Broker Check

The Strengthen Series: March 2024

This session of our Strengthen Series with Alex Kirby* of Total Family Management* focused on the importance of relationships and social fitness. We shared personal experiences and the impact of social connections on overall well-being & introduced the concept of social fitness, which emphasizes the need to actively work on relationships.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development was referenced as evidence of the positive effects of good relationships on happiness and health and we conducted two exercises to encourage participants to reconnect with someone and evaluate the quality and frequency of their relationships (we encourage anyone about to watch right now to do the same!).

The session also highlighted the importance of taking control of relationships and investing time and effort into maintaining and improving them, explored the importance of building and maintaining relationships, as well as the impact of social media on social fitness.

The creation of a family vision was also discussed as a tool to guide and align family values and goals.

Major Takeaways from the session:

  • Good relationships are significant for happiness and health.
  • Social fitness involves actively working on relationships.
  • Loneliness can have negative effects on health.
  • Regular check-ins and evaluation of relationships are important.
  • Energizing relationships provide energy and challenge us in positive ways.
  • Depleting relationships may require boundaries or reevaluation.
  • Taking proactive steps to improve relationships can lead to greater well-being. Building and maintaining relationships requires qualities such as being present, listening, asking good questions, and challenging each other.
  • Taking a snapshot of your social universe can help you evaluate the direction of your relationships and make necessary adjustments.
  • It's never too late to improve relationships and invest in non-financial capitals.
  • Engaging with social media in a meaningful way, rather than seeking short dopamine hits, can contribute to social fitness.



Michael Palumbos (00:05.388)
Welcome everybody to a Family Wealth and Legacy Strengthen Series. You guys, everybody knows me, I'm Michael Palumbos. Today we have Alex Kirby and Matthew Sullivan from Total Family Management joining us. If you got the email, which I'm sure you all did, the invitation from us, my family, Victoria and I, hired Alex's firm, and matter of fact, Matthew's wife.

Lana is our family coach. And many of you know that through the years, I have been a member of the Purposeful Planning Institute. And the study of family and wealth and all understanding all these other non -financial, you know, forms of wealth really has been an interest of mine. And...

up until, it was about a year ago, I really started on this journey of saying, how do I bring this to my clients? And so I thought I would just share with you real quick what's happened. One, for the last 15 years of being part of the purposeful planning institute, I just didn't know exactly how to take what was happening there and

you know, and how do I bring that to other people? I just, I didn't have a good way of making that happen. And then a friend of mine, a CEO, buddy of mine, introduced Alex and I shortly after an event happened for me that was really powerful. And I'll share that in a second. And I'm like, Alex, you're creating.

what I'd been missing and what I've been thinking about, it's in my head, but I have no idea how to do this. And so my wife and I were in and Victoria looked at me like I had five eyes, not three. She said, we're going to hire a what? A family coach? Why? And I said, just trust me. This is the work that I've been talking about with the Purposeful Planning Institute. I just want you to get a

Michael Palumbos (02:28.844)
and do this with me and she did and we haven't looked back we're into year two of doing this and we love it we've gotten a lot out of you know how we interact with our family and the vision that we have for our family and having some just really unique conversations that we wouldn't have had so you know before I dive in and give it turn it over to you too I just want to share what you know what happened what clicked for me to really do this and it was

a guy named Frank Dolan, who's a family friend and a client. My parents best friends, the Dolan family, and Frank was in hospice a year ago. And long story, I ended up getting some time just one -on -one with Frank while he was in hospice. And because of the Purposeful Planning Institute and some of the work that I've done, I just...

I knew that I could ask some courageous questions of Frank and I asked him, I said, you know, what do you most regret? We had a whole lot of other conversations. So it wasn't like I just dove right in here, but you know, when we were talking, I said, what do you most regret? And he said two things. He said, I regret working too much. And I regret not spending one -on -one time with each of my girls. He said, they're all, as a group,

They're like one organism and they're always the same. And it's this loud, rambunctious, crazy, you know, great group and it's fun to be around, but individually, they're very, very different. And from that spawned Victoria and I doing one -on -ones with our kids. And it made me, you know, step back and take a look at the families that I served. And I looked at, you know, there's a book called the top five regrets of the dying.

And I looked at that up and it was like, you know, things like I wish I had the courage to live the life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends. I wish I'd let myself be happier. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings. And those were all things that had nothing to do with their job, their work or their money or their finances. And you know,

Michael Palumbos (04:47.912)
There was an interview with Jeff Bezos and Alex and I were talking about this, you know earlier today and Jeff Bezos You know when he was working on Amazon said what are you know? What are the things that I know that ten years from now will still be true and for you know Bezos it was people want their items cheaper and they'll want them faster So I started to look at my clients and I said, you know working with my team and thinking about this stuff What's one thing that I know that ten years from now will be true?

And I know my clients that 10 years from now, they're still gonna love their family. They're still gonna wanna be close with their family. And they're still gonna want that loving, wonderful connection that they share today with their family members. And so, yes, we're still gonna do a great job with all the finances and doing the wealth management, but I made a personal commitment that...

we're going to introduce our families to ways that they can strengthen both their family and their legacy and their other forms of the non -financial wealth in through this strength and series. And that's why we're doing this. So I know that was longer than I said I was gonna take Alex, but I just thought it was important to set the stage as to why I think this is so important. And it's not, you know,

It's not just what we're talking about today, but we're going to continue with this strength and series in a whole bunch of different topics. So Alex and Matt, I really appreciate you guys joining us. I'll step away. And if anybody has questions, feel free. This is not a, you know, I know that Alex and Matt are willing to take them. You just have to type them into the chat and then I can relay them to them as we're going through. So go ahead. Thanks guys.

Alex Kirby - TFM (06:41.714)
Yeah, thanks Michael. I'm Alex Kirby, the CEO of Total Family Management. We have with us Matt Sullivan, our VP of coaching. We brought a coaching expert because we're going to be doing some exercises throughout the night. We know it's 7 p .m. East Coast time, so we appreciate all of you being here and we're going to try to make this a really energizing, fun environment for the time being. We are here to talk about social fitness, which is your relationships.

