Nurturing your family’s well-being in the context of abundance and immense change — to our climate, global health, work and education — is an unparalleled challenge, calling on the collective imagination of the whole family, as well as trusted friends, colleagues and advisors (the “village”).
In this conversation, financial education expert Joline Godfrey shares the wisdom and experiences of thought leader families who have tackled these challenges head-on. Whether your children or grandchildren are 5 or 25, you’ll find her approach to giving the next generation tools for economic well-being pragmatic and innovative. In this session, Godfrey addresses questions such as:
- How do parents raise financially fluent kids without the gender burdens — assuming too much for boys and too little for girls — that come with the influence of social media, peers and the larger community?
- How do you help kids navigate the space between privilege and responsibility, economic shame and entitlement?
- How can parents manage the varying attitudes and needs of children — some may hoard while others can’t save — as they navigate school and social life?
- Which financial skills should children know and be able to master at ages 5, 8, 12, 16 and 26?
Godfrey sees financial education as a developmental journey, like learning to walk, talk, read and learn a language. Explore how you can augment your own strategies for financial parenting.
Read below for a full transcript of the conversation.
Stacy Allred - Well, welcome. On behalf of the entire First Republic team, it is with delight and curiosity that we welcome each of you and our wonderful guest speaker, Joline Godfrey into dialogue today. So, Joline is a pioneer in the field of financial education. She is the author of Raising Financially Fit Kids, which is a go-to book for many families and people in our field, as well as that book, she's the author of five other books with the focus on financial education for kids, for women, for families. And she's worked with over 400 of the world's wealthiest families. She's known for her experiential approach to financial education and Joline likes to start financial education early at age five. So her programs span age five through 21 with another cohort of financial novices at 22 and older. Joline's very familiar with family business, having grown up in a family business and married into one. And so, she has an intimate understanding of the complexity of sustaining family and business across the generations and what it takes. And Joline's work is centered on connections between financial wellbeing and resilience in families. Joline likes to remind us that it's not just about the money, it's about raising healthy, resilient, and future-ready families. Who wouldn't want to do that? So, I'm lucky enough to interview Joline today because Joline's topic area intersects with our team's focus, family engagement and governance at First Republic. One of our core focuses is on rising gen learning and development. So lastly, Joline is one of the most creative thinkers around making financial education accessible to all types of thinkers. Joline is really influenced, I think not just me, but the field and increasing creativity around that from fashion and finance to how much does it cost to feed a horse, right? Increasing us to raise the bar and make things more fun and interactive. So Joline, we so appreciate you joining us today to share your life wisdom.
Joline Godfrey - Well, it's great to be here. And Stacy, to have a chance to work with you and your team is also a terrific opportunity. You all are doing great work there. So, this is a great collaboration.
Stacy - Well, thank you. So, let's start with the question about the title. You've titled this today, Financial Parenting In Times of Change. What is financial parenting? How do you define that? And what's different now?
Joline - Well, there are a couple of things. The first of course, is the so many parents, and I refer to grandparents and parents, boomers and gen Z, people who grew up and were not digital natives, but they are raising digital natives. So, one of the things we know is that the things that we learned from our parents and grandparents about financial responsibility don't quite work in the same way for the kids growing up today. I read a study earlier today that reminded me a third of gen Z, for example, is getting their financial information and of course, misinformation from TikToK and YouTube. So, countering that is one of the things that families are having to deal with. The other piece, of course, is that the financial landscape has changed so much. I didn't even have the option to get a credit card until I was in my 30s, I think, because it wasn't legal, that tells you something about how old and experienced I am. But today's kids have their passports by the time they're six and they have Minecraft accounts by the time they're seven or eight and they're using their parent's iTunes account really early on. So, everything is different. And that's one of the things that I think parents are trying to adapt to.
Stacy- Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So, we'd like next to get to know our audience a little bit better. So, we have a couple quick polls. And Sophia, can you bring the first poll up? There's just two and we would love to get as much participation as we can. So the first one, what are the ages of the kids that your... What's motivated you to attend the ages of your kids or grandkids and check as many that apply? And we'll go ahead and just give that about maybe 20 seconds and this is being made. Seeing things come in. Okay. And Sophia go ahead and finalize that, maybe another five seconds, so that a few more people vote. And show the results, if you good. Okay.
Joline - Oh, wow. Pretty evenly distributed. Okay. I love to see 39%, zero to eight on there. That's pretty exciting. So, we'll get into that a little bit more.
Stacy - Yeah. And so Joline, it looks like we need to cover all the stages today.
