Partner Content

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

© iStock

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.

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


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>


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.

Family Matters

Disclaimer: Worth magazine is a financial publisher and does not recommend or endorse investment, legal, insurance or tax advisors. The listing of any firm in the 2019 Worth® Leading AdvisorsTM Program does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement by Worth magazine of any such firm and is not based upon Worth magazine’s experience with, or prior dealings with, any advisor. The information presented for each advisor, including but not limited to any related profile, statistical data, presentation, report, commentary, recommendation or strategy, has been provided by such advisor without review or independent verification by Worth magazine. Any such information is the sole responsibility of the advisor. Worth magazine makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of such information, assumes no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions therein and disclaims responsibility for the suitability of any particular investment recommendation or strategy for any person. Nothing contained in Worth magazine constitutes or should be construed as any form of investment, legal, insurance or tax advice or as a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or trade any securities, financial instruments or assets. Readers are advised to consult their legal, financial, insurance and tax advisors prior to making any investment or pursuing any investment strategy. Past, model or hypothetical performance is not indicative of future results.

back to top