And if you're only going to stay for like 30 more seconds, the only thing that you need as a takeaway is relationships matter. That is what we want. Everyone walking away saying, I think we all kind of know it. And Michael shared a couple of stories that are very consistent with that. But as I think about some of our partners around the country, we have an opportunity to work with some amazing firms around the country.

But Michael is a pretty special guy. So you should know, you should know that, that we get access to wonderful firms and the firm that you're with stands out. And something that was in there that Michael said that I'll just point to really quickly is he went through our stuff with his own family. And a lot of times when we initially talk to a firm, they say like, well, how do I get started? And if I'm talking to the CEO, the founder of the firm, I say,

Well, you should do it. And they're like, what do you mean? I'm like, well, aren't family values and vision important to you? And they're like, no, it's not for me. It's just good for my clients. And then that to us is a signal that we don't have total alignment with the firm that we're working with. So I think if I was a client, I would want my advisor to be putting this kind of thought into their own family too, just like they are into mine.

So we're going to be talking about social fitness relationships. And because we have the chat going, Matt will be asking a couple of questions along the way. So definitely keep your chat pulled up and, you know, fire responses out to us as we go. And since Matt is the coaching expert, he's going to be doing the coaching side of this. And I'm going to be doing kind of the more explanatory side of it. So we're really excited to be here.

Alex Kirby - TFM (09:01.714)
and it's gonna be a fun evening.

Matthew Sullivan (09:07.016)
Awesome. So we're going to do two exercises we're going to focus on. The first one is going to need your phone. So if you don't have your phone, go grab it. And the other one is going to need a piece of paper and a pen. So I'm going to pause a few seconds while you go get those. So please go get those just so we have them. So when we do our exercises, you are ready to go. And like Alex said, if you walk away with one thing today, it's that we want it to be this, that relationships matter. And they matter way more than we ever thought they did.

Not just in terms of our you know short -term health but in our long -term health and our inner happiness too. So with our phones I assume most of you have those pretty close by now. So go ahead everybody get out their phone and I want you to think of someone in your life who is someone you haven't talked to someone you want to talk to you, but you just haven't like your your life has gotten in the way it could be a Sister a sibling. It could be a friend from high school. I

It could be an old colleague, an old worker that you've had. Anybody. I just want you to think of someone.

Alex Kirby - TFM (10:12.626)
No exes, don't use, no texting any ex girlfriends or anything. This is just, this is, we're keeping this, you know, platonic here.

Matthew Sullivan (10:22.088)
Yeah, only positive here. So when you think of that person, I want you to open up the app in your phone that you send text messages from and type their name in. And once you type their name in, I want you to send this text message that Alex has here. It says, hey, it's been too long. Want to catch up in the next few weeks. So what I want you to do after you send that text in the chat, when that person texts you back, I just want you to put in, they text. They text me something like that.

something like that so we know that they text you back and It's something to really really fun to do so go ahead and think of that person Go and type that text in your phone and go ahead and send it and in the text when they text you back Whether we're talking or not go ahead and put in the chat. They text me Alright, and then Alex is gonna talk about redefining. Well, so I hand it back over to you

Alex Kirby - TFM (11:12.626)
The yeah, let us know maybe if you do get a message back. First off, don't feel bad if you don't, but maybe that someone will never text again. I'm just kidding. But if you get a text back, let us know, let us know who it is because we've done this exercise periodically and we've gotten some really cool stories from it. So, hey, it's been too long. Want to catch up in the next couple of weeks. And then you have to catch up with them.

That's, you know, obviously you got to follow through on this and it could be phone call or zoom or grabbing a cup of coffee is always, always really nice. So, um, setting the stage, you, because you're, your clients, the family wealth and legacy, you know, a lot of this stuff already. Uh, but I just want to set the stage for where we think wealth is going and, and the initial phase of wealth management, which really came to life in the eighties was like the stockbroker.

all about money, very money driven, money focused. Everyone understands why there might be some shortcomings there. The wealth 2 .0 is when we start to involve more complex planning, we start to involve the state planning and trust. But the real issue that they found with that second iteration of wealth is that it's pretty negative. What you see there is a very haunted house.

that I would never go in. And it's intended to symbolize fear. And a lot of the stuff you read about wealth, whether it be a show like Succession or some of these old adages like shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves, is this connotation that wealth is going to ruin your family. Wealth is going to ruin us. It's negative. It's bad. It's not when in actuality that could be true, but wealth is also a resource.

And it's an opportunity to invest in our families and wealth 3 .0 is really about wellbeing. That's how Jay Hughes defines it. When Michael referenced the five forms of family capital, that's wealth as wellbeing. It's the idea that there's more to all of this than money. And what you're looking at here is the TFM tree. And, you know, we love family trees, the idea of a tree, our logo is a tree.

Alex Kirby - TFM (13:37.138)
And so if you chop down our tree, our logo, and it falls down, this is what you see on the inside of it. And really where it starts with every household that we work with is vision. Vision to us is the starting point for almost anything, whether you're thinking about your business or you're thinking about your family or you're thinking about your foundation.

A really cohesive vision is very important because it gives you alignment. And we define vision as purpose, values, and roles. That's where we start with every single household. And then if you kind of like keep zooming out, you see family dynamics, which are constantly changing. And then you see the four non -financial capitals, human, social, cultural, and intellectual. And where we're going to be spending our time today is in the social,

capital element. And you might notice in our tree, there's money is nowhere to be found. When we, when we think about money, we rely on people like Michael, they understand. Oh, we are Michael, you got a response. All right. All right. There we go. We're like a couple of minutes in, we got a response. Wonderful. Michael, really quick, just because you're, we can hear you. Who is Anthony?

Michael Palumbos (14:59.54)
Anthony's a colleague that when we met several years ago we started getting together like every two or three months and just we became like brothers from another mother we've never done any business together or anything but we just always talk about family and life and business together and we haven't seen each other in probably nine months now just life got in the way.

things with him, things with me. And so I just wrote that and now we'll get together. Thanks guys. You just, that's what he wrote. I'm just telling you. Yes, definitely. You've been in my thoughts lately. So thanks for reaching out.

Alex Kirby - TFM (15:36.882)
He said you've been on his mind, you've been on my mind lately.

