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Episode 79: Generations of Giving: The Power of Grandparents & Grandchildren in Family Business Philanthropy

In this episode of the Family Business Show, host Michael Palumbos from Family Wealth and Legacy in Rochester, New York, welcomes James Hughes, a significant figure in family wealth and legacy planning. Hughes shares his journey from being a young lawyer in 1967 to a seasoned expert in family governance and flourishing family systems.

Hughes discusses his transition from technical law practice to focusing on family culture and flourishing. He emphasizes the importance of families working together to enhance each member's happiness and well-being. Hughes introduces the concept of the Grandparent-Grandchild Philanthropy Project, an initiative that fosters deeper connections and understanding within families through philanthropic activities.

The project encourages grandchildren to engage in philanthropy, teaching them to think critically, make decisions, and express gratitude. Hughes highlights the importance of including grandchildren in philanthropic decisions, which not only benefits external causes but also strengthens the family's internal social capital.

Despite its many benefits, Hughes cautions that the project's success depends on the family's readiness and internal dynamics. He advises families to approach the project thoughtfully, ensuring that all members, especially parents, are supportive and engaged.

Through this initiative, Hughes demonstrates how philanthropy can be a powerful tool for family bonding, education, and the cultivation of a growth mindset among younger generations. The episode concludes with Palumbos expressing his enthusiasm for sharing Hughes' insights with other families, underscoring the transformative potential of the Grandparent-Grandchild Philanthropy Project in building stronger, more connected family units.

Watch the entire episode!

Episode 79 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Well welcome everybody to the family business show. I am your host, Michael Columbus, with family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and Today I have my very favorite special guest, James Hughes, who, without Jay's writing this podcast, wouldn't exist. I wouldn't have the I would not have been

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: as curious about families and families, and business and family wealth, if it wasn't for having read family wealth, keeping it in the family so many years ago. So welcome, Jay. Thank you.

 

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James Hughes: Michael. This is a fun fun opportunity. Thank you for inviting me.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So today, you know, we before we jump into today one of the things I just for people that don't know you, and because it is, you know, every podcast stands alone.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Tell us your background about how you started working with families. I just want to remind people so that they understand your connection. And how this came about.

 

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James Hughes: Michael. I was a young lawyer in 1,967.

 

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James Hughes: I'm not gonna go under a long, but I would promise, but and found myself in a law firm where my dad was the senior partner, one of them, and there were 3 departments. There was the Commercial Department, the Litigation Department, and the Trust and States Department.

 

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James Hughes: since there was already nepotism by my joining that firm.

 

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James Hughes: and he ran the Commercial Department. I done litigation. I didn't like it.

 

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James Hughes: So I went in the Trust and States Department and realized 6 months in

 

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James Hughes: that I probably would have left the law but for the fact that the trust in the States Department meant I had my own clients 6 months into my propression.

 

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James Hughes: Individuals and families I never look back

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: nice. And then there was a there was a a point in your career. If I remember correctly, where you spent an awful lot more time

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: coaching families through through the years. What it? What what was that transition like? What? Why did you make that transition?

 

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James Hughes: Our dear friend Matt Wesley. wrote a wonderful paper called Culture Read Structure for breakfast.

 

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James Hughes: Most young lawyers, Michael, in the first, about 1015 years of their careers in the Trust and States are we now call a private client department.

 

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James Hughes: are learning their trade, and they do a lot of technical work.

 

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James Hughes: what we call structural work. I did that I learned my my lessons, and but I wasn't very interested in it.

 

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James Hughes: What? And to be clearer and clear to me. That was that the culture question was a family seeking to flourish. Was it enhancing the individual journeys of happiness of its members

 

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James Hughes: for all the boats rising, whatever the way way we want to think about it. I thought, this is really interesting. whereas the technical side really didn't interest me at all.

 

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James Hughes: So I found myself further and further out

 

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James Hughes: of the profession.

 

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James Hughes: not because I didn't love being a lawyer, I did. I'm a sixth generation lawyer in my family. But what I found was that more and more. instead of individual client, or maybe a couple.

 

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James Hughes: whole families were reaching out to me 20 people, 40 people, 50 people.

 

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James Hughes: sometimes 200 people even. And

 

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James Hughes: I thought this systems work is really interesting.

 

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James Hughes: How do you develop a system that supports 40 people's, lives not financially, but emotionally.

 

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James Hughes: How do you grow their human and intellectual self, their social capacity.

