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Why You Should Document Your History & Write Letters to Your Kids

The great stories we hear about generational wealth only exist because family elders or stewards foun
The Business of Family
Why You Should Document Your History & Write Letters to Your Kids
By Mike Boyd • Issue #5 • View online
The great stories we hear about generational wealth only exist because family elders or stewards found it important to document and share their history.
Whether it was deliberate action or something that just “seemed the right thing to do”, I’m seeing this trend show up the more I research successful families around the world.

My son & I at "our spot" overlooking Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand.
My son & I at "our spot" overlooking Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand.
“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Families who have retained significant wealth over multiple generations have united around a shared vision for their future as well as a clear understanding of where they come from.
Some refer to their history as the family’s fabric, essence, latticework, foundation, bible and even “differentness” - the unique characters and characteristics that have determined their family’s journey to date.
Each generation carries forward the family stories to share with the next generation, transferring knowledge, values and principles in the process - leading to a more connected and collaborative family partnership.

Why?
  1. Most financial wealth is lost due to families falling apart - celebrating our shared history brings us together
  2. A shared vision for the family - the family’s Why
  3. Keeping the family connected to the business and each other as they both grow larger over generations
  4. Inspiring future generations with the tales of the founding generation’s risk-taking, perseverance and wealth creation
  5. Risk avoidance - doing what works and not repeating past failures
  6. Demonstration of family values - telling stories of how the family makes decisions based on what they believe in
  7. A personal letter, photo or memento from past generations are cherished long after material or financial gifts are forgotten

How?
  1. Keeping a journal
  2. Writing annual letters to your kids
  3. Newspaper clippings about the family/business
  4. Photo albums and celebrations of family milestones
  5. Interviews with family members
  6. Personal biographies
  7. Starting and maintaining a Family Constitution
  8. Minutes from Annual Family Meetings
  9. Regular Family Retreats
  10. Elders sharing tales around the campfire

Boyd Family Favourites
  • My wife curates and prints an Annual Photo Book for each child each year, including little stories accompanying the photo essay of their life.
  • We uphold traditions by ensuring we take a family photo in the same place each year over looking the lake with sweeping views.
  • My wife and I write personal Year in Reflection letters to include in our Annual Family Meeting.
  • Inspired by others, we’ve also begun to write letters to our kids sharing our fears, aspirations and observations as we watch them grow. We also share stories and include lessons that we’re learning over time.
  • An Annual Family Gratitude List, expressing what we’re most grateful for as well as documenting the family’s philanthropic endeavours over the past year.

Don’t just take my word for it
Be sure to check out the “Interesting links” section below for some great resources this week.
A reminder, you can review all past newsletters here and you’re welcome to forward this email on to someone who may enjoy it.
This Week's Featured Book:
Interesting links:
Why You Should Write Letters to Your Kids as They Grow
Tim Ludwig
In my family, my dad began writing me a letter every Christmas starting when I was 5. I still get them. They are a priceless collection of remembrances from my life. These gifts from parents that pay it forward and demonstrate love, in whatever form, are among life’s best gifts. https://t.co/THfN12uIZq
Brian 'be the change' Zimbelman
@JamesClear Inspired by @jposhaughnessy, I actually do write letters to my children (to read later, they are 4 & 6). The 2020 letter has this: Learning to think for yourself is the most important skill you could have. Question the motives of everything you read, hear, or watch.
Sachin Rekhi
In my latest letter to my daughter Zoe, I share the role model I'll be to her throughout her youth and how that will inevitably shape her early world view https://t.co/eZT4oBJixc
Jay Vasantharajah
The power of compounding is crazy.

I’ve seen it at work even in my own short career.

I can only imagine what it’s like when quality assets are held onto and handed down from generation to generation.
Stay in touch
Mike Boyd is an Australian entrepreneur based in Singapore. He’s the CEO of Vroom.com.auProsura.com & an active YPO member.
Mike’s on a mission to build a small portfolio of cash-flowing companies and invest the proceeds for the next generation at Mudbrick Capital.
Moses Kagan
Will never forget meeting the head of a multi-gen FO early in my career.

Naively asked if he was taking advntge of low int rates to refi his assets & pull cash out.

He looked at me like I had 3 heads. The single biggest problem in his life was where to put all the cash he had. https://t.co/pF9oCUcbE2
Shafin Damani
@moseskagan Families will eventually compound quicker than wealth - assuming 2 kids for each couple:

1st generation: a family of 4;
2nd: 16;
3rd: 22;

I’ve met 5th generation families with 150 cousins - my advice is to teach your kids to live frugally
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Mike Boyd

I'm inspired by multi-generational businesses and the families who steward them.

Join me as I learn how some of the world's most interesting families share values, knowledge, resources, and wealth with the next generation.

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