Alex Kirby - TFM (15:46.834)
Now I can't tell you how many times people say they hear things like that. You know, when you reach out, someone's like, I meant to reach out. I was literally just talking about you the other day, you know, and we're going to get, we're going to get to these healthy practices of social fitness, but we're in the, the social realm of family capital, which is all about the relationships that we're building inside of family. And when we say family, um, like,

I come from, I'm a child of divorce. I am, believe it or not, an only child with 10 step and half siblings. Okay, so if you think about your definition of family, it's whatever you decide your definition of family is. It could be a nuclear family, it could be an extended family, it could be your close friends, it could be organizations, it's whoever is important to you. So we're not.

We don't have a standard definition of family. It's however you define family. So if we're using that term and it's not totally clicking with you, just know that whatever your definition of family is, that is absolutely perfect with us. Okay, social fitness. As a show of hands, I can't see anyone. So as a show of hands, who's heard of this term? Michael, Matt, both of you.

Michael Palumbos (17:06.86)
And anybody can type it into the chat.

Alex Kirby - TFM (17:11.057)
Yep. This term is not our term. This term comes from the Harvard. Melissa, no, Melissa, thank you for being honest. Lisa, you too. This term comes from the Harvard study of adult development. The Harvard study of adult development started in 1938 at Harvard University. And it's one of the longest, it's the longest.

longitudinal studies on human health and happiness. There's, you know, like people at Harvard maybe are not the perfect sample size for everyone, but where this study gets all its credibility is the fact that it's been going on for 85 years. That's a really, really long time. And there's a book that they wrote about the study. It's called The Good Life by Dr. Robert Waldinger. It's a beautiful, beautiful book.

that talks about the importance of relationships and reflection. And you're not here for a book report. You're here to learn about social fitness. So what I'm going to summarize the book for you. What they found, there's the book. If you want to order it, talk about it as a group, it's a wonderful read for a family because it's like, it's just a great book about conversation. But what they said here,

Good relationships, is a quote from the book, good relationships are significant enough that if we had to boil all 84 years of the Harvard study down to one principle of living, it would be this, good relationships keep us happier and healthier. So after studying people for 85 years, this is what they found out, good relationships are happier and healthier, make us happier and healthier.

And the term they use is social fitness. And so if you think about physical fitness, this idea that if you told someone you were going to the gym or if you were going on a run or you were getting some exercise or you're trying to like get back into shape, no one would think that was weird for your physical health. But when you move over to the emotional, social, mental side of things, it's like,

Alex Kirby - TFM (19:36.498)
Oh, so you're going to therapy? No, no, no, no, no. It's not that I care enough about my relationships and some of these areas of my life that I'm going to work on them. And just like muscles get strong, get weaker if we don't use them, right? If you don't work out or exercise you, your muscles atrophy. And then if you exercise and you start lifting some weights or going on runs, you start to build up strength. These are how our relationships work too.

they're living, breathing organisms. You can feel this sometimes when you really connect with someone over a period of time, or you get a chance to spend an extended period of time with someone. And the thing that is really cool about social fitness is what we just saw in that opening exercise when we sent that text message out. And Michael heard back from his friend, Anthony, is that social fitness,

is entirely in our control. The idea of social fitness is that very simply, if a relationship is important to you, it's your responsibility. If a relationship is important to you, okay, Melissa said, Amy, former coworker, it's so good to hear from you. Yes, I would love to. Melissa, that is wonderful.

Amy sounds great. And it sounds like it's a long overdue hang up. Those old coworkers are like a great source of energy in our life. You know, like there's always those one or two people from previous jobs or our previous lives that we really connected with. And it's like, so great to catch up with those people. So if a relationship is important to you, it's your responsibility. That really means in a lot of ways, that really means that we can't keep score.

We can't sit back and say, well, last time I texted Michael to get coffee. So now I'm going to sit, sit back and wait for him to text me that that doesn't work. Keeping score is something that people regret later in life. If a relationship is important to you, just set that aside. Don't keep score. Just reach out. You can tell people that you miss them and that you're thinking about them. It's a way to be proactive about your own.

Alex Kirby - TFM (21:59.356)
health and your relationships. And we have some ideas that can help this group as we talk about it. But it's your chance to take control of these relationships, right? Just like you have to take control of your fitness. You know, it's very easy sometimes, like after the holiday season, the bills lose. I'm a bills fan. There's probably a lot of bills fans on the call. Yeah, of course, right. After the bills lose.

You know, I'm sad for a few days and then I have, I'm like, you know what, go outside, stop yelling at your kids. It's not their fault. You know, like that kind of stuff. And, but you can take control of your relationships by just reaching out to people and their relationships that are most important to you. You know, I would say we've already seen two responses from this exercise, but I think social media has really convinced us that people.

have plans and that they're out there living this like really cool life and they're doing exciting stuff. No one has plans. No one's doing anything. The people that you reach out to are they do want to grab dinner. They do want to catch up over the phone and grab a cup of coffee. But everyone's kind of like being a little more passive than we should be. And this world that we're in now is more disconnected than we've ever been.

Social media is certainly a part of it. The pandemic was certainly a part of it. But, and we're gonna show you all these references after so you'd be able to scan them and see all the references if you wanna read this report. But if you think about all the stuff the surgeon general has going on, heart disease, cancer, diseases around the United States, this is our highest public health authority. And they're writing about loneliness.

That's wild. That's wild. They said that loneliness in this report for someone who's lonely, it's the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That's the damage that it can do to your health. 15 cigarettes a day because when you're lonely, you maybe are not getting, you're like, you're not showering. You're not getting dressed. You're not going out to see people. You're not sort of actively engaged in talking to people. And then over time,

Michael Palumbos (24:07.84)

Alex Kirby - TFM (24:27.122)
that starts to slow. The people that are at high risk for loneliness, and they talk about this in the report, people at high risk for loneliness, elderly people, certainly, anyone who has a chronic disease, where they're like isolated because they have a chronic disease, someone who's going through a life transition. So if you're, you just sent all the kids out of school.

If you just went through a divorce or you lost a spouse or you had a big life change in your life like retirement, all these things can increase your risk of loneliness. And so now it's time for our another exercise that Matt is going to run for us. Matt, are you ready?

