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The Family Business Leader Podcast

Mar 14, 2018

Happy 20th episode of the Successful Generations podcast! Our listeners are in for a treat this week. We wanted a dynamo guest for this milestone episode and Adrienne Penta did not disappoint.

Adrienne is a Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Brown Brothers Harriman Center for Women & Wealth (CW&W)—the brainchild that she built from the ground up. Rooted in data regarding women and wealth, and guided by her personal experience (which she shares during our interview), Adrienne and her team at the CW&W support women as they create and manage wealth. They also produce a quarterly magazine called Women & Wealth that explores the intersection of family, wealth, and values.

In this episode Adrienne and I talk about estate planning, inheritance, preparing children for wealth, the importance of clear values, communication, and transparency, and so much more. Adrienne shares a ton of great resources, which are linked below.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Meet Adrienne (2:45)
  • Adrienne’s personal story (3:33)
  • Creating the CW&W (6:46)
  • About Brown Brothers Harriman (8:51)
  • Launching Women & Wealth Magazine (10:02)
  • Mission and vision for the CW&W (13:10)
  • Stats about women and wealth (15:51)
  • Practical advice: “I’m inheriting money. Now what?” (20:52)
  • Talking with children about wealth (24:56)
  • What if the generation before doesn’t want to talk about money? (28:27)
  • Communicating around wealth and planning (32:39)
  • Success is based on conversation, conversation, conversation (34:09)
  • Value sharing between generations (35:28)
  • Final thoughts (38:09)
  • Favorite resources (39:45)
  • Bonus Questions (42:28)
  • Wrap (47:08)

Guest Bio:

Adrienne M. Penta, J.D. is a Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Brown Brothers Harriman Center for Women & Wealth (CW&W). Adrienne led the creation of the CW&W, which supports women as they create and manage wealth, and seeks to create a dynamic and inclusive environment where women can engage in conversations about wealth, family and values. She provides women with the investment, planning and philanthropic resources they need to navigate transitions, help the next generation thrive and plan for the succession of privately-owned businesses.

Prior to joining BBH in 2008, Adrienne practiced at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP in Boston. She received her JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and her BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Follow Adrienne on Twitter @AdriennePenta


Notable & Quotable:

Your estate plan is the last thing you ever get to say to the people you leave behind. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

The best advice I’ve ever received: There’s no big idea without a big ask. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

We need everyone at the table when we are making plans for the future. It’s important to tell the people affected by these plans why you made the decisions you did. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

I tell clients that they have the opportunity to sit with family to share what they are planning, why, and what legacy they want to leave. That is a real gift that we can give to the people who come after us. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Wealth is not something we have for its own sake. Money is a means to an end. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

51 percent of personal wealth is controlled by women in the United States and this number is going to substantially rise in our lifetimes. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

51 percent of high net worth women feel their advisors don’t understand them. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Advisors work for you...make sure that you are being treated like a client. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Conversations about money with kids should start early and happen often. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

70 percent of all wealth transfers fail because of a lack of preparation of the heirs. We are missing communication and trust. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

You are the driver of the success of your family--money, wealth, and what it all means. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Not talking with adult children about wealth sends the message that you don’t have enough confidence in them or your relationship with them to have the conversation. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

90 percent of families lose wealth within three generations. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Planning has two main part: the how and the why. The how is easy. Here are some questions to help you with the why: 

Why have I chosen to structure my plan this way?

What does this money mean to me?

How do I think about where it came from?

As a family, what does wealth mean to us?

—Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Success for the family is a communal goal not and individual one. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

90 percent of our values come from our parents and grandparents. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

We can share values but express them differently. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

It’s not about money, investing, estate planning or taxes. It’s about what do we want to leave behind. —Adrienne Penta #successfulgenerations

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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