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The Next Evolution in Wealth Planning


Once upon a time, wealth management was an investment portfolio that would get you to retirement. Now it looks forward to multiple generations.


As we embark on a new year, it's worth reflecting on how much has changed in the world of wealth management. Years ago, people turned to brokers for stock market advice and felt that was enough. And as clients' needs became more complex, financial planning served as the solution to help prepare for college tuitions, retirement, and other life needs.

Just as all industries evolve to meet the needs of those they serve, it's time for the next era of wealth management, one in which we're not solely focused on protecting your wealth through retirement, but also accounting for what the future will look like for generations to come. It's a world where protecting and transferring wealth becomes as important as growing your assets. And as an employee-owned firm that's not beholden to quarter‐by‐quarter thinking, Baird is uniquely positioned for this shift that has your family's best interests in mind. In fact, we have been making strategic investments over the last few years to deliver on that promise to you and your future generations.

One of the greatest tools in multi‐generational wealth management is in estate planning. When trusts are used as part of the estate, it can help protect and grow assets for future generations and make charitable giving more effective.

Over the course of last year, Baird Trust was integrated into Baird Private Wealth Management, promising seamless estate planning advice for our clients, all housed under one roof. Whatever the situation requires – whether it be accounting for a family business or establishing a private foundation – our partnership with Baird Trust can support you in ensuring your wishes and legacy are realized.

While carefully constructed estate plans, wills and trusts support legacy preservation, it's just the beginning. In fact, one of the main reasons wealth fails to transition successfully across generations has little to do with making sound financial decisions – and much more to do with how the family interacts with one another.

It's well known that most wealthy families will lose their wealth by the end of the third generation, a phenomenon known as "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations." A 20‐year study of over 2,500 global families who had gone through estate planning and generational wealth transfers revealed three factors accounting as the most significant reasons:

  • Breakdown in communication and trust (60%)
  • Not properly preparing heirs (25%)
  • Lack of shared purpose within a family (10%)

So 95% of the reasons why generational wealth transfers fail have nothing to do with finance. Instead, they pertain to people – the people we love the most – our families.

To that end, we have made investments in advice, talent, and resources in our Baird Family Wealth team. In partnership with our advisors, they facilitate family meetings and prepare the next generation to be stewards of the family's wealth and legacy. While this group primarily supports clients with a high degree of complexity, such as private business owners and families with legacy wealth, we recognize that this focus will be of increasing importance to all of our clients.

We know your financial picture is getting more complicated every day, as well as your ambitions to do more for your family and your community. In fact, in our recent client survey, we heard over 50% of our clients are interested in learning more about estate planning. That's why Baird Private Wealth Management has been evolving so that we may be fully prepared to serve you and your family well into the coming generations.

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