Matthew Sullivan (25:12.936)
Yep. And I'll say on this, it's not just local to the U S it's everywhere. Uh, the British have even set up the British ministry of loneliness, which is wild that they have a whole ministry set up to that. So it is across all demographics, you know, everywhere. So, um, all right. So for the second, um, uh, exercise we're going to do Michael, I'm going to use you cause I can talk to you and see you. So what I want you to do on your piece of paper off to the side, I want you to write.

or list five to seven people who are in your life in a big way. You can't, you know, I have a lot of kids. I can't list my wife and my five kids. That's kind of, that's not fair. You gotta list, think of concentric circles in your life. So your wife can be one of them, but I want you to list people who are in your life who, who, you know, a good buddy or a friend, stuff like that. Could be good, could be bad, but people who take up a lot of time in your life. So Michael, when you're done, tell me.

because I assume other people are doing it, they're going to take about the same time you are.

Alex Kirby - TFM (26:15.026)
Matt, I'll give you some examples. You could have certainly coworkers and a boss, right? Mother -in -laws, father -in -laws, anyone who has an impact on your life could be from community groups, could be from church groups, could be a neighbor, your next door neighbor who doesn't take care of their lawn.

It could be.

Matthew Sullivan (26:49.)
Pretty personal Alex, man, that's a personal experience you're kind of on.

Alex Kirby - TFM (26:51.026)
Yeah, that's a random example. That's a random example. I don't know. That's, I don't know where that came from.

Michael Palumbos (26:56.94)
Alright, I've got my list.

Matthew Sullivan (27:00.69)
Awesome. All right. So now what we're going to do in the, in the study, they found that the greatest predictors of happiness in someone else's life was quality, the quality and the frequency of the relationship. So Alex is going to put a slide up here for us. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to create what's called our social universe. So. Perfect. There's the slide there. So go ahead. What you're going to do is you're going to make this chart. So on the vertical axis here, you're going to put.

energizing at the top and at the bottom, you're going to put depleting. So energizing are relationships that give you energy. You're excited to be there. They almost fill your cup up or increase your battery or depleting can be, well, they maybe take away from your battery. So that's the vertical and on the horizontal, I want you to put the frequency. So it can be infrequent to frequent all the way to the right. So again, this is up to you. This can be, you know, as a

someone with a kids and a family frequent might be one time a month for me to see somebody. But if you're single, it might be two to three times a week. So that is kind of up to you. There's some subjectivity to that. So go ahead and on this chart here, plot where you think those five to seven people are on it. Michael, again, when you're done, let me know because I assume you're going about the same speed everybody else is.

Alex Kirby - TFM (28:22.418)
And Matt, I'll just add a couple of things. If you're here with your spouse, don't look at their piece of paper as private. This is private. No one's going to see this. In the Harvard study that we referenced earlier, 84 % of the original study participants stayed in the study their entire life.

That's pretty wild. If you think about, you know, someone asking you, remember the mall survey people? They used to ask for surveys in the mall. I don't know if they're still there or not.

Alex Kirby - TFM (29:06.672)
Awesome, Charles. I love that.

Alex Kirby - TFM (29:12.028)
Charles, we're in Canada too, by the way. Is that like a thousand islands right over the bridge, Canada, or you have to let us know. But 84 % of the original studies of the original participants stayed in the study the entire time. 68 % of their kids agreed to participate. And that's a wild number. That is a wild number for the, they're not paying these people. This is a voluntary study that they're doing.

And what they found out is that because they were talking to them every two years, it was like a phone call and a survey every two years. They found that these surveys were checkpoints for these people to evaluate some of the aspects of their life. It forced them every couple of years to like pause for a second and say, Oh, well, you know, a couple of years ago, I said that this was really important to me.

And here I am a couple of years later and I haven't totally gone in the direction that I wanted to, or I'm really happy with the direction that I wanted to. So they've the study they found that just these check -ins thinking about some of this stuff, not every single day, once a year, every couple of years is a nice way to sort of check in with yourself.

Michael Palumbos (30:32.396)
That's funny. I was just gonna say that's exactly what it was like for Victoria and I when we were working with Lana, that it was like, you know, you just got that check in and taking some time to carve out and think about our family, not just be with the family, you know? It's kind of like, you just, as a business owner, there's working in the business, which is getting stuff done and making it happen.

Matthew Sullivan (30:33.768)
Yeah, and go ahead.

Michael Palumbos (30:58.572)
And then there's time to work on the business. Well, I never set any time aside to work on my family. I just was always in doing things with them, not thinking about them. I'm done with my plotting at that.

Alex Kirby - TFM (30:59.314)

Alex Kirby - TFM (31:11.314)
That's right.

Matthew Sullivan (31:16.444)
All right, great. Perfect. So what I want you to do, where they're plotted, I want you to circle each one of them. So circle each one of them. That shouldn't take long. But the one that this next part is really going to cause you to think. Draw a arrow in the direction that you want the relationship to go.

Matthew Sullivan (31:37.544)
That may take some thinking, but draw an arrow. So after you circle it, draw an arrow in the direction you want the relationship to go. Let me know when you're done with that.

Alex Kirby - TFM (31:48.722)
Yeah, and I think, you know, as as Michael said there, when he talks about his personal experience, what I what I hear is just a little bit of time to get some perspective on it all. Sometimes we use the term balcony to just go up and observe what's going on. You're in the thick of it so much it's hard to evaluate it. But a coach sees a different thing from the sideline or you can see.

something different from the sideline yourself and doing some exercises like this.

Matthew Sullivan (32:28.424)
All right, Michael, you got them? I think I see your thumbs up. Perfect. All right. So, so, uh, you don't have to tell me the name, but, uh, could you tell, you know, let's talk about someone who's in the energizing section. Okay. What makes you energizing? What makes them energizing to you?

Michael Palumbos (32:30.604)
Good luck.

Michael Palumbos (32:44.204)
Um, I just enjoy, you know, I enjoy my time with them. Um, there's, you know, um, what else? Uh, just the, just being with them is, is nice. They're, they're like -minded. They're, you know, sometimes, sometimes challenge me, which is nice. Um, uh, I learned from them. Um,

You know, we have a lot in common and you know that there's that mix. You know, I'm always trying to learn new things. And so it's just nice to hear somebody else, their approach to things. And so it's just, yeah.

Matthew Sullivan (33:28.232)
In what ways do they challenge you or do you learn from them?