Joline - with our families.
Stacy - Okay. Great. And one more question for our audience, this one's along the lines of what keeps you up at night. So, choose one or more of your biggest concerns as it applies to financial parenting. Okay. Maybe another 10 seconds for that. Okay. Go ahead.
Joline - Oh, interesting. Okay. Okay. One, two and four. That makes sense to me.
Stacy - Don't understand the value of money. They don't want them to be over-focused on money and they will be de-motivated if they know our net worth or what's available to them. Those are the ones that we hear a lot.
Joline - Okay. So as we're going along, Stacy, you and I need to make sure we're speaking to those. The other thing I would add about each of those, because the two of us could talk about each one of those issues for an hour and a half each, it would just invite anybody who's listening to send those emails if they want to talk more about any one of them, because they are pretty substantial questions.
Stacy - Absolutely. So Joline, given all of that, now that we have some context from our listeners on the age and the stage, can you help us understand a little bit more about how families prepare for the realities of the 21st century?
Joline - Well, as you know, I'm trained as a clinical social worker and family therapist. I wasn't trained as a financial expert. My convergence of those two worlds was an unexpected path. And I would just add for anybody is looking at this chart and thinking, "Oh God, it's too little. "I can't read it." We're going to make this chart available to you afterwards. So, don't worry too much about what you can and can't see. But let me just run through it quickly, given that we have people at every age and stage on this program today, you can see that I do start very young. And part of that is because I came to understand that in the same way we learned to walk and talk and develop moral compass early on, children are acquiring their financial values, it turns out as early as 18 months. And I know that's a little daunting and anybody who's watching and thinks, "Oh, my, I've kind of an 18-year-old, "who hasn't begun yet? What am I going to do?" I would just remind you that this is developmental, not chronological. And in the same way as if you wanted to master a new language at 35, you'd start at the beginning. You would not start in the middle. And I think one of the things we worry about is that a 16-year-old who has managed to stay checked out of any financial awareness for the early part of their lives just needs to start at the beginning, not with managing a whole big allowance early on. And that's one of the kinds of plans that I think Stacy and her team and certainly my team helps families do. We design plans that are developmental in nature. And so people say, "Well, what do you teach a five-year-old?" Obviously we're not focused on spreadsheets or the time value of money.
What we're looking at as you see here is we're focused on language and values. And by values, I refer to those financial values that are core to every specific family. So, if you grew up in a family that said live within your means or save for a rainy day, those were early financial values you were being taught. They may not be quite as moving as they were for us growing up. But little children watch, you are modeling their behavior when you bring them a gift home from a business strip every time. So, what we're looking at is how do you build these tasks and skills over time? And you can see what I have on this chart is not just the developmental tasks, but also the challenges. So, that is another piece that parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles can key into. I mean, look at the child between nine and 12 being taken seriously is one of the big issues. And I would just remind families that that's probably the time you get asked to help them start a lemonade stand or some other entrepreneurial undertaking. And one thing I'll leave this piece on is, what I say to families is, when they want to start that lemonade stand, tell them you'll do it with them as long as you can do a business plan with them. Because if you just refer to them as cute, isn't that cute that they want to do that? You're already giving the message that financial education or financial activity isn't something you respect them for. They're just playing around. They're not serious. But if you make sure they understand how much the lemons and the sugar cost so that they can understand what their profit is, you're already beginning to instill that language and those habits that are going to pay off in another 10, 15 or 20 years. Does that make sense?
Stacy - Absolutely. Joline, you're bringing up a memory for me. Our first lemonade stand, my daughter wrote lemonade, one for 10 or two for 25, and I realized it was good. A good opportunity to work on marketing and math skills.
Joline - Exactly. Yes. Yes. We're going to talk later about what I refer to as drip, drip, drip in families. And that's a great example of that. Yeah. Let me just add before we go on to, because obviously we know we've got a number of people with family members who are 19 and over, so, many young people do grow up in families where they don't really have big responsibilities until they're at college or even post-college. And suddenly everything is coming at them in a very big, intense way. And they may actually be experiencing what I think of as financial anxiety. I'm not competent. I'm not skilled. I don't know what to do. And so, they move into a kind of learned helplessness. One of the things we look at there is that it's important to refer to that family member as a financial novice, not as somebody who isn't responsible or not smart. I try very hard to make sure we're not being judgemental or critical. This is a life skill. And you either start learning early or you learn that later in life or in your midlife, whenever you can. But it's something we all have to acquire without feeling like we are less than as we are being taught these skills. I think that's a key part of this process and families.
