If you needed some extra help with your genealogy research, where would you go? You might consider seeking out a local genealogy group, or hiring a professional genealogist. What about a bank? That may seek far fetched, unless the bank happens to be Wells Fargo.
Big banks have started delving into genealogy. People who are employed as family financial advisors are another group that could be working on the genealogy research for a client’s family. It may sound strange, since banking and genealogy are not fields that people would automatically think of as pairing together nicely.
The main reason why banks and advisors are taking an interest in the genealogy of their clients has to do with money. Accountants and family financial advisors are hoping that their efforts to dig into a client’s family history, family tree, and genealogy, will help ward off “third generation syndrome”.
What is that? The phrase describes a phenomena that happens in wealthy families. One generation becomes extremely successful, for whatever reason, and accrues a lot of money. That wealth is passed down to their children – the second generation. Those children have at least some awareness of the hard work it took for their parents to make all that money.
The second generation grows up with an understanding that “money doesn’t grow on trees”. As adults, they might be the ones who are investing some of their family’s wealth in order for it to grow. They put money into savings accounts.
The third generation grew up in a family that had plenty of money. They may have been told about the struggles their grandparents went through to in order to become wealthy. But, since they don’t have first hand experience of going from poor to rich, it doesn’t end up meaning that much to them.
As a result, the third generation tends to be the ones the blow the family’s fortune. Financial advisors are attempting to use genealogy as a way to help the third generation connect with their ancestors. That connection could help a family to hold onto their wealth.
Banks like Wells Fargo employ a similar technique. They have employees who work in the bank’s family history center do some genealogy research on the family of a perspective client. When they present that information to the client, the family often feels that the bank really does care about getting to know them and their goals.
The genealogy information is presented like a personal museum that showcases a family’s history. Seeing photos of, and hearing stories about, the ancestors who made the family fortune can make younger generations feel a connection to those who came before. It can also make a wealthy client choose to bank with Wells Fargo.
Image by Mike Mozart on Flickr.
Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:< Return To Blog