Michael Palumbos (33:30.124)
Um, they're, when I have an idea and they're like, well, what are you doing about that? Um, they don't just, they don't just let things slide. There's always that, okay, great. Put an action plan together. What do you, where's that going? And let me know how that works out. Um, that's probably the way that they, they challenge and they're always somebody that when I'm with them, you know,

Just like today, I wrote down the Good Life book. Alex, you had mentioned it before and I still haven't bought it. So now I wrote it down, I'm gonna buy it. And this person, same thing, when we're together, it's like we're sharing. Would it be read lately? Here's a great podcast or watch this Ted Talk and kind of go from there.

Matthew Sullivan (34:20.584)
Yeah, and Charles said a good comment there. Energizing people are usually very considerate of you, of me, what he said. That means they're usually others focused, they're not just taking, taking, taking to what they're giving. So that's good. So the question is, do you want to increase your frequency with that person?

Michael Palumbos (34:28.285)

Michael Palumbos (34:36.108)

Matthew Sullivan (34:39.432)
It's awesome. So, uh, what is a step you could do maybe in the next one or two weeks to make that happen?

Michael Palumbos (34:44.972)
schedule a dinner or coffee or breakfast and just get some time on the calendar.

Matthew Sullivan (34:53.704)
That's great. That's great. Alright, let's try somebody from the depleting side of the list if you have anybody there. Is there anybody on that side?

Michael Palumbos (35:00.076)
I have somebody on the line.

Matthew Sullivan (35:05.256)
Okay, on the line, that's perfect. So what do they do to kind of get on that line? What qualities or characteristics?

Michael Palumbos (35:11.116)
They are just the opposite, you know, they're not they're not energizing they're kind of they take They're not always thankful for the things that you know, you're spending time and helping them and putting things together for them They Yeah, it's kind of you know, it's a lot of work how's that it takes a lot of energy I

to put the time in.

Matthew Sullivan (35:44.84)
So your battery is not increased. It's if anything decreased, maybe somewhere around there. So that's perfect. That's a, that's a great exercise. And this is just a sample of one of the things that we do here at TFM. And it's really easy to just take a second, just like we do with our, you know, I just looked at mine before I came on the meeting. Like look at your bank account. This is a great way just to take a snapshot of how, how is your social universe doing.

what are directions that you want these relationships to go? And you think, is there people I need to take off or is there people who are in it that I need to put on and what directions they need to go? So Alex, I'll hand it back over to you after that exercise. Anything else you want to add?

Alex Kirby - TFM (36:24.562)
Yeah, thanks, Matt. There's, if you scan that QR code, you can see all the reports that we're talking about, a reference to the book, some of the studies that we like related to this. I think the thing that I would recommend for everyone that we're not interacting with right now is we kind of did a truncated version of this.

but you can certainly take some time, get a cup of coffee, block out your calendar, find a quiet place and think about your relationships in a little bit deeper of a way for like an hour. As Matt said, we check our online banking, our brokerage statements a lot. We know how important relationships are now. So.

Whether this is something we do, you know, a couple of times a year, once a year, whatever it's in our control. You know, for Michael and his example of the energizing person, it's in Michael's control. It doesn't have to be as infrequent for him to see this person, you know, six months from now or a year from now it's, it's in our control. And certainly there's people.

in our lives who were not going to, they aren't going to leave our lives. They're part of our lives and they could be depleted. That's absolutely true. And then our question is really, what do we do about it? You know, there, when I think about those types of relationships, a way, an exercise for yourself is you can pretend it is 100 % your fault.

There is a hypothetical universe where the relationship in its current state is 100 % your fault. And if you can put on that hat for a second, even though it's unlikely, if you can put on that hat for a second and take that perspective, then you might find some ways to make that relationship a little less depleting.

Alex Kirby - TFM (38:50.706)
And that is really the only goal that we're trying to do with those, with those depleting relationships. And obviously this is like a moving target. It could be, you could do this exercise a week from now and it could be different, but it's a really cool way to evaluate. And, and, uh, I think it was Charles when, when he said consider it of me, you know, the, the things that we commonly hear, um, are the people that are energized the other person.

They're very present with the person that they're talking to. They listen. They ask good questions. You know, as Michael said, they challenge. I don't think any, you know, most of us aren't looking for someone who just agrees with us all the time and tells us that we're right and all that kind of stuff. But everyone wants to be heard. You know, everyone really wants to feel like when, when they say something or they're trying to get a point across.

that the person isn't just not hearing it and, and, and blowing it off. Um, this, you know, we, we talk about, you you've heard like, you're the sum of the six people you spend the most time with or, or, uh, you know, a version of that quote. Um, so if you think about this for other people in your life, you know, my poor family is like subject to all the exercises that, that we like try out and, and beta tests and stuff like that. So they know.

if they walk into my house and there's like a whiteboard in the kitchen, that they're in trouble. But you can do this with your adult children. You can do this with your children that are in high school. They're very, you know, our friends are so important to us. So if there's people in our lives like to introduce this exercise to young people early is really, really powerful. Cause then it gets them start thinking about man.

The people around me are really important and I'm in control of it. So it looks like Beth said, it's been a long time and I would love to do a heart emoji. Amazing. I love that. That's really good, Beth.

Michael Palumbos (41:00.588)
I love the part that Lori didn't even know who it was coming from at first. Lori says, question mark. And then Beth says, it's Beth Anne. And so that part just says how long she hasn't talked to him. Thanks for sharing, Beth. That was awesome.

Alex Kirby - TFM (41:19.154)
Yeah, that's really cool.

Michael Palumbos (41:19.436)
And everybody on this call, just so that you know, this is the last time we're gonna use Riverside because this is not social whatsoever and I need to have you guys on here. And I'm just like, oh man, we thought we were so being so sharp about utilizing this, but we can, we'll fix it next time. I can't go back. Thank you for your patience. Sorry about that.

Alex Kirby - TFM (41:47.378)
Hey, Michael, prop props to you though, for trying something new and all you can do is try stuff, right? It's like you go try a new restaurant. Wasn't that good? Um, I think props to you for trying something new. And I would rather have someone like in my advisor capacity who is learning and growing and trying new things, uh, rather than sort of just staying with, with the status quo. So I think we, we, uh, we made it work, but, um, you did, you said you got.

Michael Palumbos (41:52.844)
Yeah. Yup.

