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Family Wealth Management: Seven Imperatives for Successful Investing 2nd Edition

Tom McCullough

I’m excited to announce that the second edition of Family Wealth Management: Seven Imperatives for Successful Investing was recently published and is now available. It is a fully-updated and revised version of the original book (first published in 2013) with lots of new material. 


The purpose of this book is simple. It’s to help families understand and implement sound investment decisions, consistent with their philosophy of wealth, long-term vision, and values. After spending 40 years of my career in the family office and wealth management fields, I’ve found that, more often that not, families struggle to develop a coherent and consistent investment strategy. In the book, my co-author and I offer our thoughts on how families can tackle this problem, and we share some best practices that illustrate what has worked for many families over the years.


While there is no single playbook that will guarantee consistent, long-term investment success, we do believe there are some basic common elements critical to successful investing. We have outlined them in this book. There are seven discrete components with a step-by-step approach to help make a complex task more manageable, both for people who are new to substantial liquid wealth and those who have had wealth for some time.


Three central themes come through loud and clear in this book. I believe they are the most important components of the successful management of substantial family wealth.


The first is goals-based investing. An effective family wealth planning process starts with the end in mind.  Investors who have a clear understanding of why they are investing, what the money is for, when they’ll need it, and the level of priority of each intended use will be better served no matter what investment approach they ultimately choose.


The mistake most investors make is focusing solely on the asset side of the family balance sheet when their focus should be on the whole balance sheet — assets and liabilities, hard and “soft” elements — with particular attention to the most important goals they want to achieve.


The second theme is integrated management. This means that decisions are not made in isolation, but rather are made with the full knowledge of the family's overall affairs and all of the individual components that come into play - including tax and estate planning, cash flow needs, asset allocation, risk management, philanthropy, family relationships and learning, health and wellness, governance and succession issues, their multiple advisor, fees, and ongoing management and administration. 


And the third is disciplined implementation. Far too often, a family's investment decisions are made on a loosely defined, ad hoc basis, with heavy influence from investment managers, personal relationships, and a high degree of investor subjectivity. There is so much noise in the world today, there can be a lot of pressure to try “the flavour of the day”, change strategies at the wrong time and take unnecessary risks. 


Over time, a well-defined and well-disciplined investment process is far more likely to lead to a good result than a random, intuitive approach. For many families, a qualified, objective, and experienced guide can help them along the way and improve the odds of arriving at the selected destination with both family and wealth intact.


This book is a valuable guide for families who want be sure they have a thoughtful and effective approach to the management of their wealth. Links to purchase the book on Amazon’s Canadian and U.S. websites are included below:



Tom McCullough

Tom McCullough is Chairman and CEO of Northwood Family Office. The combination of his background, along with his own family’s desire for a truly ‘comprehensive, customized and confidential service, led him on a search for a multi-family office. Tom is a frequent speaker on issues relevant to families of wealth and is the co-author of Wealth of Wisdom: The Top 50 Questions Wealthy Families Ask and Family Wealth Management: Imperatives for Successful Investing in the New World Order and the soon-to-be-released Wealth of Wisdom: Top Practices for Wealthy Families and Their Advisors. He is an adjunct professor and Executive-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management MBA program. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Western University’s Ivey School of Business and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Wealth Management. He was recently awarded ‘Best Individual Contribution to Thought Leadership in the Wealth Management Industry’ by the 2020 Family Wealth Report Awards.

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