Have you ever heard the saying “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”?

It means that most families are not able to hold onto their wealth for more than three generations.

The idea is that if one generation builds wealth, the second generation will hold onto it, and the third generation will squander it.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule. In my personal experience, I’ve seen some people come into money and just as quickly increase their lifestyle expenses so that the money quickly disappears.

Sometimes the money lasts only two generations.

In the case of the Chiurazzi foundry (which I currently own), the Chiurazzi family was successful for four generations. Then in the 1990s, the great grandson preferred womanizing and gambling to running the business. As the result, the business eventually went into bankruptcy.

Listen to Episode One of the Each Generation Stronger podcast and discover:

  • How most families never get past the cycle of building some wealth and then losing it within one or two generations.
  • Why most families are not able to maintain their success for more than 2 or 3 generations. (And why some are able to beat the odds and continue to grow and prosper for 10 or 15 or more generations.)
  • The “magic formula” for how a family can be successful for generation after generation.
  • What Paul learned from kayak surfing at Half Moon Bay, California with famed adventurer and nature photographer Michael Powers.
  • The 8 Keys to a family’s long-term success. (Including how to find your own passion and sense of purpose, and how to help your kids become resilient, independent and motivated.)


What if you could figure out the magic formula so that your family’s wealth could grow over the course of 100 years or more?

In order for this to happen, you need to make sure subsequent generations don’t spend the money but invest it so it continues to grow.

Let’s run the numbers on that.

$10 million invested at 6% interest per year, compounded annually over 100 years would be worth just shy of $3.4 billion!

To which, you say, “But I don’t have $10 million.”

Ok, then. Let’s say you have $100,000 to invest over 100 years at 6% interest. That would be worth almost $34 million!


Through a series of strange events, I have been able to learn the secrets that families worth $50 million, $100 million, and more, use to maintain and grow their families’ wealth for generation after generation.

Here’s the issue.

Most families (the working poor and a large segment of the middle class) are caught in the endless cycle in which the older generation struggles to hopefully be able to retire.

They die and pass a small amount of wealth to their heirs. Then the heirs quickly spend the money and repeat the cycle.

Families that accumulate some measure of wealth (perhaps $5 million or more, like my typical client) usually get caught in the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves syndrome.

In other words, one generation works hard to accumulate wealth. They teach their kids to appreciate what was saved and to preserve it.

The second generation is somewhat careful and generally keeps the wealth.
But the third generation has no appreciation for how difficult it was to accumulate the family’s fortune.

So the third generation (the grandkids) spend it as fast as they can get their hands on it, and end up struggling to make ends meet—thus repeating the cycle.


The reason most families are not able to maintain and grow their wealth for more than two generations is that they don’t get past the first 4 Keys:

1. Encouraging Each Family Member to Find Their Own Unique Passion

2. Taking a Business-like Approach to Managing the Family’s Wealth

3. Relationships; Expressing Emotions and Communicating Assertively

4. Using the Family’s Intellectual Capital and having a sense of mission and purpose

To get past the breakers discussed earlier, families need to perfect the first 4 Keys, plus add Keys 5 through 8:

5. Helping the Heirs Develop Positive Self-Esteem,

6. Teaching the Heirs about Personal Responsibility and Holding Others Accountable,

7. Creating a road map to guide future generations, and

8. Using wealth management services like family offices


You have probably heard that the Rothschild family has maintained and grown its wealth over 250 years.

Here are some other names of long-lasting family businesses you might know:

  • Kikkoman (produces soy sauce, located in Noda, Japan; founded: 1630);
  • Zildjian Cymbal Co. (manufactures cymbals; located in Norwell, Mass.; founded: 1623; 14th generation);
  • Nolet Distillery (Ketel One Vodka) (operates a distillery in Schiedam, Netherlands; founded: 1691; tenth generation).

All of these families successfully utilize the 8 Keys that I’ll be presenting over the coming weeks. You’ll also hear me recount my personal story on my podcasts, with summaries on this blog.

I’m really excited to share this information. But I know that it’s going to take some time to explain it so all of you understand these 8 Keys.

The 8 Keys are truly profound, and fully understanding them will mean that you are on your way to being a very powerful human being, capable of living an incredible life and positively shaping the lives of those around you.

If you have any specific questions, please share them below.

If you’d like to be a guest and share your experience, just contact me here.

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Chapter 1: How Wealthy Families Maintain Their Success

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