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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Amy Castoro on Connecting With Ultra-HNW Next Generation Heirs

The president and CEO of The Williams Group details the firm's coaching approach to family dynamics with ultra-high-net-worth clients.


Welcome back to the 265th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today's podcast is Amy Castoro. Amy is the president and CEO of The Williams Group, a coaching and consulting firm based out of San Clemente, California, that helps financial advisors engage with more than 800 high-net-worth families to develop solid foundations in heir preparedness and ensure their wealth can actually be transferred beyond three generations.

What's unique about Amy (and the Williams Group), though, is their coaching approach to family dynamics with ultra-high-net-worth clients, recognizing that avoiding the “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” phenomenon isn’t about the tax-efficient distribution of family assets, but whether the family can learn to effectively communicate in a manner that preserves their relationships as they inherit the family wealth.

In this episode, we talk in depth about the Williams Group’s research into what actually leads to the loss of multi-generational family wealth (which in 85% of the cases is due to breakdowns in family trust or a lack of preparedness of the heirs, and only 5% of the time is actually a result of investment or business challenges), how Amy and her firm works closely with ultra-high-net-worth families to learn the essential skills in strengthening relationships with each other (and with their advisors), and the 10 questions the Williams Group uses to help raise families’ awareness on these topics and gauge family readiness for passing on their wealth from one generation to the next.

We also talk about how Amy uses somatic coaching to guide her clients in taking a deeper look at what they’re saying and how they say it, how her skills as a coach are regularly challenged as she helps ultra-high-net-worth clients solve their own issues and realign family patterns of communication, and how Amy focuses on communication and trust building and not the dollar amounts when discussing estate plans.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Amy shares her suggestions of books to read and education to pursue for advisors who want to learn more about serving clients with true multi-generational wealth challenges, how advisors can deepen their own motivation for helping their clients by going beyond their inner why and asking how to serve ultra-high-net-worth clients, and why there’s so much opportunity in working with very affluent families that have complex family dynamics… because in the end, most families really do want to function better together as a family, they may just need a little help to resolve some of their existing family tensions with facilitated conversations, which is a value proposition that trained financial advisors can provide.

So whether you’re interested in learning about how Amy and the Williams Group emphasize connections to help their ultra-affluent client families keep their wealth past the typical three-generation cycle, how she prepares the family’s younger generation for the effects of wealth transfer, or how she navigates ultra-high-net-worth families’ communication and trust issues, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Amy Castoro.

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