There is an evening sound now that melts decades of history. At the raspy song of the katydids, I'm seven years old. Sensory memories are as specific as the leathery smell of new school shoes.
Their call and response is so bittersweet. So many autumns have come and gone! They tell me to appreciate the sweetness of the shortened days. They teach me that change is constant and inevitable. They remind me that all of us will fall silent one day, as they will at first frost.
What will that silence mean for the families and descendants of your clients? Will they understand the history and the values behind the assets they are inheriting? Will they know the intentions behind the planning? Will they know the family stories? Will the silence be peaceful and appreciative, or complicated and dysfunctional? Will they be psychologically healthy or impoverished?
A billionaire confessed to an advisor, "I have everything, except what I want the most: my children voluntarily sitting around the table with me." You know this truth: it's the intangible wealth of a family that sustains both its human and financial capital over the long run.
Healthy inter-generational relationships and communication, shared experiences and history, an appreciation and respect for the values of others - these elements of intangible wealth aren't automatic. They take effort, commitment and leadership to create.
You are the one to remind them of this, to nudge them toward action with ideas and avenues to reap the rewards of building wealth that will truly live beyond the silence.
Best to all and with thanks to the katydids,