 

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James Hughes: their spiritual capacity?

 

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James Hughes: So I just found myself one day

 

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James Hughes: discovering that as a lawyer in New York State where you are.

 

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James Hughes: I couldn't represent a family. I only could represent a person and then get waivers again. I don't want to get into the detail. but I discovered that day

 

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James Hughes: that the law left me.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Hmm.

 

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James Hughes: Because the law, the law didn't give me what my clients wanted for me.

 

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James Hughes: So I thought, Well, okay, I love this work. I love the idea of a flourishing family being the first building block of a flourishing society.

 

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James Hughes: As Aristotle said, 2,400 years ago

 

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James Hughes: I thought I i'm gonna do that. So I still have my law license. I just Don't practice law, and having for a long time I like being a lawyer

 

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James Hughes: from the standpoint of trying to help grow flourishing communities, which I think is Lawyer's job. So in a nutshell

 

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James Hughes: I found myself one day was a law leaving me.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it, I love it, and I You know I Haven't heard the story put that way. So that was, I appreciate and appreciate it, and i'm glad I asked.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So today, you you know, if we go to your website and remind me the web addresses@jamesehughes.com.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and there's reflections on there. And so today we're going to be talking about the reflections that you've had on the grandchild grandparent, philanthropy

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: as an element in a system of family governments.

 

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James Hughes: Yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I yeah, I I I apologize. But I I I have kind of shortened, and I call it the the grandparent grandchild, Philanthropy Project, and I and I just. And then I I think this is such a powerful

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: piece that, and and just everything in this paper resonated with me when I heard it, and when I've introduced it to people, many have said that all this is great.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and that' be, you know. But many have said, this is great, but then they let it sit on the shelf, and they forget to do anything with it or I. I've got another way of doing it. And when the first

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: grandmother and grandfather started this project with their grandchildren.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: She took the white paper, and I said, Would you like, you know, any help? And she goes? Nope, I got this.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: She was just so excited, and one of the things that she did that you'll get a kick at us. I want to share that this right away is

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the she created the donor application fund. You know the how they were going to do that.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and her grandchildren at the time were 7 and 9, and there was 4 of them. So 2, 7, and 2, 9 from different kids.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and she did it with all of them, and she made them fill it out. And cran she goes. I mean she goes. I'm doing that part for me because I want to be able to look back. I want them to be in Cran, and so

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and just an amazing

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: thing. So i'm I ahead of myself, because people don't understand what the grandchild grandparent, philanthropy work is. So let's let's dive into that.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I guess

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know. How did this start for you? Where did this? Where did this come from?

 

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James Hughes: Well, Michael, I think when your first grandchild is born.

 

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James Hughes: The Hindus, a great teacher of mine, a Hindu teacher. said to me, Jay, when your first grandchild is born, you become free to spend the rest of your life in the way that you think

 

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James Hughes: best serves you because you've completed parenting you and other aspects. So when I had my first grandchild, I thought, Well, i'm sort of free. Now, what this my friend taught me this i'm gonna try it out.

 

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James Hughes: But what he didn't tell me was that, of course, grandparents and grandchildren have a natural affinity.

 

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James Hughes: Now I i'm sure that some people are going to be a little offended by what I'm going to say. But the Chinese have a problem about this.

 

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James Hughes: and the Chinese proverb is that the grandparents and the grandchildren of the natural enemies of the parents.

 

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James Hughes: So I have said for years. When people ask me Well, how are you as a grandparent, I say I spoil my grandchildren like hell. Well, i'm like crazy.

 

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James Hughes: What.

 

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James Hughes: as I said, the parents job is to do whatever They' but I'm going to just spoil them like crazy.

 

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James Hughes: So in that spoiling process

 

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James Hughes: very selfishly. This is. This is really a selfish grandfather. I put my hand up. I'm selfish.

 

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James Hughes: I began to think. What would I like to know from them? Starting around the age of 6,

 

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James Hughes: and I thought, Well. how do you engage a grandchild in a conversation? It's a pretty important conversation without it being heavy. You don't want to do that.

 

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James Hughes: and so I thought, Well, how can I do this? So then I had the idea.

 

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James Hughes: Well, suppose I asked them what they were interested in doing for somebody else.

 

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James Hughes: And what kind of an answer would I get?

 

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James Hughes: So I started essentially, slowly, asking them that question. If you if

 

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James Hughes: you're gonna do something for somebody else. What would you do? Would you choose? What would you do?

