By compiling the 50 most common questions, wealthy families ask, Tom McCullough and Keith Whitaker have provided a compendium of knowledge from experts around the globe and across disciplines in their new book, Wealth of Wisdom.

The deep insights and thoughtful answers in the book will help families to make more informed decisions about their financial legacy. The advice and practical tools are there to help people get organised to develop a strategy and take real control of their family’s wealth.

Throughout the book, with each of the 50 questions and various contributors, there are many examples, stories and case studies which show how other families have handled the very dilemmas that you may be facing today.

When meeting with Tom recently in London, where he was visiting on press duties for the new book, Nicola Roigard, Head of Marketing and Partnerships for Sandaire, sat down to do a role reversal and ask a few questions of her own about what inspired him to write the book and what has got him to where he is today.

1. What made you want to do this book?

In my travels around the world, speaking with families of wealth as well as their advisors, I have heard many questions about the issues that confront them every day.

Questions I have heard include:

  • How do we raise responsible, independent, and productive children?
  • How much money should we leave our children, and when?
  • How can we manage conflict in our family?
  • How can we ensure the success of our successors?
  • What return should we expect from our investments?

This led me to think about how I could bring answers to these families in a way that would be helpful, practical and easily accessible to them. There is a lot of information already written on some topics (and very little on others), but it can be hard to find, is typically too general, and is not all in one place. We decided to pull it all together into one volume so a family leader, family member or family advisor could sit down and review all of the key questions at one time.

We wanted to offer families a diversity of perspectives, tone and experience. In our travels, we have also had the privilege of meeting and getting to know an amazing group of people who regularly work with wealthy families on these key issues.

So we set about finding one or two uniquely talented and experienced people to answer each of the 50 questions. Our contributing authors are all leaders in their respective fields, have significant practical experience and have earned the respect of their peers and the appreciation of many families who have benefited from their wisdom over many years.

2. After this book, what is next for you?

The book will be published late November/early December 2018. (It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and other booksellers now.)

I have a number of speaking engagements scheduled related to the book and anticipate there will be more. We are also doing a podcast series with the contributing authors in the book. A new podcast interview will be available every week on the Wealth of Wisdom website.

I am a partner in a multi-family office – Northwood Family Office – which takes up most of my time. I am also an adjunct professor of finance at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where I teach courses in private wealth management to both MBA students and to family members.

3. What books do you recommend for reading?

There are so many great books and authors in the field of wealth and family. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Complete Family Wealth, Hughes, Massenzio and Whitaker
  • Wealth in Families, Charles Collier
  • Preparing Heirs, Williams and Preisser
  • Family Wealth Management, Daniell and McCullough

At the end of each chapter in our new book, Wealth of Wisdom, there is a list of books and articles that people might find useful.

4. When do you develop your best ideas?

I do a lot of reading – certainly hundreds of articles and books each year – and get a lot of ideas there. I also attend a few carefully-selected conferences each year with thoughtful, insightful speakers and attendees who stimulate my thinking. The Family Firm Institute is one example of these gatherings. I also do some of my best thinking in the quiet space on long airplane trips.

5. What lessons have you learnt in business?

Many, but four come immediately to mind.

  • First, always make your clients’ your top priority. It is the right thing to do, it pays dividends over the long term, and makes most other business decisions much easier.
  • Second, make sure you have good partners. Trusted working relationships save a lot of time and tears, and are much more enjoyable.
  • Third, do what you say you will do when you said you will do it. Everyone needs someone with expertise and experience that they can count on.
  • Fourth, follow your passion and do what you love. It will shine through and draw others to work with you.

Sandaire would like to wish Tom the best of luck with the release of the book and, as Northwood Family Office and Sandaire are both members of the Wigmore Association, we hope to share further collaborations between both businesses in the future.