Wealth Podcast Post

Navigating Generational Wealth with Dr. Jamie Weiner

George Grombacher November 10, 2022

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Navigating Generational Wealth with Dr. Jamie Weiner

LifeBlood: We talked about navigating generational wealth, the unique challenges children of affluent families face, the process for finding agency and contentment, and how to get started, with Dr. Jamie Weiner, psychologist, CoFounder of The Quest for Legitimacy, and author of The Quest for Legitimacy

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Dr. Jamie Weiner

Episode Transcript


Unknown Speaker 0:16
this is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Dr. Jamie Weiner, Dr. Jamia, you’re ready to do this. I’m looking forward to it, George. All right, let’s go. Jamie is a psychologist, he is the co founder of the quest for legitimacy and inheriting wisdom. He’s a consultant for high net worth families. His newest book is The quest for legitimacy how children of families discover their unique place in the world. Jamie, tell us a little bit about your personal life smart about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:50
So I grew up in a prominent family, but not a wealthy family. In about somewhere between 15 or 20 years ago, my wife and I, and she came from a business owning family, her parents died 35 days apart from each other, which is motivation for us, both psychologists to create inheriting wisdom, with the purpose of looking at all the stuff that goes on behind the money. Because without notice service to anybody working with the finances, the hard stuff really lies in what’s behind the money. And

Unknown Speaker 1:29
so we did that. And then over time led me to realize that a lot of people growing up in these families, the rising Gen,

Unknown Speaker 1:40
felt pretty isolated about their experiences and started the research that I’ve been involved.

Unknown Speaker 1:50
So when you say they feel isolated, what do you mean?

Unknown Speaker 1:55
So what me and my colleague in the UK, Ross Hayward did is we interviewed 25, rising Gen family members could have been in Indonesia, could have been in Chicago, or in New York, could have been in Costa Rica, because we really got a global reach. And we found that all of them have an experience, that they grew up in families, where they’re giants that they

Unknown Speaker 2:25
are born into the world of. And that’s true, not only in the most wealthy families, that that’s true in any family where there’s some prominence and significance. And we found that they can kind of have this the experience in isolation. It’s not something that they go talk about at school, but it’s part of their struggle to sort out who they are. And that’s kind of the unique characteristic about them. And over some time, we actually discovered that there’s a path, that the rising Gen, whether it’s Indonesia, whether it’s Costa Rica, go through

Unknown Speaker 3:09

Unknown Speaker 3:11
focused on their isolation, their struggle to have agency to have power in their lives. And for a lot of them to be able to want to have some impact, either in the family or in the world. They want to make some kind of difference, which is different than seeing we was spoiled brats, who are waiting for money to fall in their lap at some point.

Unknown Speaker 3:39
That’s interesting, right? You might look at the child of Jeff Bezos, or Michael Jordan or name, whatever, the son of a famous musician or actor and think, ah, that kid’s got it great. But we have no idea. Right? And it could be quite could be quite the opposite. They could feel like oh, my goodness, I’m interested in. I’m an individual to you know, and I’m interested in going out and making my mark and I want to have control over my life and chart my own course. But the world looks at me and thinks maybe what we just described, like, what, why would I listen to anything you have to say? Or who knows, I guess it’s just not necessarily as awesome as we might think.

Unknown Speaker 4:24
So George, one of the examples I have, cuz I didn’t interview with Michael Jordan’s kids or Jeff Bezos, but I interviewed a lot of others and one woman said to

Unknown Speaker 4:35
us as she was struggling to figure out who she was and what she wanted to do. She was also aware that there were all these opportunities she had, she didn’t give it a good education should be given the opportunity to travel and, and finding her place was was a unique challenge for her

Unknown Speaker 5:02
So talk about this talk about this, this, this, this, this this path.

Unknown Speaker 5:09
What’s what’s what’s the best way to sort of unpack it?