 

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James Hughes: And I began to get better conversations with my grandchildren? So it wasn't the soccer game wasn't fine, and the dance thing was fine, or whatever the activities were. But it's, you know, that's really just surface.

 

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James Hughes: When you really ask a person with intention who loves you. So there's a there's a connection.

 

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James Hughes: You're going to get some pretty good answers.

 

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James Hughes: So I began to think. Well, maybe there's something in this.

 

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James Hughes: and a lot of the answers were philanthropic answers. That is well, I want to help so, and so I I love fellow man, but loves anthropos. I love development. Well, how can I help somebody?

 

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James Hughes: So then I thought. Hmm.

 

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James Hughes: I wonder what it would be like for the group of grandchildren. My, they were then, let's say, about 12

 

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James Hughes: to 6. Well, in that age range

 

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James Hughes: to actually be in that conversation, together with their grandmother and I no parents, you notice no parents sorry, not welcome. not welcome. Sorry.

 

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James Hughes: So I thought for one of my birthdays. I try this out.

 

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James Hughes: so I did, I said to my grand, my children, and we were all gathering for a birthday. I said I would like to have 2 h with my grandchildren just us

 

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James Hughes: also. One of my grand nieces was coming. So she came to. and and they said, Well, what are you gonna do you know who who is every anxious?

 

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James Hughes: I said. I'll tell you exactly what I'm going to do.

 

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James Hughes: I'm gonna ask them before they come to write a little paper about something they would like to do to get make a gift to someone else. and that they will go and visit that organization.

 

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James Hughes: and then write a little paper as a an application as the lady that you were talking about. and of course the

 

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James Hughes: the mothers of the 6 year old said, oh, 2 sentences.

 

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James Hughes: But for the 12. Actually, it was also a 13 year old. I said. I think i'd like a page. and I said, here's the deal.

 

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James Hughes: You come and make an application in front of your other great, the other grandchildren and the

 

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James Hughes: and i'm pretty sure that we're all gonna want to give something to that, and so i'll give an age specific check. That's appropriate. Age, appropriate check.

 

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James Hughes: and I said i'm also going to take that opportunity to tell some stories of mine that I would like them to know.

 

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James Hughes: Michael. That was one of the great birthdays of my whole life.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I'm just

 

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James Hughes: it. It was incredible fun now everybody showed up with a little paper, and again the sixes and sevens, a couple of sentences, the

 

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James Hughes: 12 and 13 set of page. They'd all gone to the organization. and and you know which is a really important thing.

 

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James Hughes: This is a strange thing, i'm going to say, but most people don't know how to ask for something.

 

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James Hughes: and that slows down

 

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James Hughes: a lot of really good stuff, because people know if I ask, i'm being selfish

 

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James Hughes: if I ask, i'm, i'm not doing what my grandparents told me I should do be humble, and I mean that I mean yes, right. They keep keep a low profile. But you do need to learn to ask.

 

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James Hughes: So hidden in this grandparent grandchild philanthropy. And then the process is actually young children learning to ask for something in a very safe environment.

 

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James Hughes: And then, after they asked, and of course I gave a check to each one that was age appropriate. And by the way, i'm talking about $50 or $100. I'm not talking about some

 

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James Hughes: ridiculous, some

 

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James Hughes: That was something that was really $50, grandpa, really? Oh, wow! You know. Oh, my goodness so!

 

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James Hughes: But then they had to take the check

 

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James Hughes: to the philanthropy

 

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James Hughes: and Michael the parents, of course. Then the parents got involved. They thought this was. They then thought this was wonderful, and they would go with the child, the grandchild

 

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James Hughes: to the philanthropy. and actually see the executive director some zoom

 

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James Hughes: what we're 2 zoos involved. I can't remember what all the things were now. but they actually shook hands with the executive director presented the check and had an experience of somebody saying to them, Thank you.

 

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James Hughes: That's again in it's not being grandiose. No. it it's it's learning to be in connection with human beings, and the social

 

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James Hughes: context of doing good.

