Wealth Planning Changing With Family Dynamics

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    Changing family structures, multi-generational and extended family circumstances, evolving gender roles, and generational views on investing and use of wealth are challenging traditional approaches to wealth planning, says a survey by U.S. Trust. The ‘2014 U.S. Insights on Wealth and Worth’ found that family dynamics ‒ including change in family structures and roles among men, women, and multiple generations ‒ affect both immediate and extended family members. Nearly half (46 per cent) of wealthy families surveyed experienced a change or disruption in the family dynamic, following a divorce, loss of a spouse or partner, and subsequent remarriage and blending of families. In addition, women are playing an active role in wealth planning and decision-making as they make significant contributions to family wealth. More than half (52 per cent) of women came into their marriage or relationship with financial assets equal to or greater than their spouse or partner, and one-third (33 per cent) of women are now the primary income earner or contribute equally to household wealth. “Families today come in all shapes and sizes and the wealthy are not immune to the ripple effect of extenuating circumstances on overall family financial well-being,” says Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust. “While these circumstances are not unique to the wealthy, they can complicate an already complex wealth planning process. Traditional approaches to wealth management need to evolve and incorporate the diverse perspectives, roles, and contemporary needs of the modern family.”