Dan Ariely ponders what makes a good gift?

The reason it is posted here, as we shall see, is the answers touch on my job as the leader of a Family Office. According to Dan, what makes a good gift places emphasis on real value,
not so much on price. I often say, “The most valuable things in Life cannot be taken away.” For example, Dan writes, “Good gifts should be experiences and not things. Good gifts should be memorable. Good gifts should increase the social bond between the giver and the receiver.”

My job as the leader of a Family Office, broadly speaking, is divided into objective and subjective elements. For example, once the objective elements are delegated – think of asset allocation, manager searches, TW & E, accounting and reporting – what is left is really valuable, subjective and memorable – think of your Family Mission Statement and legacy. 

These subjective elements form the foundation of your 100-Year Financial Plan, (reference James E. Hughes book, Family Wealth: Keeping  It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations, Bloomberg Press; 2004). The next time you get someone you love a gift remember to make it memorable.


Birthday Gifts

My 50th is getting closer and closer (April 29th) and because a few people have asked me over the past few days what I want for my birthday, I am walking while wondering about what makes a good gift.  There are a few obvious ways to think about good gifts.  Good gifts should be experiences and not things. Good gifts should be memorable. Good gifts should be unique.  Good gifts should increase the social bond between the giver and the receiver.  Go
od gifts are things that the receiver wants, but is not willing to buy for themselves. Good gifts are things that would make the receiver happy, but they don’t realize that it will.

But what are some good examples of good gifts? Headphones, Pens? Culinary classes?  I would love to get examples of good gifts that you either gave or received.

And what gifts did I ask from my friends this year?  I asked them not to give me anything, but I also told them that if they feel that they have to give me something, I want a copy of one of their favorite book, with an explanation why they love this book so much. And I am looking forward to having this shelf of books and reading it over the next few years.

Until next time, Richard Gayton

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