 

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James Hughes: and in the meantime their grandmother and I just had so much fun.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So that's interesting, so that it's helping me painted a a picture and understand it You so, though you say the grandchildren and grandparents are the natural enemy of the parents, you actually set the parents up to watch their kids do some really incredible things. And

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the family that I was talking about. They're in different states than Graham and Grandpa and the parents were blown away that when they're

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: 9 year old, you know. Son wanted to go to the it was a war Aircraft War Museum. I i'm, I'm, you know. I'm just you know, when they visited it

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: they same exact experience. He was given a tour. Tell me why you need. You know. What are you looking for? Why, you know. Yes.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and so you're teaching things like

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: how to think for themselves. Right? Critical. Yes, the family. When they, When the applications were made. She made one little change. They have a family meeting

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: every year in the summer that all families come together.

 

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James Hughes: and the children had to make the

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the request in front of the whole family.

 

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James Hughes: Oh, well, now, that's that's a nice touch.

 

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James Hughes: except then that the parents get to have too much fun.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's not fair. It's you know I I i'm not so sure. I'm in i'm i'm i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm i'm, i'm, i'm i'm i'm teaching

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: then they're making that request in front of a big an audience that does exactly the same thing like I have 2 grandchildren myself. One is 6, and we're just going to be starting this this year.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and so you know there is nobody else besides him as he's going through this.

 

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James Hughes: Sure

 

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James Hughes: you do that? Well, let me also say that if you how many grand nephews or grand nieces don't leave them out.

 

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James Hughes: and there's a nice there's another piece of this, Michael that occurs to me

 

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James Hughes: as you were telling your story, which I love is this.

 

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James Hughes: The grandchildren's generation are the first cousins. Hmm. That's why she's saying that well. so it's. It's a it's hanging around.

 

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James Hughes: So and that problem either comes to, or a dozen in the grandchildren or first cousin. That's the same

 

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James Hughes: generation. Just think for a moment. If

 

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James Hughes: yeah, first cousins will say that rather than grandchildren, grandchildren

 

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James Hughes: have an experience relatively young together that isn't just going and playing. which they have to do a little work together.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah.

 

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James Hughes: Oh, are you building subversibly their capacity to work together?

 

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James Hughes: They say all my cousins Joe, is interested in the Zoo, and my cousin Sue is interested in. Make a wish foundation. That was one of the things that the kids chose, and they actually went to the make a Wish foundation, and sat in the chair with the child since it was. But

 

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James Hughes: the point is that they didn't realize that they were learning to ask for something. No, wasn't any pressure. Nobody was telling them about. This is the lesson. and and they didn't realize that they were hearing each other in a different setting

 

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James Hughes: and doing something then together, and is supporting each other emotionally.

 

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James Hughes: So there's a lot of stuff in this that's very human about building community.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah. And and you're right. You know it's Every society has some form of you know, shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves, and some people don't like to talk about it. But at the end of the day what that happens. It's it's happened in my family. Me and my cousins

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: are not as close because it wasn't intentional.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: correct, and so all you are saying is, instead of allowing entropy to happen, be intentional about putting those people together?

 

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James Hughes: Yes, and somebody has to be the ringmaster.

 

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James Hughes: and and and who who better than the who better than the elder generation.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So so much fun? I love that.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So now, as your grandchildren got older, and you know, so we have level one. You know that that's that's 12, and under kind of you know age. But as they, you know now, i'm. I'm these grandchildren are moving in to that 12 to 1812 didn't. You know what happened. What are you doing with them now?

 

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James Hughes: Well, we are

 

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James Hughes: like all families having it more difficult to get together because again of geographic dispersion.

 

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James Hughes: On the other hand.

 

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James Hughes: Zoom, what we're essentially using today

 

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James Hughes: is the best thing

 

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James Hughes: for families ever invented.

 

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James Hughes: Now, it's not nice what i'm about to say, but the family member who says.

 

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James Hughes: Oh, you know it. It's just too hard to get there. I'd love to come, I love you, but it's just too hard to get. There is dead on arrival with Zoom.

 

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James Hughes: You're stuck.

 

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James Hughes: You cannot say that you're not looking in your device 10 times a day, and that you don't have an hour or 2 h

 

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James Hughes: when you it to be on zoom.

 

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Yeah.

 

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James Hughes: So what we're doing is, we are not waiting for the next wedding hopefully, not a funeral.

 

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James Hughes: We're not waiting till there's some large assembly.

 

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James Hughes: What we're doing is using zoom

 

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James Hughes: on a continuing basis every 3 or 4 years to convene the group and do the same thing.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Okay.

 

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James Hughes: now.

 

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James Hughes: lots of people still Haven't: I'm: I'm. Surprised about this, Michael, but they really haven't understood how powerful zoom is for getting rid of geography.