Alex Kirby - TFM (42:16.37)
some questions so we can take some questions live in the chat from folks right now. Or I think, Michael, you do have a couple of questions if we want to do those too to ask them.

Matthew Sullivan (42:28.744)
Yeah. Well, before we do that, I want to add one thing is that, you know, we said that relationships are important. We've said, you know, you're in control of making it happen, kind of taking the initiative. One thing in the study, it found out also that it's never too late. That it's never, ever too late. And that was one of my favorite things, honestly, from the study is that, you know, we all hear like, Oh, you know, I wish I started this 10 years ago. Well, you know, the old saying, when's the best, the second bullet, the

Alex Kirby - TFM (42:43.634)
Yeah, thank you Matt.

Matthew Sullivan (42:56.976)
The best day to plant a tree was 20, 30 years ago with the second best days today. And so, man, relationships matter. You're in control of them, but it's also never too late. So also take that away as well.

Alex Kirby - TFM (43:09.522)
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you, Matt. It's never too late to say it's never too late in a presentation, um, because it is never too late, whether it's, and this goes for these important relationships. That's what people, you know, in all the books that you read about regret and the end of life, people regret, it's called a connection regret from Daniel Pink's book, the power of regret. It's called a connection regret. And it's when people,

That's right. It's it from Charles. That's exactly right, Charles. And people regret not reaching out. That's what they regret. Very rarely does someone reach out. You know, I'd be very surprised if anyone got a text message back from their text this evening. There was like, I don't want to speak to you. I've always found you annoying. Right. I would be very surprised if that happened. But the connection regrets are this like idea.

that I wish I had just reached out. I wish I had just apologized. I wish I had just told this person, I'm sorry we lost touch. I wish I had just said, hey, I miss you. I'd love to catch up. That is something that is in our control. And if that person chooses to ignore us or not respond or whatever, that's okay because we won't have the regret. At least we'll know.

You know, at least we'll know, hey, I reached out to them. They, they told me they never wanted to speak to me again. At least I know, you know, and I think there's a lot of power in that. So, um, if you ever want to talk to us, um, total family management, total family management, or you want to ask us a private question, you can reach out to us, but certainly go through Michael. If you have interest in doing family vision or any of these types of exercises, talk to Michael.

He's an amazing partner to us and we're excited for where our relationship is going to grow because you bring so many amazing ideas to the table. But if there's any questions, I don't know, Michael, how long you want to hang for questions or if you have a couple of questions, it's totally up to you.

Michael Palumbos (45:19.34)
Yeah, well, a couple of things. I'm just curious, social media, for those of us in my generation and above, social media is not, I don't think it's as captivating as it is for our kids and our grandkids, where it's, like my grandkids, that's all they know is they had a tablet in their hands right away.

And so what is the impact social media has on social fitness?

Alex Kirby - TFM (45:50.8)

Alex Kirby - TFM (45:58.77)
Matt, you and I can both take various stabs at answering this, but I feel like the data is coming out pretty rapidly now in terms of the impact that social media has had on this group of teens. But it's really on everyone. I know lots of people who are north of 50 that are

spending tons of time on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, et cetera. The companies are powered by ads. All of those companies are powered by ads. They don't really care about us, right? They care about selling ads and to do that, they need to keep us engaged. And so the more time we're on these platforms,

the more that they can charge advertisers. So I would say that overall social media isn't that social. I think it creates kind of the feeling of connection. Sometimes certainly the dopamine hits when you get a like or you post something and people say, oh, like that feels good for sure. But how many of those people...

you know, would you call in the middle of the night? How many of those people would you call if you're really going through something? How many of those people do you really have connection and support from? I would say that, you know, spending less time on those platforms and more time building connection with these people that you just put on your social universe is going to be a better use of your time. We do have a lot of press. There's a.

Another way to think about this, we have not had a single family come to us in our entire time and existence that said, we're trying to spend more time on our phones. We've never heard that. And so when you can sort of say something like that, then it's like, what practices can you put into place to help us go in the other direction? So we've certainly had families.

Alex Kirby - TFM (48:21.874)
have like no phone zones in the house or a dedicated place to put your phone, right? Where you walk into the house and you put it here. Certainly for adolescent kids, young people, for really, for all of us, the phone does not help us sleep. And sleep is really important. So there's a lot of alternative alarm clocks out there. That's like the number one objection we hear, but my phone is my alarm. But...

leaving your phone somewhere away from you before you go to sleep. And a lot of parents are not letting their young children in particular take the phone up with them to bed. Because we've all had this experience, like you can be tired, you're exhausted, and then you like are on your phone for somehow like an hour and a half. You're like, how is that possible? I was so like, I was exhausted. And now I'm like awake. And there's a lot of science behind that. But I think overall,

Our social fitness is the phone and social media is hurting our social fitness and connection overall. And we have to put some practices into place to build that connection. Matt, anything you'd add there?

Matthew Sullivan (49:33.544)
Yes, there's a few things that I'll say one about that I just learned and another one about from the study that we pulled out. I learned the other day that TikTok and they're in the news and all of that, but they actually have a device or a part of their algorithm is once you've been on there for so long, it pops up, hey, you've been on here for over 45 minutes. You probably need to get off. That's not healthy. And so today,

You know, the social media is we're so we're connected, but we're also more lonely than ever. And it's the it's the younger generation. Now, I will say, and Alex mentioned it here from the study, they also found a difference in how you engage in social media as a big thing. You just go on there to keep up with people. Are you engaging with them? You're you're commenting on photos. You're also great in that way can be a blessing. You know,

So I have my doctor in the medical field and there is a massive difference that I saw during COVID when I would go into someone's home to work with them when they were engaging with people versus when they were just isolated by themselves and weren't really talking. And so the study found it was a massive difference if you're engaging with people versus if you're just on there to compare and just to scroll and to get dopamine hit. Those are two totally separate ways how to do it. So you got to be aware of them. One of them can be helpful.

Alex Kirby - TFM (50:49.168)

Matthew Sullivan (50:55.292)
One of them is definitely not, but the third best alternative is obviously in person in the social universe that we talked about today.

Michael Palumbos (51:01.452)
Yeah, and Mark, go ahead, Alex.

