Tribal welfare: identifying financial tribes and overcoming challenges in inheritance

Our recent report on inheritance, Generation Game: Financial Tribes in Family Finance*, looked at the challenges each generation faces when it comes to passing on and receiving wealth. The accompanying article highlighted the various ‘tribes’ that investors may associate with, but what exactly are these tribes and how can differing attitudes to money affect what parents leave to their loved ones?

While most people usually identify strongly with a particular tribe, we often associate with many tribes throughout our lives. Our research also shows that a considerable percentage of young adults “identify with the same financial tribe that they believe their parents belong to”. This can be positive if their parents have a conscientious financial outlook, but if not, they risk passing on potentially damaging habits to their children.


The most common attributes of different tribes include:


The Head in the Sand Avoider


- Though they know that they need to take action with their finances, they don’t feel capable of doing so.

- They’re not necessarily bad with money, but lack motivation to find out how to make what they have work harder for them.

- They find the whole concept of personal finance overwhelming.


The Self-Sufficient Saver


- Because saving is about feeling in control, safe and secure, they are organised and responsible with money and enjoy living within a budget.

- They’re good at delaying gratification and will save up over time for a big purchase.

- They will tend to be overly cautious with their finances, preferring to save rather than invest.


The Big Spender


- Adventurous by nature, they thrive on the adrenaline hit from what spending can deliver.

- Financial decisions are made based on emotions, so sometimes they spend more than they earn.

- They don’t plan for the unexpected and tend not to see the point in saving or investing.


The Lifestyle Lover


- They’re influenced by their environment, what they see on social media, and what others are buying.

- They’re happy to spend money for gratification.

- They can feel pressure to keep up with peers and this may lead to spending beyond their means or sacrificing saving for the future.


The Calculated Risk Taker


- They have a healthy appreciation of taking calculated risks to reap rewards – but as they enjoy the thrill of investing, they may be prone to taking excessive risk.

- They’re financially literate, pay close attention to their finances, set clear financial goals and plans to achieve them.

- They’re comfortable bringing in qualified people to support them, although they may be less likely to heed advice.


The Wealth Sceptic


- They find the concept of being wealthy uncomfortable but will often budget carefully.

- They do not equate money with happiness and it doesn’t feature high on the list of things they value most in life.

- They may feel conflicted if they were suddenly in possession of a large sum of money.


The Generous Giver


- Often the ‘caretaker’ in their relationships, providing emotional and financial support.

- They’re happy to share their money with loved ones and worthy causes.

- They want to help others even when doing so isn’t always in their own best interests.


Every life opportunity we face is  filtered through the lens of our unique  money personality – or ‘financial  tribe’ – but we often assume that  others think about money in the same  way that we do.

Every life opportunity we face is filtered through the lens of our unique money personality – or ‘financial tribe’ – but we often assume that others think about money in the same way that we do.

Bridging the gap


Just as there is migration between tribes during our lives, potential financial outcomes can also evolve. No behaviour is set in stone. By openly addressing – and being willing to explore – important factors around inheritance, the gaps between families can be narrowed.


Making time to communicate


When the taboo about talking about their finances is overcome, families can better address their concerns, biases and potential misunderstandings. A regular ‘money session’ might be a good idea, say every six months, where a family can discuss their financial goals and participate equally.


Listening without prejudice


When listening to the opinions and hopes of others it is sensible to put aside our own personal views. This will create an environment of transparency and allow for a greater understanding of issues which may need to be addressed.


Bringing the investment and financial world alive


Visual tools – driven by powerful technology – can help to bring our financial goals alive. As well as modelling for potentially different outcomes the right tools can also serve as an explainer and enable better decisions across generations.   


Being self-aware


Each financial tribe has their own strengths and challenges: parents may therefore need to recognise any negative behaviours and make appropriate changes so any bad habits are not passed on to their children. This will also help to ensure that older adults are in a better position to maximise their financial potential now – and for the future.


Seeking an expert opinion


Families are often the first port of call for advice, but for complex financial issues an expert adviser can offer a different perspective, help to address differences of opinion and put a framework in place to ensure an efficient transfer of wealth when the time comes. If you would benefit from a conversation about how we can help, please get in touch.



Please note, the value of your investments can go down as well as up.



* This report, Generation Game: Financial Tribes in Family Finance, uses insights from consumer research conducted by Instinctif Partners on behalf of Netwealth by Censuswide. 2,000 people were surveyed, made up of 1,000 25-35-year-olds and 1,000 parents of 25-35-year-olds with at least £50k of investible assets, who are planning on or open to transferring wealth to their children in the future. Drawing on Netwealth’s own experience, survey questions were developed and analysed with leading financial coach Emma Maslin. More information on methodology can be found on p.15 of the report.

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