What and when to Communicate to the Next Generation about Wealth- Susan Schoenfeld

Talking Trends
3 min readMay 19, 2022


Image from Unsplash by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Susan R. Schoenfeld, CEO and Founder of Wealth Legacy Advisors LLC serves as a ‘thought partner’ to families of wealth through personal attention and human spirit.

Susan is an award-winning Thought Leader; she provides guidance on legacy, next generation, stewardship, governance, leadership succession, and philanthropy. Susan recently spoke at Opal Group’s Governance and the Single Family Office Panel at the Virtual Family Office and Private Wealth Forum.

“My favorite quote on communication comes from George Bernard Shaw who said, ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’ And to me that really sums up what families think, that they’ve communicated so much more than they actually have about the wealth.

But as it turns out, they’re communicating a lot more nonverbally than they think they are. It’s scary to have the money talk with your kids. I often say that the money talk is even scarier for parents than the dreaded birds and bees talk. But parents who think their children have no idea that their family is wealthy are just kidding themselves. The money is the elephant in the room. Many kids google their parents, Zillow to see how much their house is worth, etc. They see how you live, and how it may differ from their friends.

They see how you travel. Do you travel private? Do you travel in front of the plane? Kids at school talk, and they also talk at family events. If your brother’s kids know about your wealth and then the cousins tell your kids, well now they know.

When it comes to age appropriateness, I’ve had families share different techniques with me, including a wonderful analogy for even little kids using that old fairy tale about the golden goose who laid the golden egg. This was a case with inherited wealth and the mother of these little kids, who were actually the inheritor, used the analogy of this golden egg as the nest egg that she inherited from her parents and grandparents. And she saw it as her job to steward that egg, to take care of it, to nurture it, hopefully, to grow it and not break that golden egg open, so she could begin to teach her own children the concept of stewardship.

Now more than ever, it is important to start having these conversations because communication, communication, and communication are my three rules for families to successfully navigate the age-old challenge of raising their family in an atmosphere of wealth.”


Susan Schoenfeld, a public speaker & thought partner to families of wealth and their advisors, is an author and award-winning thought leader. Susan’s decision to switch from being a successful estate planning attorney and CPA to becoming a trusted family advisor and thought partner was inspired by families of wealth asking her searching questions beyond estate tax planning. As a conflict-free advisor who provides no investment, tax or legal advice and sells no product, Susan shares her insights directly with wealthy families and with financial services experts. She is active as a keynote speaker and a leader of break-out sessions and workshops at conferences throughout the US.



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