Unknown Speaker 5:13
I was hoping your desk

Unknown Speaker 5:19
the path has four steps. And I want to make it clear at the very beginning, it’s not linear. It’s not like you do step one. And then you do step two, the first path is a step is a moment of where awareness. So for example, we interviewed somebody whose parents were in the diamond industry, her dad would come home and deal with diamonds, and she learned to count by counting with diamonds, went off to school and realize not everybody else was learning to count by counting.

Unknown Speaker 5:52
The next phase is what I call a tug of war. And I think it happens in some degree for everybody. We’re born into a world where there are lessons in the world that we’re born into. But as we go out into the world, we get exposed to other ideas. At one point, we’re kind of pulled between the two of them.

Unknown Speaker 6:14
At some point, hopefully, if we don’t have parents that are doing too much helicoptering, we’re snow plowing,

Unknown Speaker 6:24
we go into a phase of exploration, which is really a period where we are a little bit, you know, we internalize what we’re brought up with a little free free rein to explain the world. It’s a very important phase, because it’s really where we saw sort of things out, as we begin to sort out,

Unknown Speaker 6:45
hopefully, because not everybody does that, how we’re gonna take ownership around lots.

Unknown Speaker 6:53
So the moment of awareness that that makes a ton of sense, like, Okay, I’m living a different experience, that tug of war. Is is it common that that young people, maybe reject? Is that part of it?

Unknown Speaker 7:12
Well, the way I like to talk about it is, you know, you go off into school, come on one day, and you bring some information back, and your parents go, Oh, how cute. And then you get a little older and you go out and you begin to rebel a little bit, you know, maybe like Prince Harry, and you come back home, and guess what the royal families and saying, Oh, my God, how cute.

Unknown Speaker 7:38
And to some degree, we all do that somewhat.

Unknown Speaker 7:44
Because they’ve worked in every economic group in society. So

Unknown Speaker 7:50
some of that’s true for Richard Richard poor.

Unknown Speaker 7:54
But it’s that hole between the two worlds. Yeah, it makes sense that, that that does exist at at probably most at so many different levels. What was the third step?

Unknown Speaker 8:08
The third step is exploration.

Unknown Speaker 8:13
It’s a tough one to kind of get your hands around, because it kind of has to, then when somebody goes off to college, that’s a period of exploration. That a lot of times, it’s

Unknown Speaker 8:26
growing up, people still feel very tied to the world they were brought up in. And so the best example I have was a woman who was

Unknown Speaker 8:38
parents were the first to bring a major car deal into Mexico. And because of family dynamics, the business failed. And she wants her father go bankrupt. For what she did to do, which she traveled to different culture countries, that she struggled to get as much as experience that she could, even though she wanted to hold on to the importance of the Mexican culture that she was brought up in. So for her that was her period of sorting out, learning about the world, but being connected, and trying to figure out who she was and what she was going to do with him the outward.

Unknown Speaker 9:21
Yeah, that exploration phase, and trying to figure out who I am, is, is most certainly an important one.

Unknown Speaker 9:30

Unknown Speaker 9:33
how often do people figure that out on their own? Is that common?

Unknown Speaker 9:40
So I’m in my 70s. And I would describe writing the book that I wrote, is the first true moment of legitimacy in my life, and it’s not that I wasn’t successful, and then accomplish things before. But it was the first time that I really thought I made a contribution.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
I can make a difference in the world. And I didn’t feel that my dad’s contributions to the world were, you know that I was in the shadow of those contributions. And

Unknown Speaker 10:14
in families who have prominence or wealth, that’s a big deal.

Unknown Speaker 10:21
So, because inheriting less than money doesn’t accomplish, that’s not like, Oh, God, I really earn money. And now I’m capable to, you know, find meaning of my life and purpose and all that kind of stuff.

Unknown Speaker 10:38
Amazing. So, that can take a long time. Well

Unknown Speaker 10:48
Well, certainly congratulations on, on, on, on on feeling that way. What is what is the fourth step?