Alex Kirby - TFM (51:02.674)
Yeah, I see it. Yeah, I see a comment from Mike and Mike, please know we are not anti technology, right? We're here on zoom and we can be here with all of you because of the wonders of technology. So we, you I FaceTime with with all my my siblings, none of my I don't live in the same state as any of my siblings or or my parents. So like FaceTime is beautiful. It's an amazing way. It's so much better than like.

texting or emailing or even calling someone, right? Because you can actually be there and see them and grow with them. So definitely not.

Michael Palumbos (51:36.364)
Steven, yeah. Alex, I'm sorry to interrupt, but our buddy Jay Hughes, one of the things that I learned from him is, Michael, in this day and age, there is no longer geography. If you care about somebody, if you want to spend time with somebody, you just have to pick up the phone or pick up, set up a Zoom meeting or FaceTime them. So it's super. And Alex and I both know, Jay's in his 80s.

and probably one of the most technologically advanced people that I know, because he just wants to be connecting with more people on a regular basis. And he's on all the time meeting with people around the world.

Alex Kirby - TFM (52:20.21)
Yeah. Yeah. I think FaceTime like in that way has been such a great way for families to stay connected, especially as adult kids have moved, you know, more away, gone to different schools and found, made lives in different cities. So FaceTime is beautiful. This, this, I love that you're doing that with your adult kids, Mike. More so my comments were like on the, the, I'll say advertise, advertiser powered social media apps.

Matthew Sullivan (52:49.192)
Yeah. And I'll say, I'll jump in real quick, Alex. If you look on these, I'll use Instagram and YouTube, just for example, if you see what they're really going toward is the dopamine hit stuff. That's what I'm saying is the negative. So the Instagram reels that are like less than 20 seconds on average, the YouTube shorts, all this stuff that they're trying to get. That's really what TikTok's problem that they found is that it's the short dopamine hit boom, boom, boom. And that's where the negativity comes from.

Alex Kirby - TFM (53:00.978)

Matthew Sullivan (53:19.08)
not the connectedness at all.

Michael Palumbos (53:21.74)
Alex, you know, one of the things that I wanted to talk about TFM for just a second is, you know, as a CEO of a company, as a leader of a company, and as, and I coach other companies, you know, we talk about the company has a culture and culture is designed around what is your vision? What is your purpose? You know, why do you exist? And what are your values? And what are your goals?

And one of the things that I've learned through the years with, and the reason why TFM was so important to me is because the people that I met that were doing that work for families, only served families that were worth $50 million. And because they would spend a weekend and do retreats and quarterly meet, annual big weekend retreats. And the prep for that was, it's $50 ,000. And my clients...

That wasn't gonna happen. My family, I didn't have the money to do that. And so, within our first four meetings with TFM, we did a vision meeting. We did our values. We talked about the roles that we had within our families. And we started to look at the culture that we have within our family that's already existing, but now we named it. And we wrote those things down. And for Victoria and I,

Alex Kirby - TFM (54:46.354)

Michael Palumbos (54:48.524)
to write down and say that our number one core value is love. And from there it was, and I know not in any order, but gratitude, growth and grit, and then forgiveness. And so to talk, and we have not had the meeting yet where we talk to the kids about what we've learned. I mean, I we've shared some of these things with them.

But now we need to take and figure out what's next with those things and where to go. But it was really neat for Victoria and I to look at the values that we shared, which were those five that we agreed upon. But there was also values that were important to Victoria and values that were important to me that we didn't share. And it was a really unique conversation for us to know about, ooh, wow, I can see where we...

Alex Kirby - TFM (55:37.072)

Michael Palumbos (55:44.012)
are different in those arenas. And I need to be really respectful for you know, to Victoria in areas that, you know, are important to her that I just doesn't matter the same and vice versa. So.

Alex Kirby - TFM (55:58.922)
Yeah, Michael, that's a great point. The you know, we talk about create vision to us is a common language for families. And as Michael said, you get to decide your own values, no one else's, you don't get to decide the adult kids values, you don't get to decide your spouse's values. But you don't have to give up your own values, right? Like in the case of Michael and Victoria, they had their own values. And then they also had their combined values as a family.

Um, and you do a little bit of compromising there and, but this gives a, this gives families ways to talk about some of their differences that I think are less negative than maybe, um, people think they are where if you understand someone's values and you're having that conversation, it's like, Oh, Michael, I, uh, I understand you prioritize loyalty. I was prioritizing adventure. And so that's why we're sort of like not on the same page here.

but it becomes a very positive, constructive conversation. So thanks for sharing that.

Matthew Sullivan (57:03.592)
Yeah, I also want to jump in and say, great job remembering your values. That's a, that's a massive win. So proud of that. That's huge. And, um, and I'll say the real growth comes in the wrestling over the values. So, you know, we're just here really asking question when, well, Malcolm and Victoria are like, oh, here's our values. And we kind of like, all right, go in and the wrestling happens. And that's the, that's the, in a good way, that's where the growth comes from. And, um,

Alex Kirby - TFM (57:07.634)
Yeah, sure.

Matthew Sullivan (57:33.02)
I love that you had those and you memorized them and that's a great filter and I love it.

Michael Palumbos (57:38.316)
Yeah, and if anybody has any questions, I think we're getting to the point of wrapping up, but feel free to throw something in the chat. I will let you know, we've got the rest of the year pretty much booked for the Strengthen series. We have some of the other ones that are happening. One of my clients, Jane Schaefer, is gonna come in next month, and she's talking about something that I introduced to her.

called the Grandparent Grandchild Philanthropy Project. And she's going to be talking, I think we're going to hear from some of her grandkids. And we'll see how that works. I, Lisa, thanks, how do we find out about the series? We're in that progress, not perfection mode right now. So it's right now, we don't have them all listed out and put together, but it's on our agenda to make those things happen.

We appreciate that. I'm working on it. And then we have Jeff Savlov is coming in. Jeff Savlov is going to be... Jeff is a family business coach who has international recognition for his work with families of wealth and especially in regarding rate to raising young children. And so if anybody's a grandparent or a parent, you get your, you want to be on...

for those times when Jeff's on. If you're going to be a grandparent or you are a grandparent, you want to hear Jane's story about the impact and her relationship with her grandkids around the grandparent grandchild philanthropy project. And we got, you know, I'll drip on you. By the time that third one happens, we'll have the list out with the dates and the times for all the other ones.

