Children

The Ritter family has been in business together for five generations, with our sixth generation now blossoming. The longevity of this business is a great source of pride but also presents challenges related to educating and engaging our newest family members.

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There are two aspects to transferring a business to children. Of course, there’s the technical aspect: transferring ownership in a tax-efficient manner and as part of a business continuity plan. There’s also the emotional aspect: preparing your children for the wealth and responsibilities that come with this very special family asset.

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Kolt Kyler is a 9-year-old farm-working, grandmother-helping, pig-raising honor roll student. He's also a baseball player—and a Chicago Cubs fan. That's how he got his 15 minutes of fame.

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York Athletics sprang from a little guilt, a storied history and the entrepreneurial spirit of five brothers who came together to compete with some of the most iconic brands in the world. While its roots go back three generations, the Boston-based lifestyle footwear company is a brand new family business whose first product, an understated sneaker, reached the marketplace in 2016.

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Georgia Mae Parrish grew up spending a lot of time with her grandparents at Lundberg Family Farms, a rice grower in Richvale, Calif. As a fourth-generation member of the Lundberg family, she attended family meetings and heard about the business.

But when she began an internship at the company in the summer of 2013, she realized that "I didn't know as much as I thought I did about growing rice."

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Enterprising families are waiting too long to integrate the next generation. Even though succession is arguably the most widely covered topic in the field of family enterprise, many of my clients (and those of my colleagues) are still missing crucial opportunities to engage the next generation early in the game.

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At age 13, Scenic Root knows her way around the Root family office. In fact, she has a desk there.

Under the tutelage of her father, Preston Root—president of the Root Family Board of Directors—and her mother, Lynn Root, Scenic has been engaged in dialogue about her family's legacy and its current business activities. She participates in family meetings and has been learning about philanthropy and financial responsibility.

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Most parents want their children to enjoy a higher standard of living than they had. But when does this loving aspiration cross the line into raising a spoiled brat?

For owners of successful family companies, the dilemma is no small matter. These parents have the ability not only to give their children expensive toys, debt-free schooling and exotic vacations, but also to offer them lucrative jobs—whether or not the kids’ credentials and talents would land them a high-paying position outside the family.

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In families of wealth, there is an increasing concern about raising unmotivated children. More and more parents are seeking advice on addressing the challenges of raising their children or grandchildren to become responsible, self-reliant adults who contribute to society. For the affluent parent, wealth can complicate the already daunting challenge of raising self-sufficient offspring.

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Two areas that often receive inadequate attention in family businesses are shareholders’ roles and next-generation development, especially during the so-called college years (ages 18 to 22). Both relate to the deeper meaning of “ownership”: taking full responsibility for your life and accepting your responsibility to others.

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