Stacy - And we invite our participants to ask questions throughout. We're going to keep this super interactive. We tend to get a lot more questions on the parenting topics than our other topics. But Joline, let me ask you a quick question here. You've pioneered Allowance 2.0, and I found that particularly helpful with families. Can you just comment quickly on Allowance 2.0 before we move on?
Joline - Oh, I'm so happy you remember that, Stacy. Yes. One of the things that got very clear to me early on in my career as I was developing all this is that every child already has an allowance. It's frequently an invisible allowance. It comes out of the parents' pocket and just goes into the kid's pocket without any kind of teaching or accountability. And Allowance 2.0 basically says, look, as long as you can handle money, and that may start as early as four or five or six, we start with what your income and what are your expenses. And for children who are getting income, and that happens early, it's important to remember the sources. There is what I think of is the allowance, which is practice money. There's earned income, when they figure out a chart of chore that they want to do, there's earned income. That might be the lemonade stand. And then of course, there's wind fall. And that wind fall of course, is where things all go wrong. And so, families have a hard time with allowances because they don't factor in the $5 bill that comes from grandmother or the gift that comes from aunt Jane or whomever. And then what we do is don't make kids accountable for their, at least some expenses in order to give them practice. Allowance 2.0 is about practice. It's not about making them financially independent at the age of 10. It's helping them to develop habits that will become second nature and normalized by the time they're 12, 13 or 14, when they're already anxious to be independent, but may not have the financial skills to go with that. So, Allowance 2.0 is my way of undermining the whole movement of invisible allowances and families, I guess you would say.
Stacy - Love it. Love it. That's great. So, the next question for you is what do you mean by change? Why does it matter? And isn't life different in every generation?
Joline - It is, it is absolutely. Like when I think back about my grandmother's experiences compared to mine, I know that she underwent extraordinary change throughout the 20th century. But I started keeping this chart in 2012 accidentally. It happened I noticed a headline in the New York Times. It was in the travel section in the big headline, the front page was a space tourism. And I remember thinking, wait a minute, this is moved off science fiction and into the travel section of the New York Times. And it was only 2012. And I started to keep note then of the differences between the 20th and 21st centuries and what families are really beginning to grapple with. And I would say that I think we don't give families enough support or enough credit for the fact that if you just take a quick glance at the changes that I've noted here, and I'm not going to talk about all of them, but I'll pick out two or three. We know, for example, the through most of the 20th century, leadership of families really did start at the head of the family with the matriarch or the patriarch. And we all probably have some experience of growing up with my way or the highway or what I say goes, or because I said so, or those phrases for... But more and more families have come to understand that they are raising kids who have voice and who wants to exercise voice, who want to be part of decision-making. That means they need a new form of governance. The authoritarianism in the family just isn't effective anymore. And just as our country is struggling with democracy, so our families. And so, we've created the family council, for example, as a way to give multiple family members voice. And teaching governance through that family council is not an easy thing. And yet it has made a huge difference in the families I work with. When I think about what is the kind of organization that kids growing up as the Mars generation, oh God, I see a typo that just makes me crazy. What are those kids going to be expecting? And we'll get to that later. That's a question. We don't really know what's going to happen. But look at this next one.
Through the 20th century, family was easy. It was who is your blood? In the 20th first century, we know that for example, Jay Hughes, who's written extensively about the nature of family began to tell us that well, families are chosen and they are blending. And there are families of affinity. And there are family members with multiple marriages and kids being adopted in, and extended families from multiple families. And that complicates the nature of families. And now what does it mean for families who are going to be more biotech? What is that going to look like? Whether, and I'll end here for just a moment. I grew up worrying about whether or not it would rain too much on the day of the prom. Today's kids are really worried about climate anxiety. They talk about that. I mean, it is a real thing. And we know that the kind of depression we're seeing in kids today comes from things like social justice issues, issues around privilege for existential issues around the future of the planet. Those are things that kids are worrying about, and it feeds into these issues of financial wellbeing in a way that if we try to ignore them, we shut them down. We don't give them voice and we don't help them figure out, well, what can I do? I would say one of the most frequently asked questions I get from 18, 19, 20-year-olds is what can I do? And they want action. They want real solutions. And most times, obviously, there is a financial component to whatever it is they can do. So, the acceleration of change and the kind of multiple issues coming at families are really pretty extreme right now. And I think trying to ignore them is to leave families really pretty helpless.
