Daily CSR
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Daily CSR
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Empowering Generations Zers on managing finances


Empowering Generations Zers on managing finances
As a family member of Millennials or Generation Zers, you may be concerned about their ability to manage their financial futures.

While research indicates that younger generations are interested in their wealth, many do not have the tools to invest effectively. In fact, recent surveys show that only one in every four Gen Zers understands the stock market1, and only 37% of Millennials are comfortable investing at all2.

While each family is unique and should not be stereotyped, generational divides (communication styles, values, and perspectives) frequently make it difficult for older family members to impart knowledge and empower their younger loved ones to live financially successful lives. This challenge may be exacerbated for children of wealthy families, as the success of the family legacy is frequently reliant on the older generation's ability to prepare their children to deal with the many complexities of wealth.

Nike Anani understands the importance of empowering the next generation firsthand. As the daughter of an entrepreneur, her personal experience as a Millennial successor has given her a unique perspective on the difficulties that rising generations frequently face as they enter wealth ownership. Nike has dedicated her career as an award-winning family business consultant, speaker, and author to assisting families in bridging the generational divide.

Nike elaborates on four ways families can collaborate to empower future generations to own their wealth, based on her personal experiences.

Communication is Key
Rising generations value their parents' desire to share their knowledge and experience with them. However, when it comes to communicating their insights, the older generation frequently believes they are doing so effectively, but from the perspective of the rising generation, they are not. As the next generation, we want to be spoken to, not at. We want to be a part of a two-way conversation in which we can ask questions, gain additional insights, and provide feedback. Finally, this can help us better understand the perspective of the older generation, including the "why" behind some of their ideals and decisions.

Too frequently, the parental dynamic takes over, preventing everyone from being heard. This is especially important for Millennials and Generation Z. We want to have a say in the matter, and we want to know that previous generations care about what we have to say.

Jamie Weiner's book "The Quest For Legitimacy" provides some excellent insights into how to encourage the younger generation to actively communicate, describing how family leaders are viewed as giants by the younger generation, making them difficult to approach. As the older generation, it is beneficial to openly share your struggles, mistakes, failures, and anxieties in order to be humanized.

This can make the rising generation feel more at ease approaching you and saying, 'I really messed up, I made this mistake.' And in turn this gives you the opportunity to say, 'I have been there before. 'I understand,' and 'this is what we can learn and move forward from.' Sharing struggles can be difficult for those who want to shield their family from life's issues and trials and keep them in a perfect cocoon. When parents do this, they are doing a disservice to the next generation because it is only through trials, failures, and mistakes that the next generation can learn and develop a growth mindset and grit.

Acknowledging and Respecting Generational Differences
It is critical for family members of all ages to recognize and respect the fact that different generations have different belief systems. Each grew up with unique experiences and influences that shaped their perspectives. Many of my elders began their careers in environments that encouraged (and at times required) them to work around the clock. Today, they proudly identify as 'workaholics,' and they judge younger generations who seek work-life balance. Working smarter, not harder, is more important to me and my peers.

It's not that we want to work less or are unappreciative of the effort required to succeed; we simply want to be more strategic about how we spend our time in order to make time for our personal lives.

Many of us have witnessed the older generation sacrifice their mental and emotional health in the relentless pursuit of success. As evidenced by this, we frequently do not want the same for ourselves. We believe that work-life balance is an essential component of success and should not be sacrificed in its pursuit.

For example, in contrast to my father, I believe that I don't need to be in the field every day to add value. I can also make a significant contribution from the sidelines as a strategic advisor, board member, committee member, or chair of the family council. I'll still have time (and energy) to devote to my personal life after that. Because, in the end, I don't want to feel obligated to our family business; I want to feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Rather than allowing generational differences to polarise discussions, avoid passing judgement and recognise that each generation has a unique perspective based on their life experiences. This will assist multigenerational families in finding common ground.

Empathy is important
The success of their parents intimidates many young people. Some people suffer from imposter syndrome, in which they wonder, "Did I earn this or am I here because of my last name?" Overcoming this struggle necessitates an inner journey of self-discovery and deep conviction about what one brings to the table. It is critical for older generations to empathize with the psycho-emotional dimensions of the successor growing up in the shadow of a prominent, storied, and successful individual.

Personally, I discovered that I needed to develop inner strength in order to confront my father, who was a prominent figure in both our community and industry. Challenging older figures is frowned upon in my culture. The 'daddy-daughter' dynamic conditioned me to do as I was told, and I frequently felt disempowered. My father's leadership style and strengths were not the same as mine; for example, he was very involved in every detail of the business and tended to micromanage operations.

From the COO to the custodian, he knew everyone. I wanted to lead in a different way: I didn't have to be my father 2.0 in order to be effective. To gain confidence in my approach, I needed to be very clear about the value I brought to the table as a result of my professional experiences and character strengths. I had to accept that I could embrace work-life balance while still having an impact on the business by fostering collaboration, empowering team members, and being more strategic. This allowed us to shift from a 'daddy-daughter' dynamic to a 'partner-partner' relationship.

It was also difficult for me to feel like I deserved the title of successor leader as the daughter of a business owner. Especially since all of the relationships I've inherited, all of the boards I've served on, all of the companies we've invested in, all of the suppliers, and all of the customers still see me as the daughter.

One particular board was extremely intimidating to me. I was the only woman there, and I was at least 20 years younger. But the Chair would occasionally pause and ask, 'Nike, do you have anything to contribute here?' 'I'd love to hear what you have to say, Nike.' That made an indelible impression on me and inspired me to find my voice. Empathy for the next generation's struggle to find their identity, as well as steps to reduce self-doubt, can help them gain confidence in their ability to lead.

Have an Open-Minded
The next generation frequently engages in an internal tug of war between'me' and 'we.' While it is understandable to want your children to follow in your footsteps, consider your children's struggle to find their place in the world. According to recent data, many rising generations want to take a different path than their parents, especially when a family business is involved. Some of us may wish to use the family's platform or resources in a different way — whether financial, social, political, or intellectual — to achieve our goals and create a new (and often very different) legacy.

It's not always easy to encourage a child's individual gifts and talents, and to be flexible about how they want to be involved in the family business (if at all). However, it is critical to remember that the ultimate goal of any family legacy is engagement from the next generation, whether they follow your lead or forge their own path entirely. Being open-minded and supportive of individual goals can help families achieve their goals.

I imagine the family dynamic as a sports team. We all have different roles to play: some will be the attacker, some will be the defender, some will be on the bench waiting to be subbed in, and some will be the referee — but we are all working towards the same goal. Some children may be fully involved and active managers of the business, whereas others may pursue their own interests and be sole owners. All generations should value the various roles, responsibilities, and skill sets brought to the table.