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Mar 28, 2017

What’s the best way to create a family mission statement and put it into practice?

Whether your wealth is first generation or the product of careful nurturing by heirs who preceded you, seeing your family and its fortune flourish for multiple generations is a goal most high net worth families share.

Having a sense of shared purpose—a family mission, if you will, which is built around agreed-upon core values—is the key to a family’s long-term success. Developing a family mission statement articulates and puts into writing those goals and aspirations all family members share.

Here, we will show what a family mission statement is, how your family can create one and how to put it into practice.

WHAT IS A FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT?
Let’s begin by sharing a couple of examples of brief introductions to family mission statements:

  • “Our family mission is to preserve and promote responsible stewardship by nurturing our passions for self, family and community.”
  • “We want our capital to allow our children and their children to be able to find their passion and pursue it with excellence.”

A sense of shared purpose is the key to a family’s long-term success.

A fully formed statement might be only a couple of lines, or run for a few paragraphs. Whatever its length, it ideally tries to answer key questions, some as simple as “Who are we?” and “What do we stand for?”1

HOW TO CREATE A FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT

To have an enduring and positive impact on a family, the mission statement usually is created by the whole family, not just one member. When the patriarch and/or matriarch writes a mission statement on his or her own, even if it is approved by the larger family, it may soon disappear into a file folder and be forgotten.

Creating the statement, then, is best done in the context of a fully attended family meeting devoted to this task, during which you should attempt to:

  • Identify your family’s core values and reasons for staying together as a family.
  • Identify family traditions you want to preserve.
  • Decide what impact you want the family to have on the world.
  • As a group, draft your family mission statement.
  • Identify and/or create gatherings or situations where family members can review, revisit and recommit to the family mission statement./li>

HOW TO USE A FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT

You can employ the mission statement in a variety of ways. For example, you could start a tradition of reading it aloud at the beginning of each annual family retreat or gathering, to remind everyone of what really matters to all of you as a family.

This simple use of the statement is a powerful way to reaffirm shared bonds and a shared commitment to seeing the family and its fortune flourish for many generations to come.

1Leslie Dashew et al., The Keys To Family Business Success, Aspen Family Business Group, 2011.

Kathleen Entwistle and Bryan Stephens are Private Wealth Advisors with UBS Financial Services Inc. at 61 South Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ, and 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. UBS Financial Services Inc. Private Wealth Advisors engage Worth to feature this article. In providing wealth management services to clients, we offer both investment advisory and brokerage services which are separate and distinct and differ in material ways. For information, including the different laws and contracts that govern, visit ubs. com/workingwithus. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors. UBS Financial Services Inc., its affiliates and its employees are not in the business of providing tax or legal advice. Clients should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax and/or legal advisor. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of UBS Financial Services Inc. a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC.

This article was originally published in the February–April 2017 issue of Worth.

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