 

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James Hughes: So everybody understands. Zoom is a communication advance.

 

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James Hughes: But it's really.

 

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James Hughes: I think you'd agree just on a way with geography. Look at us today. I'm an aspen you're in Rochester. I assume Christine is in Rochester who who's helping us, but

 

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James Hughes: we we have no sense any longer. Thank goodness that we can't just do something together

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: because of geography. It's just gone. It's it's amazing. I was just coaching business. They're in Massachusetts. I had their leadership team and the CEO on the call with me, and when they were done they're like.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I can't believe that we did this much work, and we were this productive in a Zoom Meeting.

 

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James Hughes: And and yet. if anything. people W, what because? And there's another element to it. But I would come

 

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James Hughes: back to the philanthropy for a minute.

 

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James Hughes: The other thing that's interesting about Zoom is you can actually see everybody face to face even 30 people.

 

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James Hughes: Yeah. Whereas if you're sitting around the table, you can't see 10 of them.

 

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James Hughes: Oh, that's right. Oh, no! This isn't that this is.

 

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James Hughes: Listen to all the so. The answer to your question is that.

 

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James Hughes: regardless of age.

 

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James Hughes: this process can be repeated. I wouldn't say it every year. I don't think so. But maybe every serve 4 years.

 

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James Hughes: It can be repeated.

 

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James Hughes: You are getting deeper experience of the oldest ones.

 

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James Hughes: The youngest ones are are not only participating. They're watching the older ones. They're getting a a shared experience.

 

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James Hughes: Now, I am not suggesting that zoom

 

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James Hughes: It isn't is perfect. No face to face when it's a

 

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James Hughes: possible great. But what I'm really saying is don't wait

 

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James Hughes: to the to the grandparents that we're talking to today. Don't. Wait

 

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James Hughes: now, one more piece that we haven't really covered. Quite this much is

 

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James Hughes: the grandparents opportunity to to tell stories

 

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James Hughes: stories of philanthropy that the grandparents have participated in

 

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James Hughes: particularly age appropriate stories of what they did as children or teenagers themselves with their parents and grandparents. It's a wonderful way to tell stories.

 

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James Hughes: and and then and also it gives the grandchildren a sense. Gosh. Grandpa was 10 years old sometime. really.

 

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James Hughes: but you know you know me. It's 60. You're going to always over 10.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, it's very powerful.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And and and then there's that connection piece, too. We connect through story at a different level. I remember sitting with my wife's

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: my wife's father.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and he had a really interesting business, and the way before me, you know, they he sold it when he was in his forties, and so I would just ask questions, because I You know I'm very curious, and and I learned things that she had never known.

 

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James Hughes: and she's like, how did you know that about my father? Oh, well, I I just asked.

 

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James Hughes: Well, you were curious, which is a great gift to him. But

 

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James Hughes: so this these exchanges are incredibly important to knowing who one is.

 

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James Hughes: So

 

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James Hughes: I just find that this idea, very simple idea doesn't require a lot of money. Doesn't require a lot of

 

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James Hughes: organization.

 

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James Hughes: It just requires an invitation

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: right when you're talking. Let me go back to the grant. You know your

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: conversation, the question you asked them to get to see, to open their curiosity, to open up their thinking. What was that question again?

 

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James Hughes: What would you like to do for someone else?

 

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James Hughes: And what would you do? And the second question is, oh, that's very interesting. What will you do about it?

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Hmm.

 

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James Hughes: Because we all know that the best of intentions

 

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James Hughes: don't get much done.

 

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James Hughes: so it's important. If I could put it this way, and I often

 

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James Hughes: talk to my all age clients about this, they will come and say, oh, J. I. I have a great idea.

 

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James Hughes: Okay.

 

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James Hughes: So we play a little bit with it, and I say so. You have an aspiration which has the word spirit in it. You notice that aspiration. and then I say, Well, if you have an aspiration, you're bursting a dream.

 

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James Hughes: Does it inspire you?

 

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James Hughes: That's an interesting question. because we all dream every night. We have aspirations, but do they inspire us so now? It's still spirit in spirit.

 

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James Hughes: And then, of course, for anything good to get done. There has to be a lot of perspiration.

 

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James Hughes: So

 

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James Hughes: just having the aspiration that's good

 

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James Hughes: good to think about others and and be connected. The inspiration is, I want to do something. I want to make a gift.