Stacy - Yeah. Not all of our participants could see the slide. So, I've taken down, I'll put them back up. We're kind of interactive here. Not sure what's causing that. But Joline, let me take an audience question quickly. And this one comes from my grandmother of a grandchild of age six. We had a lot of that was a big cohort today. And a grandchild who has lots of everything, attention, toys, stuff. So, and this is right OPC other people's children. So, how do you influence that? Both, maybe from a grandparent perspective, and then if it's your own child.
Joline - This is one of the most wonderful unintended consequences of success and families. And I was just with a marvelous family last week. And I remember saying to the grandfather who has been wildly successful, the more successful you are, the more challenging it is for your children and your grandchildren. Because literally kids who can have anything, almost literally anything, the question then is, what's important? How do they decide, how do they make decisions? And I do think the power of grandparenting is that it is such a marvelous platform for helping kids develop values, purpose, decision-making skills. You may or may not be able to impact what comes into the house, because these are kids who may have fancy cars at the age of 16 or 17, which I'm not convinced is an excellent thing to happen with kids, but it happens. And grandparents in particular, who were talking about their financial values, why they make some of the decisions they do, why they think stewardship is so important, why they make sure philanthropic action is part of their financial planning. Those are parents, grandparents in particular, who set an example, they model behavior, they send messages. I will tell you I've come to believe that I can tell the difference in a nanosecond between families whose kids have access to their grandparents and those who have not. Kids who have had active access to grandparents seem to have an easier time of figuring out who they are or establishing their identity. Kids who have less access to grandparents struggle a little bit more. They have to establish who they are by the nature of the car they drive, the logos they wear, the cool stuff they have. So, whoever the grandparent is who asked that question, I would say yay for you because you are in a marvelous position of influence. And I hope you use it because you will have impact on those kids.
Stacy - Yeah. Love that. I would just add that we've had grandparents create these grandparents financial boot camps, and then it broadens beyond just the money to all these different life skills. And they thought the grandkids would grow out of them, but they became so popular. They're still doing them for their young adults. It's incredible. So Joline, moving onto the next question, before we leave our audience in despair, can you provide a few more ideas on what families can do? Cause this is tricky, right? Intent isn't the issue, it's kind of this system that we're in. So, what are some practical steps?
Joline - Well, the first thing I will say is that this is hard and it's a lifelong practice. I know families think, "Oh my God, "I've already got too much on my plate." I think this, it can often be some of the most fun, most engaging, most cohesion building work in family. So, let me start by saying, I'm not going to depress you. This is all cool stuff and not so hard to do. The first thing though, is to think, and I've got four strategies, if you will, I've listed here. I'm going to run through them pretty quickly and hope somebody asks a question about them, and you can tell, I can motor mouth about these topics for a long time. But the first one is to think about, particularly if you have young children or if there's someone in the family who's just discovered they're pregnant. They're going to have kids early. They are in such an easier time of it because helping to raise kids so that you are normalizing the notion of financial responsibility and stewardship and all of those really juicy skills and issues we talk about, starting early makes it such that you don't have to worry down the road with some sort of financial crisis. I mean, I know so many families have college students who are in credit card held because they have charged too much and the parent has to keep bailing them out. Or if they don't bail them out, there are other kinds of consequences. Those families who start young and just keep at it and kind of plugging away in a smaller way, have easier outcomes. They are really normalizing behavior starting upfront. So, I would say, if you are an aunt or an uncle and you hear me refer to aunts and uncles often, because I do think it is the invisible and unappreciated asset in a family or aunts and uncles who often can have enormous impact on kids. If you are in the family and you're concerned something isn't happening because the parents are overwhelmed or busy, jump in and start talking about financial skills, take these kids with you on experiences. If you're going to buy a car, take care of the horse, whatever you're going to do, take the kid along and make sure they are exposed to the financial aspect of whatever activity you're doing. So, thinking about financial education is developmental is a number one.
The second thing on there, and this is a little trickier, but Stacy and I can figure this out. You can see I've referred to something called diagnosing fluency and readiness. And I developed something I called the MoneyQ or money score because I know families would say, "Well, but what is it they really are supposed to know?" Because particularly people who are sophisticated about financial knowledge know that this is a lifelong skill you develop over time. And the more sophisticated you are, the more you realize this is not easy stuff, but when you're dealing with young people and the financial novice, you want to tease out about 10 basic skills and they're everything you would imagine it is living within means, managing a budget. It's saving, it's understanding what credit is about. It is understanding due diligence. There are 10 things, and you can use the score I use. I'm sure Stacy and her team have another way of managing, but you want a baseline. So, kids know what the expectations are. I think one of the challenges is, yes, you want me to be financially responsible, well, what do you mean really? And often families will just say, "Well, don't spend so much." That's not very helpful to kids. And so, what we try to do is get pretty basic and granular so they understand what the expectations are that they need to master as number two.
