At the Alchemia Group we are helping our clients think & act differently in regards to their wealth and its impact on thier family - because we know it is more than just numbers and plans, it's the Balance of Art & Science with Pragmatism and Vision.
I recently had the chance to visit South Africa and several game preserves. I have found it very difficult to describe the impact the experience had for me. Spending time with the guides, game rangers and trackers I had the opportunity to be with people who are really living their passion. Their dedication to preserving a very special and complex eco-system and educating their guests about it was inspiring. Even on their days off they spend time ‘in the bush’. Most preserves are also involved in community enrichment programs centering on health, education and opportunity.
Guides and trackers are not high income earners. They do what they do out of passion. One of the guides, Nick, had turned down a full golf scholarship at Oklahoma State to attend Guide School and work in the bush. Both his grandparents had worked in the African National Park system so he grew up in that environment. His grandfather used to tell stories to help educate Nick and his brothers about the natural world. He shared ones about Hippos, Gnus and several others animals. For example, the African Water Buck, one of the many types of antelope found in Africa, has a distinctive white ring around his rump. Nick’s grandfather told him that the Water Buck was the first animal on Noah’s Ark and when it sat on the toilet the paint was still wet and now both males and females wear the mark.
Nick and his wife both work at the same game preserve. Nick commented that he knew at some point he would probably have to join the ‘real world’ but would always be connected to the African Bush. The question that came up for me is what is the real world? What is more real than being dedicated to preserving parts of our environment and trying to reduce the number of endangered species? What is more real than bringing the importance of sustaining the world to other people via first hand experiences?
Too often ‘the real world’ has become based on financial assets and wealth accumulation with no concern that there may be other ‘real worlds’ that are critically important to our own long term sustainability. There is a real opportunity to combat entitlement and unfulfilled lives if a family were to focus on understanding and on alternative ways to think about the ‘real world’. We should all be able to enjoy our lives but we should also be aware that it takes a lot more than we realize to sustain the world we have.
Planning Question: How does your Family Wealth Plan address sustainability?