difficult. But the compounding effect of neglect over a few years can lead to emotional and financial havoc.

Imagine a wealth-advisory team that does the following for your family:

Organizes the countless details and records pertinent to your family into one concise document and communicates those details as needed to your other advisors.  


Documents for the advisory team, the family’s primary short- and long-term goals so that all actions, both tactical and strategic, are made with those goals in mind.


Proactively facilitates regular communication with your other advisors to keep your affairs up to date and to seize opportunities as they arise.


Facilitates family communications as needed to minimize the potential for longer-term confusion on business succession or estate planning.


Provides education to family members as needed to ensure financial savvy is always improving.

Consistently provides you forecasting capabilities to quickly and easily assess the impact of big decisions that will inevitably come your way. 


Helps the family manage an annual philanthropic process aimed at maximizing impact on their local community while teaching the next generation the importance of giving back.


The potential benefits derived from such a support structure include:

  • Enhanced ability to manage affairs
  • Refined focus on “big-picture” issues
  • Improved family communication / better relationships
  • More efficient delegation
  • A greater understanding of roles
  • Better protection from known and unknown risks
  • Clearer appreciation of long-term goals

In the end, successful families deserve more from their advisors than a portfolio review.  They need to know where they are and how they can get to where they would like to be. A dedicated advisor with a family office approach can help make this happen. 

If you are interested in exploring your financial life “Beyond Your Numbers”, call us for a complimentary and confidential consultation.
(610) 719-8600 or learn more about us on our website here: https://legacy-online.com/

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Kevin Donohue is a partner at Legacy Planning Partners who specializes in helping families with complicated finances organize their affairs, document their goals and identify strategies to help them reach these goals more effectively. He combines nearly 20 years of financial services experience with cutting edge technology to deliver his clients integrated solutions to simplify their complex financial reality.

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