“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” – Plato


Plato’s words ring true across the centuries, reminding us that true prosperity is not just about the size of our bank accounts, but about our relationship with what we have. As we navigate the complexities of working with our wealth in healthy ways, it’s important to remember that our relationships – particularly our family relationships – play a significant role in shaping that contentment.

As Elizabeth Gilbert once quipped, “The reason your family push your buttons is because they installed them.” It’s a humorous line, but it points to a profound truth: our financial beliefs, habits, and even our emotional responses to money are often shaped by the experiences and messages we absorbed growing up.

In his essay “I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup,” Scott Alexander points out that the most passionate and intractable conflicts often occur between people who are seemingly similar – family members, neighbours, people within the same community. This is because these are the people who have the most power to push our buttons, to trigger our deepest insecurities and fears.

In the context of personal finance, this means that the conversations we need to have about money – with our partners, our parents, our children – are often the most difficult. They are laden with emotional baggage, unspoken expectations, and generational patterns.

But as uncomfortable as these conversations may be, they are essential for building real, lasting wealth. As the saying goes in wealth management circles, “The first generation builds, the second maintains, and the third destroys.” If you’re part of the first generation in your family to prioritise wealth-building, your job is arguably the hardest. You are the trailblazer, the one who has to initiate those difficult conversations, challenge long-held beliefs, and create a new financial culture for your family. It’s a role that often goes unrecognised, but it is absolutely crucial.

At WellsFaber, we understand that financial well-being is not just an individual pursuit. It’s a team sport, deeply influenced by the people and the environment around us. That’s why we don’t just focus on the numbers – we focus on the human beings behind them.

So as you navigate your financial journey, remember: your money doesn’t exist in a vacuum (or a hedged fund!). It’s deeply intertwined with your relationships, your community, and your family history. Be willing to have the tough conversations. 

Be patient with yourself and others as you work to break old patterns. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who support your financial goals and share your values.

We advise, you thrive.