 

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James Hughes: and then the perspiration is going out and figuring it out

 

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James Hughes: and then doing it. So this is. you know this is these are basic things, Michael. There's nothing the peculiar about this. There's nothing

 

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James Hughes: technical about it. Now that that's the that's the beautiful part about it. It's very simple, just even at that level alone. It doesn't mean that families couldn't take it to another level, and I I I think I have some questions. Of course.

 

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James Hughes: when through the years of doing this, when you introduce this to other families.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: do you have any favorite stories of what you've heard from other families through the years.

 

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James Hughes: Well take it from the grandparents side from the Mol first, and because the

 

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James Hughes: my favorite stories, and there there are numerous of them is when usually the grandmother thinks this is a good idea.

 

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James Hughes: and the grandfather says he's never heard of it. He doesn't really know. Was it really seriously about you? Well, I do look like we. Okay.

 

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James Hughes: So

 

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what

 

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James Hughes: a story. darling Grandfather, are you going to tell.

 

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James Hughes: I don't know. What do they want to know about me, you know, 60 years old. and then I would say, coaching

 

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James Hughes: your grandchildren want to know, i'm repeating my said and before, but on purpose whether you were over 10 years old.

 

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James Hughes: Come on. really.

 

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James Hughes: Michael, I cannot tell you the extraordinary energy

 

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James Hughes: I love. That

 

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James Hughes: comes when the grandfather and the grandmother are telling the grandchildren about something. Let's say that it's important in their lives. When they were let's say 1011, 12 years old.

 

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James Hughes: That happens over and over and over again.

 

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James Hughes: I think the from the standpoint of the grandchildren, or grand nephews and nieces. I I I see that first cousin group of a a unit

 

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James Hughes: watching them watch each other.

 

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James Hughes: and very often i'm privileged. I am privileged in the sense that some that i'm sometimes

 

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James Hughes: there in the background.

 

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James Hughes: because people are a little anxious. You really sure about this? You know they're a little anxious

 

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James Hughes: watching the grandchildren look at each other as they're talking.

 

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James Hughes: They will never not know sorry, but they they they! They will never not know that sibling that grandchild, that first cousin

 

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James Hughes: the way they did before that person makes his or her presentation.

 

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James Hughes: That's every time it happens every time

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: so powerful.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and I and I I love that you're doing this with them. And so you do get all of that joy yourself, and I I didn't catch that part as I read the paper. So i'm so glad that I that we're having this conversation.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And and I think the grandmother that I was talking about, and the and the grandfather is gonna be like Michael. Why did you get away? You robbed me of that person, of course. What?

 

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James Hughes: Really? Yeah.

 

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James Hughes: you know, Sure. But you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: when so one of the things in the paper that you talk about is as you have older children you talk about, and a an investment or administrative committee for the philanthropy

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Can you share? You know. What are your thoughts on that? What is? Help me to understand what that means we're talking about? If a family has a philanthropy themselves. Is that what you or like in the case of my client? They have a donor advised fund

 

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James Hughes: right right? Right?

 

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James Hughes: The fun of philanthropy in growing social capital in the family. So when we hear the word social capital.

 

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James Hughes: we immediately think of philanthropy external.

 

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James Hughes: that's much too narrow to understand its benefit.

 

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James Hughes: So if there's a philanthropy or Don't revise fund.

 

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James Hughes: having everyone in the room of a certain age

 

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James Hughes: helping to make decisions. But what's going to be done

 

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James Hughes: is the building of the internal social capital and joint decision making system that every family needs.

 

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James Hughes: and, unlike

 

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James Hughes: the normal decisions about the

 

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James Hughes: let's say, financial capital of that family. This is a question of expression externally.

 

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James Hughes: How do we there's a so, but the in not but and the internal benefit

 

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James Hughes: a participation in the way we're talking about

 

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James Hughes: is priceless. You're you're You're just building social capital about your own system.

 

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James Hughes: So i'm. I want to get really specific for the family businesses that are listening to this.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know, by having a it does not. It does not have to be large, but having a small donor Advise fund. You now have a family

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: philanthropy, you know you. You have a place for that. And so what you're saying is when the kids are over the age of 12.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Now, when the when the grandparents go to meet with their adviser at the at the Community Foundation, where your advice fund is they bring the grandchildren to take them along, you bet.

 

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James Hughes: or to zoom or through zoom.