Stacy - Can I just interject quickly there that I think that on of the things that's made your book so popular for so many years is that you do such a wonderful job of laying out the different stages. And then for each stage really, honing in on what those 10 skills mean at that particular stage. So, really practical road map.
Joline - It's interesting because I did begin to see that families thought they needed to teach their 13 year old something new from what they taught them when they were 10. But no, you're right. It is the same thing. It's just doing it at a higher level. So, what you were teaching with that lemonade stand is the same thing if they decide they want to sell something, that's a computer tutoring program or something, and you just have an opportunity to grow with kids, I think. And their curiosity often will drive the process. So, yeah, I think this is such a great way to get to know kids too, who they are kind of comes out as you're engaged in these processes. The third one we have on here, I love this. Everybody who's ever sat with our financial advisor of course, knows that we financially train people talk about their financial capital, but we also talk about our intellectual capital, our social capital and our human capital. It was one of my clients one day who actually said, "Joline, did you realize this means fish "if you put the order together." And so, it's been an easy way to teach kids about how to think about more than money as you're trying to introduce capital. And one of the things I do with families early on is I remind them that somebody somewhere, maybe themselves are they're keeping track of their financial assets and some nice tidy report in a drawer somewhere. Somebody knows what their financial assets are, their property, their stocks and bonds, all of that. We are not quite as careful yet with our intellectual, social and human capital. And for families, remember that poll and the worry about de-motivating kids or you don't want them to be too focused on money. This is a way to diffuse that. This is a way to help kids understanding that wealth isn't just about the money. It is about the fact that as a family, one of the things we do is make sure that we develop our education. That's part of our asset that we invest in. What we also want to remind families of is that our connections with one another, not just transactional, but our relationships with one another. That's part of our capital. And certainly our human capital of the memories, the legacies, the traditions, the fact that the grandparents do do a bootcamp every year. Those are the things that make family really extraordinary. And so, by developing this bigger notion of what wealth is, you defuse those worries around the motivation or over-focus on money because kids understand it's a balance. It's not just about the money.
Stacy - Joline, this ties into another one of our audience questions, which was around the art of living the rich life and kind of redefining moving beyond just kind of the financial aspect to this broader fish. I had one family that in order to access any of the family capital, you had to make your case of how you were growing the fish, either the financial, intellectual, social, or human capital. So, it wasn't about consumption. It was around this broader definition. And that can be so powerful.
Joline - Powering kids in that way, which is why I think it's such an extraordinary gift to enlarge the idea in this way. Yeah.
Stacy - We have quite a few questions and let's go to a couple of questions now. So, one of the concerns is not just about de-motivating children, but robbing them of some of the reward and happiness from work and accomplishment when their compensation becomes overshadowed by outsize gifts. It's similar but with a difference, I think this is a really important question.
Joline - It's one of my favorite questions, because as you said, at the top of the hour, I spend a lot of time thinking about resilience. And for me, grit is very much connected to resilience. And one of the things I look at when I see what families are doing is my question is, what are you doing with kids that's hard? Are you helping them have experiences in which they have to endure something, they have to achieve or overcome? Because it is that endurance, whether it is a hike up a mountain or a 70-mile hike, which is one of my families did just recently, whatever it is that that helps kids stretch, that is not about the money, but is about their inner ability. I think you really make the case, Stacy, exactly right. It's not about having too much. It's about not having enough opportunities to draw from your inner strengths. And again, I think that's where the extended family comes into play. Imagine some of the things you can do that aren't just getting on the private plane and going to a great resort. That's terrific. But unless you are also letting kids or encouraging kids to do hard things that they have to overcome, you are robbing them of the opportunity to nurture grit and resilience. So, I think whoever put that question out is really focused on one of the most important issues I see coming up in families. Kids who don't have grit, who are not developing resilience, those are the kids who are most prone to the kind of anxieties I talked about a few minutes ago. They're not sure they can do things. And so, they are afraid of the world in a way that I really hate to see happen for them.