Unknown Speaker 10:57
And the fourth step is taking ownership of your life. And I don’t think like, there’s one moment you wake up and you say, Oh, God, I got control of my life, you know, I feel you always had the potential to get pulled back. But as it’s where you begin to see that you live in a world of possibility, and that you want to make a difference. So, you know, short version of his story, we interviewed somebody who after working for his parents, Katie was fired by email,

Unknown Speaker 11:30
Rediscover rediscovered who he was knocked on his dad’s door after two years of not talking to his parents, and began to be seen in a different light, and has begun to really sort out his world independently and take some agency over what he’s doing.

Unknown Speaker 11:54
makes all the sense in the world to me taking ownership of your life.

Unknown Speaker 12:02
And that this isn’t necessarily a sequential thing, because you’ve obviously had ownership of your life earlier on than the moment when you wrote this book.

Unknown Speaker 12:13
Well, of course, I you know, at one point, I married a lovely woman, she had three kids, I didn’t,

Unknown Speaker 12:21
I didn’t let the the fact that they were pretty crazy. When I first met them, getting the way, you know, I made decisions about what was important for me. But also like, most human beings, I had rough moments, I made mistakes, talk in the book about breaking moments, times when you’re thrown into confusion and go through periods of liminality. And being betwixt in between. and,

Unknown Speaker 12:51
and all of that adds up to grading a life story.

Unknown Speaker 12:57
So what are you hoping that when somebody picks this book up and engages or, and or engages in the process with with you directly? That that the end result will be?

Unknown Speaker 13:12
So at the end of the book, I have a question that the

Unknown Speaker 13:17
group exercises, we want to move people and they action that we’re actually in addition to, you know, offering to get out there and speak about the book, we’re creating a cohort of rising gender family members that are going to be part of the one year program, because we really want them want to create the experience for, for people in canoeing on your island. We want to create the experience for people to really think about who they are, and begin to sort life out for themselves.

Unknown Speaker 13:55
Yeah, it strikes me that that would be really, really valuable. I think that cohort based learning is is a really, really impactful thing and in this situation where it is easy to feel so isolated, in fact common to be able to recognize okay, I’m certainly not alone, there are other people that are having these thoughts, these feelings like I am and we can work together to come out with the best possible scenario.

Unknown Speaker 14:23
Our is this generation are they like other generations? How How are they different?

Unknown Speaker 14:32
Well, this generation is a great question because this generation keeps changing.

Unknown Speaker 14:40

Unknown Speaker 14:43

Unknown Speaker 14:45
you know, the biggest example I have the differences when I was growing up, my father went to England and came came back and gave me a bicycle. In English racing bicycle I always had haven’t because part of what it meant

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Wish I could write off them. They didn’t, couldn’t GPS me know where I was in, and now I watch my grandkids, being GPS by their parents. You know, there’s there’s far more, I don’t know, if it’s more belief that the world’s dangerous, or just a different idea about what good parenting is. And in, you know, we’re on Zoom, we did all these interviews on Zoom, I was able to talk to people in Indonesia who write any have meaningful conversations, it’s a different world.

Unknown Speaker 15:43
Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. And I also remember being able to escape my house and be gone for as long as I wanted to, and nobody, no one knew where I was and got a 16, a three year old, and I then have to grapple with trying to try to give them a similar experience to that my wife will probably have more to say about that than I will anyway.

Unknown Speaker 16:06
So it is it is a generation of young people who are dealing with uncertainty and fluctuations and change, but they want essentially the same things is you and I want.

Unknown Speaker 16:23
Yeah, you know, I can’t figure out if the world’s really crazier than it’s all have always been, or whether we just watch it on TV more.

Unknown Speaker 16:34
There’s a lot of stuff going on out there.

Unknown Speaker 16:37
And COVID was COVID was a breaking moment for the world. And we went through a period of liminality, where we felt betwixt in between. And we’re just coming back, and I don’t think we even know what the impact of all that is, on generations growing up. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 16:58
Well, I see so much value in,

Unknown Speaker 17:01
in engaging in a process like this, have, recognizing where I am in the world, wherever that might be, of struggling with ideas that are different than mine, and different than my families, and trying to figure out go through that process of who I am. And, and, and, and owning my successes and failures and and my life. So thank you.