 

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James Hughes: No, i'm i'm, i'm pushing that because I don't want somebody to say, oh, well, it's too far. I can't get there. I'm too busy. It isn't through anymore. Correct correct. They may be too busy because they don't want to come. That's a different question, but you can't opt out on distance.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Got it, and so now it you. The grandparents, should be looking for ways where the grandchildren are working together to make decisions about the Donor's Life Fund or the Family Philanthropy.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's okay to have conversations about investments, and it's a sure it's all part of a business compounding interest, and

 

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James Hughes: maybe

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and now again go back to those leadership skills, those communication skills, the working together, teamwork skills, the being able to speak, being able to ask for things.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: having gratitude for giving

 

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James Hughes: correct.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Well, it's just your this is, and I this. What I heard this when I th. This is what I call it is the sandbox for for for for entrepreneurship.

 

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James Hughes: Yeah, it is exactly that.

 

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James Hughes: It's exactly that. Now, Michael, I. I wanted not to throw any cold water on this, but I do want to say one thing to our

 

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James Hughes: wonderful audience.

 

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James Hughes: Inadvertently. Early on. When I did this

 

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James Hughes: I was recommending it to a family I cared a lot about, and I thought it was a slam dunk.

 

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James Hughes: and

 

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James Hughes: a month later the the matriarch called me.

 

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James Hughes: and she was in tears. and she said, Jay, we had this idea. We loved it, my husband and I wanted to gather the grandchildren.

 

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James Hughes: and she said, I didn't realize that one of my daughters in law felt

 

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James Hughes: that we had not dealt properly with her.

 

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James Hughes: not financially, but emotionally.

 

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James Hughes: So. She said to us.

 

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James Hughes: Not yet.

 

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James Hughes: So I do want to say to everybody who's listening.

 

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James Hughes: This is grounded in an invitation that you know the parents are going to be comfortable

 

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James Hughes: accepting.

 

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James Hughes: So I've left the parents out. We left about the enemies and allies of natural and allies. but we must be very conscious

 

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James Hughes: that not every family. and use this if its own internal self is not pretty intact.

 

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James Hughes: because it sounds pretty easy for the grandparents it. But I thought, Michael, before we close we ought to make sure

 

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James Hughes: that we've said, Look, just hate as my dad used to say. Hasten slowly.

 

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James Hughes: Yeah, just just be sure you that you've thought through the parents.

 

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James Hughes: not from an exclusion. But how do you include the parents? Because the parents are keen that this takes place?

 

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James Hughes: Isn't that an interesting way to look at it

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: very any.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: if perchance you think that you're going to get a warm welcome to this.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and you don't

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: count your blessings, because now you know, you have an area that we is within your family, that you have the ability to

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: take a you know, to do something about. I'm getting a

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Christine. I apologize. I'm getting a message that says my session expired in the middle of my Zoom Meeting. Please sign in if I lose this. J. I will come right back so we can wrap this up and we'll add it. But hold on.

 

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Kristina: it. Okay, it didn't. I didn't lose it. So we just edit this out, Christina. And yeah, that's fine. That's weird. Yeah, I didn't do

 

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James Hughes: has this odd thing

 

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James Hughes: depending upon what kind of zoom your account, your fuel. If you're get a free zoom, it's 40 min, and they knock you off, and we were just at 40 min. That's what we. But we have the profession, you know. Of course you do. But i'm just saying some, some, some glitch in the software okay, stay present. Okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: it when you you know, if you get that message that it's, it's not welcome. It's a gift.

 

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James Hughes: It is a gift, and it is one of the few times

 

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James Hughes: you might get essentially that queue.

 

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James Hughes: And then you say. Well, I've got some work to do

 

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James Hughes: that I didn't know I had to do, or maybe I sensed it, but

 

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James Hughes: so I was. I'm just being careful, because, frankly, I was so surprised.

 

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James Hughes: I just thought, oh, this is easy. This is fine. Everybody, you know we will. We'll go dancing out into the into the light. But

 

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James Hughes: no, not necessarily so.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I'll share my personal story, so that people understand how this works. One of the reasons that i'm so passionate about this work is because of my own family.