Stacy - And if I could add quickly to that. And then we have some other really good questions we'll get to. I love the framework. We use this quite often of over-function, under function. And if I over-function, I allow you to under function. And Renee brown, and one of her podcasts, I don't know, in the last year or so, she kind of made that popular again, but it's such a great one. And when you have this level of abundance, it can be just so easy to use money to sooth and smooth and take away those resilience building opportunities. I think that over function, under function and looking for those challenges, it's not too easy. It's not too hard. It's the right amount of challenge. So, there's another question of, how important is it to have young kids experience hardships and live kind of not so well off? Like kind of, it ties into what you just said. What else would you add to that specifically?
Joline - I would just encourage you to reframe it. It's not living so well off. It's making sure that there are challenges that they get a chance to overcome. Because I'm not convinced that it makes sense to make kids live with a kind of fantasy that they don't have anything. Then they don't have any practice dealing with abundance, which is going to be their real task. But certainly making sure there are challenges so that if a big gift arrives, you may get that big gift, but there are expectations that come with how you manage that big gift. What is it you're going to do in terms of giving back, where is it going to be applied or what's the purpose of it? So, I think actually ties very much into what you were just talking about, Stacy, this business of over and under-functioning, but reframing from not being well off to giving more challenges I think is kind of the trick in there.
Stacy - So, this next one gets, well, let me go to kind of a younger one and then kind of a little bit more complex question. And keep the questions coming. These are fabulous.
Joline - fun. Yeah.
Stacy - So, I started teaching my six and seven-year-old on stock markets and saving money and having goals rather than being impromptu, would love to hear more about financial skills and tools. And if I could pair this one with another related one is on the importance of delayed gratification. So, at that kind of stage one. And we all need delayed gratification, right? .
Joline - We all need it. Exactly. And in some ways, I would say practicing delayed gratification is more important for a five and six-year-old than it is learning about investing. And I do think those early years, or the time when you have the opportunity to instill values by your own behavior, what they watch you do, what you make clear is important to you. I think investing obviously is an important skill. And I encourage parents to talk to their... Use the language and remind them we're investing in the family, we're investing in education, we're investing in the future. Make sure that the notion of investment is something that is woven through the entire family experience. But I do think for young kids, making sure your values are absolutely explicit. And particularly in families where parents or grandparents may have conflicting values, you're going to have to spend a whole lot more time there because the confusion this is going to raise for children is something that I think is normal and not a big deal, but families need to confront that and be real with it rather than pretend it's not there, otherwise what you get, I try not to talk about this so much anymore, but it's like trying to train the dog where you've got too many people in the family giving mixed messages to the dog. You get a crazy dog, you don't get a well-trained dog. And if you have children who are getting mixed messages around financial values, number of things can happen. One of which is they'll just tune out because they don't want to be part of the family conflict around money. And that gets to be a real problem. So I would say, make sure that parents, grandparents, whoever it is in the village, raising those kids can find some common ground, can find some way to give common messages around the expectations and values. And once those values are in place, the skills are relatively easy to teach. Values and delayed gratification, holding back, the kids who greet you at the door with, "What did you bring me?" You've already trained in a way not to wait for anything. So, that's not about the kid, that is about the grownup. How we retrain grownups I think is the big question here.
Stacy - Yeah. Let me just quickly build on the important kind of values work that you brought up. So this overlying theme, right? That our audiences is hearing kind of again and again, is taking a much more deliberate approach to this, not being casual, very deliberate. So, we all have values. Of course, we're living them every day, but what does it look like to, co-create a written set of value statements, values in general and values around the earning, saving, spending, and sharing of money? And then when you're getting these questions, right? You're able to answer them from the context of your value statements. And it's a dynamic statement. You get it out when you're making financial decisions, you review it once a year. And that's a really powerful thing to do. So, there are some of these practices, core practices that Joline's sharing that make a real difference. Okay. Let me take... Well, you know what, Joline? let's go to your story. You have a story that is a beautiful story, about two fishes and capturing experience. Can you share that?