Unknown Speaker 17:30
Let’s see. Exactly, George, I mean, what you’re talking about you going through is what I write about in the book.

Unknown Speaker 17:41

Unknown Speaker 17:45
how obviously families receive it well is, is there.

Unknown Speaker 17:52
Maybe that’s not obvious. There’s probably a lot of families that you call down that said, No, thanks. We’re not interested in this, we’ll we’ll we’ll figure it out on our own.

Unknown Speaker 18:03
You know, it’s interesting to me when I made contact with people who are in the rising job, and the oldest person I interviewed was 75 years old. So I want to want to be clear about that. And he was part of one of the wealth the way it was once one of the wealthiest families in the world, but Kaiser family and the built the grandfather built the Hoover Dam, that everybody wanted to tell these stories, they wanted to make a difference for other people growing up.

Unknown Speaker 18:36
And the question we asked them is, what is it like growing up in the land of giants? And they didn’t ask us what do you mean by giants? They immediately talked about who the Giants were and what their experience was. And I don’t think the Giants even understand the impact of

Unknown Speaker 19:00
prominence in unusual success.

Unknown Speaker 19:04

Unknown Speaker 19:08
don’t understand the the did you say impact to prominence and unusual success? Yeah, I mean,

Unknown Speaker 19:18
some people talk about it as okay, I put my kids on a private jet and they focus on the money portion of it.

Unknown Speaker 19:27
But the real implication is

Unknown Speaker 19:34
how much they’ve done in their lives. And what measuring up to that what it Shimon portion that that is what we kept hearing repeatedly, from those we talked about.

Unknown Speaker 19:54
Well, I’m certainly not surprised to hear that, that it’s

Unknown Speaker 20:00
But that was the challenge. And, and the opportunity was to figure out what your achievement is, is, is that what it is to figure out what my contribution will be, I’m just trying to find a different word, what my achievement will be, how do I achieve contribution, because sometimes it’s not about the job you take, right? It’s, but it’s

Unknown Speaker 20:25
sometimes it’s about doing a good job, like you’re trying to do raising the next generation of kids. And in a world, that’s kind of what what the world is. And

Unknown Speaker 20:41
to it’s a very personal inner experience.

Unknown Speaker 20:47
Because I’m much more focused on if you change the inside, the outside will follow.

Unknown Speaker 20:55

Unknown Speaker 20:57
you know, there’s a chapter about women in their site, tell stories of three very different women. And I talk about that another chapter where I talk about when the Giants become more until you begin to see them for who they are.

Unknown Speaker 21:17
So it’s all of that becomes part of this.

Unknown Speaker 21:24
You talked at the beginning about how no offense to a lot of the financial folks, but it’s what’s behind the money. And I certainly couldn’t agree more, I think that money is not a good thing or a bad thing, it just is. And you could give somebody a billion dollars and watch them be bankrupt in, you know, six months later, or that you understand what I’m saying. So, so important to be open to engage in in this kind of work, if you ever hope to individually be happy

Unknown Speaker 21:55
with yourself, and certainly as a parent, if you ever help your kids to, to have happy and enrich lives that they own, then this isn’t going to take care of itself. So I’m grateful that you, you, you you did the work and wrote the book. And thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? And how can they get a copy of the quest for legitimacy how children and families discover their unique place in the world.

Unknown Speaker 22:21
So the website is quest for legitimacy.com and the book can be found anywhere where books are sold.

Unknown Speaker 22:33
I know advertised one source over another source, but

Unknown Speaker 22:39
and it’s available on Kindle as well as hardcopy so

Unknown Speaker 22:45
excellent. Love it. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, show Dr. Jamie your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to quest for legitimacy.com and check out everything that Dr. Jamie has working on and then pick up a copy of quest for legitimacy how children and families discover their unique place in the world wherever you buy your books. Thanks again, Jamie.

Unknown Speaker 23:11
George, thank you. So pleasure, Dan, likewise, and until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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