Joanne Stern understands the challenges of affluent families.

She specializes in addressing and resolving the personal and relationship concerns that threaten your family’s wealth and happiness. She helps create high performance families that flourish long into the future.

Families are the most complicated organizations in the world. Why?

  • Because parents and siblings are tied together in layers of strong emotional memories and experiences that don’t unravel easily.
  • Because the differences in children appear while they are still young and developing their individual personalities.
  • Because siblings compare themselves to one another which can cause jealousies and rivalries that extend into adulthood.
  • Because family members vie for the attention and approval that will make them feel their own worth.

As families grow and expand, priorities change, loyalties shift, and values get tested to the max. Family members have a wide range of passions and ambitions that, at times clash with one another. Family structures are complicated and siblings can feel threatened and treated unfairly. Family relationships can get fragmented and fraught with conflict. Expectations can be high and disappointments huge—and often unavoidable. Yet, families are sealed with a deep and unique bond.

In reality, all families have problems.
But when you add money to the mix, the challenges loom larger
and the problems can be exacerbated.

As these problems grow bigger, families collapse, leaving unhappy and broken relationships behind. It’s only a matter of time after the relationships are broken that the wealth disappears. That’s right. First the relationships, then the money.

Joanne meets every family where they are and works with them to find solutions to ensure that they reach their goals. She will design a very unique family workshop in order to address the specific needs of your family and resolve the conflicts within your family relationships. As your family members begin to trust, understand, and respect each other again, they benefit from the support, cooperation and unity which, in turn helps preserve your family wealth and happiness for generations to come.

There are extra problems for children born into wealth.

Kids who grow up in affluent families face their own set of challenges as they struggle to feel worthy in the presence of high-achieving parents.

  • They often feel alone, empty and neglected as busy parents fulfill their business and social obligations.
  • They can feel guilt from having money and experience scorn and jealousy from peers who don’t understand the complications of wealth.
  • They can feel extreme pressure to excel – and a sense of failure if they don’t, leaving them in search of meaning and purpose in life.”

Research shows they are the new “at risk” kids, suffering from significantly higher levels of addiction, severe anxiety and deep depression that can lead to suicide than kids who grow up in poverty in the inner city. Joanne works with families to understand the roots of these dynamics and find strategies to overcome the problems.

Every family Joanne has worked with wants to preserve their wealth.

They don’t want to fall prey to the “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” phenomenon. They certainly don’t want to be among the 70% of families whose wealth is gone by the time it should reach their grandchildren.*(Preparing Heirs, William & Preisser, 2010) So, they hire platoons of people to manage their financial and legal matters. They want to make sure they’ve covered every potential danger of loss and found the best ways to protect, grow, and transfer their money. They hire incredibly competent people who do a great job.

Yet the vast majority of families fail anyway. They simply can’t overcome the greatest threat to their wealth—the family.

Joanne understands the issues and the pathways to success. If families were to put the same kind of relentless effort and commitment into planning for good family relationships as they do into planning for successful financial outcomes, they would beat the odds. They would have a hugely increased chance of being in the 30% of families who succeed in being able to transfer their wealth beyond three generations.

It’s a paradigm shift for some families to consider having a coach—an advisor—for the family as they have for their portfolio and their estate plan. But those families who take up the challenge and commit to keeping the family together with strategic coaching are much more likely to enjoy both financial and emotional prosperity.

Building a successful and happy multi-generational family isn’t easy. But with the right help, any family can tackle crises, resolve conflicts, improve communication skills, repair trust, and deal with a variety of emotional issues that block families from thriving. Joanne can help your family deal with the “people” problems—the sibling squabbles, jealousies and competition, relationship conflicts and catastrophic impacts of divorce, addiction and other emotional problems than can damage (sometimes beyond repair) your family’s ability to flourish in the future. Simply stated, Joanne makes the process approachable, positive and renewing.


Gone in 3 Generations

70% of families will lose their wealth by the time it reaches their grandchildren.

The most effective family planning is like a three-pronged fork:

money-structure-peopleThe money (your estate plan and asset management), the structure (your system of self-governance, which includes succession planning) and the people (the relationships, family dynamics and emotional issues that commonly arise in families). These three branches overlap. It is at their intersection—where they come together—where Joanne often collaborates with family advisors and representatives of the family enterprises to offer the greatest benefit for your family.

The money branch is usually well taken care of; the structure branch is often postponed too long; and the people branch is often avoided—and that’s unfortunate, because the greatest risk for financial loss lies within the family relationships themselves.

Although you can delegate the tangible, money part of your family plan to family attorneys, estate planners, tax advisors and money managers, you must get personally involved in the semi-tangible, structure part and the intangible, people parts. It’s this “softer” side of family planning that helps to ensure future family prosperity. Families recognize that their money brings them options, opportunities and freedoms, but it doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. Building family cohesion around visions, values and goals is a major part of the work Joanne does with families to help them achieve long term success and fulfillment.



For more information, call Joanne at (907) 274-2424 or send an email to