Joline - Yes. Let me tell you my two fishing stories, because I think it exemplifies two different ways of teaching and families. These are real stories. So story one, I'm at a family meeting in this gorgeous room, in a fancy resort, somewhere in America. And I've worked with this particular family for a number of years. So, I know the family members pretty well. 15-year-old boy comes in, he's the first one into the room and he greets me enthusiastically. And he says, "Ms. Godfrey, "I want to tell you about my last fishing trip." I know this boy, I know he loves to fish and I'm waiting to hear his story, but right behind him, his father comes in and says, "Oh, Ethan, there's more to life than fishing." And I watched that 15 year old just deflate. I put it away in my head because the rest of the family's coming in behind. And I just feel terrible that we've had that missed opportunity. And the rest of the family comes in. I actually don't get a chance to circle back with that 15-year-old. Six weeks later, different part of the country, another family meeting, completely different family. Another 15-year-old boy walks in. I swear this is some higher power work. 15-year-old comes in. And he says, "Ms. Godfrey, I have an idea. "I am going to go fly fishing in every one of the 50 states "and I'm going to blog about it." And I'm standing there trying to think about whether or not you can actually fly fish in all 50 states. His father comes in right behind him and he says, "Oh, and I bet if you made a pitch "to one of the big outdoor companies, "they'll probably sponsor that blog." Fast forward three months, I think it, oh God, it's just alluded me. But one of the big outdoor companies did indeed sponsor that blog. And for me, the obvious interpretation is, here is a kid who is going to learn presentation skills, entrepreneurial skills, how to do a business plan. His father just captured his passion. He took that passion and built on it, as opposed to having a clear idea like dad one about the only way you can learn or what's important. And I've had families say to me, for example, "Oh, my kid is only interested in X, whatever X is."
One year, I know somebody came up to me and said, "My kid only is into comic books." To which I responded, "Do you know how much money can be made "developing comic books?" It turns out that families who don't worry about what lessons are you going to teach? And instead, they capture the passion of the kid, however crazy it may sound or look, those are the families that really have a great time with financial education. And sometimes, and I'm sure your team does this, Stacy, sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize what's going on so that we can intervene, so that dad one doesn't do so much damage and more of us are like that too. Those stories.
Stacy - Great stories. And I think hearing that really kind of shines a light on how we bring ourselves into that. And both dads, I'm sure had great intentions, right? They're engaging in these programs, but those little things can really have a domino effect. So, thank you for sharing that. Joline, we have so many questions. Let me take a question, then I'm going to go to our last slide and we'll finish up with questions. This one's an important one. And I think it's a pretty common one. It's around, how do you deal with the teen who's spending time with friends who either have more or the way that the family demonstrates wealth, right? They're kind of more free flowing and don't have the same kind of parameters and limits either by necessity or by design that your team has. So, how do you help that? And that also comes up with families with multi-generational wealth. If it's inherited wealth, the cousins and the different households might have very different way that they demonstrate wealth. And that can cause some tricky dynamics as well.
Joline - It's really painful to watch economic shame emerge in families. And sometimes you have the teen who just is overcome by anxiety and doesn't want to deal with this at all. And so, either won't bring their friends home to the house to see what reality is there or they just go into deep denial. Others are just mortified by it and they don't know how to behave. I've actually been... And it happens between generations and among branches, as you talk about. This business is I think one of the newer things that families are dealing with. When I was talking about change earlier, I have a family, for example, the nine-year-old came home after the first day of school and his father called me and said, "My nine-year-old has just gone through Zillow "and looked at the value of all of the homes "of all of his classmates. "I don't even know how to talk about this "because obviously he's seeing the value of our home too, "compared to some of his friends." And the father was mortified and didn't know how to even begin to deal with this. One thing it tells us is that kids have access to information. The other thing it tells us is that parents have to deal with these things. You cannot avoid the conversation. You have to be engaged. You have to be talking about what economics means and how the family came to have the wealth they did or the resources they do and what choices they make, again, what the values are and how they deal with those themselves. I will say that during the days post George Floyd, when we were all in lockdown, the anxiety I saw among teenagers and college students in particular who felt powerless to do something, they were locked down. They wanted to make a difference. They were embarrassed by their privilege. And so, there is this question of how do you talk about privilege and families? I think that families who don't tackle that head on, who don't talk about, well, here's how we're going to manage our privilege, here's how we're going to be conscious of it. And here's how we will learn together. Those are the families that have difficulty. The families who really do grapple and really organize their lives and their thinking and their choices and their philanthropy and their investments and their lifestyles around dealing with this upfront and understanding that it's an issue their kids are going to deal with, those are families that are growing. Those are families that are making impact, both inside their own family and in their communities. Those are the most intentional families I see. And I suspect for you too. I know that it's sometimes embarrassing for families and they don't want to start, but I know you've seen what I have and that is, it just takes a little bit of outside help and support and then great things break out. So, I think letting possibility flourish is part of the answer to that question.
