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EXCLUSIVE: Clients Give Feedback On Peer Networking And The Need For Communication

Harriet Davies, Editor - Family Wealth Report, 14 November 2012

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This year saw Threshold Group launch its Community Square forum, a peer-to-peer network which includes specialists on “wealth education issues,” with an event in Chicago.

To help build trust at these events she lays down some ground rules such as: to really listen to each other, to be non-judgmental while in that space, and to assume best intentions. But what also really helps she says is that the topic of wealth usually ends up being secondary. It’s the issues surrounding wealth that come to the fore – and through these people connect.

Thomas, a client of the firm who attended the event and later spoke to Family Wealth Report, said that what really stood out to him was that “the money doesn’t have any power on its own.” What these families discussed was not money per se, it was what could be done – or undone – with it, its potential for good and bad. It was the topics around money – philanthropy, raising children, entrepreneurialism – that inspired people.

And this is exactly the way Threshold Group wants to reframe the idea of money in their clients’ minds through these events. “These families have a lot of resources…they can do great things,” says Bauer. The event is aimed to show them that “it is okay to dream and think big,” while giving them the tools to get there. A big part of that is showing them there are “other people to relate to and support them…a community,” says Bauer. “The biggest takeaway for them was the feeling that they were not alone.”

The client’s perspective

Thomas’s experience echoes this. He was “a little bit cautious” going into the event but says “you don’t always realize the benefits of communication before you participate.” However, both he and his wife Wendy had attended the smaller parenting forums and Wendy said: “That for me was exactly what I needed at that time.”

Wendy says that the smaller, earlier parenting events did have a more intimate feel, something that decreased as the group got bigger – but she noted that what helped maintain this were the sessions that brought you back together as a group and helped digest the information. “You need to keep figuring out the intent.”

However, despite the bigger group Wendy said she had no concerns about privacy because of the context: “I felt totally respected and knew my thoughts would be kept confidential.”

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