We'll get them out to everybody as a PDF and you can just put them on your calendar and kind of go from there. Michael had asked, what does purpose mean in your trip, you know, as you're talking about this?

Michael Palumbos (59:45.26)
Oh, in the trunk, on the tree. Got it, got it, got it.

Alex Kirby - TFM (59:46.002)
Yeah, thanks Mike. Yeah. Yeah. Purpose is a component of vision. And so, so our definition of vision is purpose, values, and roles. I think we've probably talked about roles and values. So people understand what those are a little more intuitively. Purpose is kind of your why as a household or as a family, it's that thing that's out in the distance. Sometimes we say it's the horizon.

that you're always sailing towards. Purpose isn't really intended to be something that you achieve, like a goal that you'd set, like I wanna retire one day, that's a goal, not a purpose. But we help families talk about their purpose because it's intended to be a broad inspirational thing for them. So examples of family purpose statements, work hard, a couple of ones that I really liked.

work hard with a kind heart is an example of a purpose statement. It's intended to be broad, kind of give you like those good feels. And it's a little bit of a check on you as a group. Like if you're heading in the direction where you're not working hard with a kind heart, then that's a signal that you might be headed in the wrong direction. For my family, leave it better than you found it.

is one that my wife and I, you know, I don't know if any of these are perfect, but it works for us right now. And it's something that we're like constantly referencing because it can have sort of small implications, you know, like of just like doing the right thing, but also much larger implications in terms of like, you know, leaving this, this place, this big place that we're all here together at better than you found it and leaving the people.

that you interact better than you found them, so to speak. So in our fourth work, in our fourth session with families, our coaches have enough kind of knowledge about the family that they sit and work with them to create that purpose statement. And so after four sessions, you have your purpose and your values and your roles, and they're not set in stone. They don't have to be perfect, but it gives us a really nice starting point. And then Michael, as your...

Alex Kirby - TFM (01:02:13.15)
financial advisor in that area of your life, it's really helpful for him to have that vision too, because that might mean we want to make some changes to the financial plan or to the estate plan or to the trust, etc.

Michael Palumbos (01:02:25.672)
Alex, one of the things I want to share with people and I will send this out or when I'm with in meetings with you folks, make sure you ask me about what I call the wealth multiplier. And this was something that I created after meeting with Jay Hughes and spending some time with him. And basically, you know, when we talk about the financial wealth, when we talk about the financial capital of a family,

We invested in the business, we invested in the stock market or bonds or real estate, whatever the different pieces are that you're investing in. And we're expecting a return on the investment. And those returns a lot of times come out in the forms of interest or dividends or growth of those assets. And that growth, that money comes out as cash and we take that money and we live off of it.

And then whatever's left over, a lot of times, you know, what we'll do is we'll take that money and then put it right back into those investments to continue growing the financial aspects. Well, when we think about the non -financial capitals, you know, you've got your social capital, the intellectual capital, the spiritual capital and the human capital. And, you know, we invest in the human capital and the intellectual capital when we send our kids off to college.

So that's really, for the family, there's a value for that. And a lot of my clients, because they're family -owned businesses, they've sent their kids off and they've gotten a four -year degree or they've gotten their masters and then they've gotten work experience outside of the family business. And then they come back and they bring that knowledge, that intellectual capital and that human capital back to the family business. That's really about the first time that you've seen that.

And so what family total family management is doing is just getting us to invest a little bit of money on some of these other capitals, the social, the human, the relational, you know, the spiritual, the cultural, whatever you want to, however you define those different non -financial capitals. And I think that's what's, it's really special and that's, you know, it's different and the families that take the time.

Alex Kirby - TFM (01:04:39.206)

Michael Palumbos (01:04:46.22)
to invest in the non -financial capital of the family are the ones that are able to ensure that the wealth, you know, is, that people become good stewards of the financial capital and that they can pass those pieces on because, you know, that work helps to create trust. It helps to create communication. And all of the work that is done around that on purpose is just helpful. So I just wanted to share that.

I have an image that I can show you that and but when you invest in those non -financial capitals inevitably there is a multiplier effect on your financial capital as well and that's that's the point of that so I don't see it. Well, go ahead Matt.

Matthew Sullivan (01:05:33.64)
Yeah. I was going to say, and I want to say, don't let it scare you. If this, if this idea of coaching scares you, then know that our coaches are going through the coaching as well, because we know like, man, this was a hard session. Hey, we need to pause and talk about this little area more or less. So no, let, no, that the coaches are going through it with you. Um, they've gone through it and they know the, the stretching and the, the, sometimes the, the pain that comes from.

the workshop that's a good strengthening for your family as well.

Michael Palumbos (01:06:07.052)
I don't see any other questions. We're a little over an hour. I booked 90 minutes just in case. And so we're happy to give everybody their night back. Alex, Matthew, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. And again, this is our first time doing this. Oh, you're welcome. We love doing this. This is our first time doing this.

And again, you know, our core purpose at Family Wealth and Legacy is to strengthen family, wealth and legacy. And when we talk about the wealth, we're not just talking about the financial capital. And we really want to focus in on what can we do to help strengthen your family? Because at the end of the day, we could have a depression that happens tomorrow and wipes us all out. And I can't we can't control all of those things. We can't control what happens in the stock market.

But we can control the time that we invest in the people that we love. And that's, you know, I'm putting my money where my mouth is. We took our marketing budget to bring in speakers. We're not looking for clients right now. You know, there'll be a time when we add new clients to what we're doing. But right now we just wanted to create a platform that we can strengthen the relationships with our clients so that you can strengthen the relationships that matter most to you. So math.

Alex Kirby - TFM (01:07:08.37)

Michael Palumbos (01:07:30.284)
Yeah, Alex, thank you both so much.

Alex Kirby - TFM (01:07:34.034)
Thanks, Michael. Bye, everyone.

Matthew Sullivan (01:07:34.536)
Thank you for having us.

Matthew Sullivan (01:07:41.288)
Thank you Michael, see you later.

Michael Palumbos (01:07:41.452)
Take care.


If you’re a family business or a family business consultant and want to be on the show, share your story and help other family businesses, send us an email to or fill out a contact form here!

*not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.


Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.