EDITOR’S LETTER

This issue brings together two subjects central to Worth: family and wealth. Individually, each is hard to do well, but after working on this issue, I’m convinced that they are harder to do together. No one will ever cry for a rich man when he laments the burdens of wealth, and no one should. But there’s no question that adding large sums of money to the emotional cauldron of any family creates a combustible mixture.

Consider, for example, the challenges of running a family business (“Family Practice,” p. 38). The folks who’ve done it successfully have derived huge satisfaction from partnering with parents and other relatives. Yet family businesses are a risky, sometimes painful proposition. “My father treated me tougher than he would any other employee,” Elisabetta Fabri, the CEO of Starhotels, tells Worth. Her brother, she adds, “was not able to weather the storm.” Tough stuff.

And that’s from a success story. Imagine how difficult it must be for Chris and Tory Burch, who as a married couple built fashion firm Tory Burch, but as a divorced couple have been yanking at the business as if it were a child in a custody fight (“Timeline: Chris and Tory Burch,” p. 36).

The challenge of building an enduring, successful family is particularly hard in the United States, where we romanticize the individual at the expense of the family. We revere the lone entrepreneur, the rebel businessperson, the self-made man; we don’t really respect the caretakers of family traditions, pride and commerce. That’s unfortunate, because a wealthy family with a commitment to public service and philanthropy can be a powerful force for good (“The 10 Things Families Fight About,” p. 62).

A personal note: Some of my thoughts on this subject come from my own life. I started writing this letter on the fourth anniversary of the death of my father, who was also a magazine editor. So, in a way, I am partaking in the family business. In addition, two months ago my wife and I welcomed a son, Griffin Lincoln Bradley. Would I want him to continue in my line of work? Well, he’s got some time to make up his mind. I’m happy to help either way.

Richard Bradley

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