By Patrick ONeill and Bill Malloy III, MWM, a multi-family office

The Purpose of Wealth

The purpose of wealth is not to serve itself, but to serve the family and society. American industrialist Henry Ford famously said, “The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life.” When viewed in this way, financial capital is not an end, but simply a means to an end. It is the tool that can allow your family to achieve their goals, never the goal itself.

Understanding your family’s wealth, its human, intellectual and financial capital, will allow you to understand how to utilise those assets in order to provide the freedom and resources for each member to “do more for the betterment of life.” Wealth, when applied correctly, can better you, your fellow family members, your community and, depending on how that wealth is managed and utilised, it can create a better world globally, while still providing for your family in perpetuity. Each member of the family should be educated on the spiritual and moral values of the family, particularly as they relate to the family’s mission, system of governance, and philanthropic efforts. It should be stressed upon each member the effect that hard work has upon self-worth, and that all work is equal to the family regardless of its financial reward.