 

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James Hughes: Hmm.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Having gone through a divorce.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and my oldest was 16 at the time. and she was very upset about the divorce, and I totally understand

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: very unaccepting of her stepmother. When we got when I got remarried. and it wasn't a fit, and she made it very

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: well known that she didn't really want anything to do with us. and then she got married.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and you know, shortly thereafter, and I didn't. I was walking on LED shelves, My, my, you know, and egg shells, and we did this dance for way too long.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: so afraid to to say this.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: But I i'm going to just be. you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: up front about it. It was I. Last summer

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: we had the conversation. I entered the danger with my daughter, and I said.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I know we have a relationship

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that's unhealthy.

 

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James Hughes: Yes.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I'd like to fix that. And the only way that I know to fix that is to listen to you, and I need you to know that i'm not going to judge anything that you say

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I need to hear it the way you feel it.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and then we'll see where we can go, and we both had a cry. She shared some of the things that were.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: He was feeling, and it was real simple. At the end of the day it was, you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: though she pushed away. She really would have liked it if we pulled her in.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Of course we missed this. It was just the that it was so simple. So we've we've done some meetings with the therapist meeting changed everything, and we have committed to the next 17 years, being a 1,000 times better than the last

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: works. But you know just I needed to enter the danger, and it was scary to do that.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Giving her the space to listen meant a lot. So go back to. You know we want more from our grandchildren's conversations than

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: fine.

 

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James Hughes: good, exactly, or like like like No, please don't give me the likes doing this work, you know, and asking those good questions and pulling that together really avoids those things. So you actually building

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: relationships at a level that will be very, very powerful.

 

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James Hughes: I think so.

 

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James Hughes: What was to pick up on that? And then

 

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James Hughes: perhaps we've done what we wanted to do today? I would say to our wonderful community Listening

 

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James Hughes: families die not from heat.

 

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James Hughes: from fission. They die from inertia cool. In this universe there are 3 4 horses fission, too much heat. just like Goldilocks and the porridge

 

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James Hughes: inertia too much cold, just like Goldilocks

 

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James Hughes: and fusion one plus one makes 3.

 

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James Hughes: That's the mystery of our universe, and it's the porridge. Just right

 

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James Hughes: vision. I'm saying it the second time on purpose is not the way most families at

 

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James Hughes: most families, and by inertia it's just too hard to get together. It's just too hard. It's just too hard. You feel the call

 

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James Hughes: this way of thinking that you've initiated so beautifully today, Michael, for our

 

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James Hughes: audience

 

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James Hughes: is the antidote to cold.

 

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Yeah.

 

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James Hughes: get some heat in that's controlled heat.

 

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James Hughes: and guess what you get fusion. One plus one makes 3 the miracle of our universe.

 

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James Hughes: So this is not a fantasy. It's not perfect.

 

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James Hughes: You. You do need to look at the system and say, hey, we are we okay? Can we can. We do this? But I can assure people, if you've done that work carefully. Look the system. Say, okay, yes, I think we can. Parents are it. Say, Gee! We'd love to come. No, you're not welcome. But that's okay. We trust you in the right sense.

 

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James Hughes: You're going to be bringing the kind of heat. That's gentle. That's warm. That's constructive. And you're helping other people

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: right.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And you know one of the

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: one of the things that I've learned about giving is that

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: when we, when we entertain the active giving, when we go through that moment and give something away.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: especially.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know, if it was something that we earned ourselves there. There might be some form of matching that you might some of the kids. Maybe we want them to. Absolutely sure. Why not? Of course, when we are able to give it away.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that allows our brain to think from a wealth

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: perspective, to think from a growth perspective, to know that there's more available because all I have to do is, you know, if I if I can give it away and have gratitude and giving that makes me wealthy in in in mindset.

 

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James Hughes: App.

 

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James Hughes: Your heart grows. Yeah. So yes, I they that's

 

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James Hughes: That's what this is all about.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. I love it. Jay. I I thank you so much for your time, and and sharing the stories, and and and diving into the white paper to, you know, to give it a little bit more meat on the bones, so to, so to speak.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and I cannot wait to share this with

 

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James Hughes: every family that I meet. Well, I think people are going to have some fun.

 

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James Hughes: Some good things are gonna happen, and Michael is always our partnership is so meaningful to me or wonderful partner, and bringing these kinds of ideas forward as a

 

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James Hughes: it's a blessing for both of us. So thank you very much. And Christina, who helped us. Thank you, too. Thank you, Michael.

 

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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Thank you. Everybody for listening. This is then the family business show. I'm Michael Columbus with family welcome legacy in Rochester, New York, and we look forward to having you on the next episode. Take care of everybody.

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 producer@thefamilybizshow.com 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.

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