Stacy - Yeah. And a lot of this is predictable. I mean, that happened with my kids. And so it's like the question is kind of seeing around corners. If you Google yourself and what is it that the kids have access to, and how do you want to create the narrative, and how do you want to help them with an elevator speech? I'll never forget when one family member shared that after the December holidays, the teacher wanted to know what everyone had received as their gifts and embarrassed that he had so much, said I got a new belt and shoes, like just so downplaying things and feeling guilty instead of empowered. We don't want guilt. We don't want entitlement. We want empowerment. And with that, let's move into one last slide and then we'll finish out with as many questions as we can take in the next eight minutes. I have to say, I'm just so excited about the number of questions here. This is the most we've ever gotten in a single webinar. So, wondering, Sophia, if you can save the questions, we might be able to kind of... When we send the follow-up, maybe we can send a few other ideas since we can't get to all of them. So Joline, you've given us a lot of work for parents, and parents who are already feeling under siege in the age of homeschooling, managing COVID, worrying about their kids. Are you concerned that parents can't handle all of this?
Joline - I'm very concerned. And I am full of compassion for what families are going through these days. And it's why I come to drip, drip, drip. I don't think parents... It's not even possible to set aside time to do another lesson in the family and you're going to turn off kids anyway. It really is a matter of just taking the opportunities in front of you, seeing around the corner as you put it a moment ago. You have conversations every day, there are experiences that come up. You may be listening to a podcast, share those podcasts with your kids. Use language and vocabulary in your daily dinner time with the kids, whatever you can do, capture the moment, and think of it as drip, drip, drip, over time. I had a wonderful daddy said to me one day, I think I gone wrong. I was using the water hose method. I'd sit the kids down. I give them the lecture and they'd nod and go away and I'd have to do it again in six months. He said, "I think it is drip, drip, drip." Both you and I know that we have helped families figure out what that drip, drip, drip looks like in their family. I think it's much less daunting. And it also is an acknowledgement that this is lifelong learning. It is not something you do in an afternoon or a fancy weekend. So, yes, I think it's hard if you don't just make peace with the fact that this is part of family life now.
Stacy - Great. Thank you. Joline, is there a question that we haven't asked you yet today that we should be asking you?
Joline - Oh my gosh. There is one about a secrecy and transparency that just very quickly, I'll say there was a time when it was considered good practice to be private about everything. And secrets were just part of the normal course of events in families. I think you and I have alluded to it as we've talked today, but transparency is what we're all dealing with, whether it's on Twitter or the internet or TikToK or whatever. I think understanding that managing transparency is a big part of financial education, is going to give families another tool so that they don't think they can close things down or not deal with it, but empower yourself to use transparency as another tool in the family. And that's what you do with your clients. And I'm sure it's what I do with mine as well, but we need to be more explicit about it, I think.
Stacy - And we like to view it as it's a dimmer switch. It's a series of thoughtful conversations over time. And I think a lot of times families put on kind of this thing that it's a light switch, right? When you have this big reveal, and fully, it's not a reveal. If you kind of do it in this thoughtful manner, it's incremental information. And as you said earlier, starting with the values. So, I think this is a great question to end on. And I would just say to our listeners, some of these questions coming in are pretty complex around multi-generational wealth and operating family businesses. Please reach out to your advisor. We'd love to have a one-on-one dialogue with you and kind of share some frameworks and ideas around that, right? Either your First Republic Advisor, and they can also get you in touch with Joline. So, the question I'd love to end on because it pertains across all the ages, is how do you apply the FISH concept? Remember that it's financial, intellectual, social, and human, for our listeners, on a daily basis in a practical manner? Love that one.
Joline - Favorite question. So, I actually, I call it an audit and we do an audit in the completely granular way. We help families really define their assets and both individually and collectively in the family. And then we do the same thing you do with your financial portfolio. We bring that out. In some families it's once a week and others it's once a quarter, but we're really looking at how do you leverage those intellectual, social and human capital assets? What ones do you want to develop and make stronger? What ones do you want to let go of? It is a very practical hands-on tool. And I will say ten-year-olds are better at this than grownups are. So, you can't start too early with this thing. And I'm happy to share that audit as I refer to it with anybody and get you started on it. So, I think it's one of the most wonderful parts of family development.
Stacy - Okay. That's fabulous. Well, thank you, Joline, so much. This has been outstanding and thank you to our audience for being so engaging and asking so many great questions and just the enthusiasm is very energizing. And so in closing, we will be following up or the team will be, with a copy of Joline slides, and look forward to future events. And with that, everyone have a wonderful afternoon. Thanks so much.
Joline - Thanks, Stacy. Bye-bye.
Stacy - Bye-bye.