Emily Griffiths-Hamilton - Building Your Family Bank to Owning an NBA & NHL Team [The Business of Family]


5 October 2020

1 hr 3 mins 50 secs

Season 1

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Emily Griffiths-Hamilton brings three generations of experience to the subject of wealth and family-business transition planning.

Her maternal grandfather, veterinarian Dr. William Ballard, was one of North America’s greatest dynamic wealth creators. Her father, Frank A. Griffiths, FCA, built a highly successful sports and media empire. Emily herself, along with her brother Arthur and their partners, has been the co-owner of a National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Vancouver Canucks; a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise, the Vancouver Grizzlies; and a state-of-the-art-arena.

Emily’s professional training, expertise and unique first-hand experience have given her a deep understanding of the benefits of clear, considered wealth and family-business transition planning.

Today, she is passionate about providing guidance to individuals and families for the effective multigenerational management of family wealth and family businesses.

Emily is the author of two excellent books, Build Your Family Bank and Your Business, Your Family, Their Future, which look closely at the core causes of wealth erosion and failed transition plans and offers a set of strategies for building successful wealth transition plans that will benefit many generations.

Standout Quotes:

  • "A legacy lifestyle to me is really anything where anyone is enjoying an affluent life based on someone else's earnings"
  • "Earning a voice at the table is critically important as the families get larger because not everybody is necessarily around the table making decisions for the family bank but the family council may be elected members to represent different parts of the families"
  • "Life is the reflection of the Choices that you make between your Birth and your Death (life is the C between the B and the D)"
  • "The choices that you make are going to be a reflection of the decisions that you make, and if you really want to make the best decisions, think about swapping judgment for curiosity"
  • “Curiosity can open your eyes to a world of unlimited imagination and infinite possibilities”

Key Takeaways:

  • The process of creating the family wealth was infused into the family DNA added in each generation.
  • The issue in a legacy lifestyle is enjoying a lifestyle that someone else is earning the funds to afford you, the cautionary note is to watch for the creep of entitlement issues.
  • The traditional approach to wealth transition planning including tax deferment and trust funds fail 70% of the time.
  • As long as your human and intellectual components are still strong, the Family bank will keep standing.
  • Reasons why 70% of families at each generation fail at wealth transition include a breakdown of communication and trust (60%), the unpreparedness of heirs (25%), lack of shared vision (12%), and failure of professionals (3%).
  • Earning a voice at the table is critically important as the families get larger.
  • Family bank is not a legal term, it's a philosophical term; it's whatever the family defines it to be.
  • 5 reasons to put a Trust in place in Canada: Control, Creditor Protection, Privacy, Probate and Tax.
  • Research shows that within 7 years lottery winnings are usually gone which is the same with inheritances.
  • If you want to make the best decisions, swap judgment for curiosity

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:49] An overview of some of Emily's work.
  • [02:20] How the initial family wealth was created and sustained through the different generations as part of the family DNA.
  • [05:20] Emily explains the clear distinction between Ownership and Management.
  • [05:31] Her contribution to the Family DNA of wealth creation is the Role of Stewardship.
  • [08:26] The event leading up to the ownership of the Hockey team reflected a sense of commitment to the community.
  • [10:30] Emily narrates the experiences that inspired her career choice of a Family Enterprise Adviser.
  • [15:35] The legacy lifestyle defined, with examples from Emily's childhood.
  • [19:26] The value of work and its role in Family wealth creation.
  • [21:11] The concept of a Family Bank is most appropriate for anyone doing succession or wealth transition planning.
  • [22:05] The Foundation and Components of the Family bank approach.
  • [27:04] Reasons why 70% of families at each generation fail at wealth transitions.
  • [39:00] The value and role of tools like trust structures and tax mitigation strategies in the managing multi-generational wealth.
  • [45:07] The similarities between inheritances and lottery wins.
  • [53:52] Re-Formatting is a change of investment choice and a Redistribution of wealth to philanthropy are not considered a failure of to transition.
  • [55:29] A few surprises from her sons influencing the family bank.
  • [01:01:14] Emily's letter to her children.

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