Barbara R. Hauser is an internationally recognized advisor to global families, a field she entered after working for years as a lawyer representing wealthy clients.
“We did a lot of gifts and trusts for children, and I could see that many parents were worried about letting the children know that there was a lot of money,” she said. “When a topic is ‘forbidden’ it scares and confuses children--which results in their having emotional issues around money.”
Wanting to be part of the solution, over the years Hauser would counsel her clients on how to handle questions about money. She found herself sharing the same advice over and over again and eventually started writing things down.
Before long, the tips she had developed formed the basis for Mommy Are We Rich? Talking to Children About Family Money, a guidebook for parents on how and when to say what to children about money.
Hauser co-authored the book with fellow family advisor Suzy Peterfriend. She specializes in working with high profile American families, as well as those who have relocated to the United States from other countries and still have a global presence. Her interest in this area expanded when two matriarchs she worked with lost their husbands and became instant CEOs of international businesses. Peterfriend helped them educate the next generation on best business practices and developed a mission statement for the families on their philanthropic endeavors.
“When it comes to family dynamics, the most often asked question I get concerns money and what to tell the children,” said Peterfriend. “Too often, the feeling of uncertainty leads to lack of communication. Children sense the concern and it is confusing. My hope is that this book will serve as a resource for starting the conversation.”
Mommy Are We Rich? Talking to Children About Family Money is not the only collaboration for Hauser and Peterfriend. They co-founded the Family Advisory Council, which since 1996 has provided family members and their advisors with a way to have confidential discussions in a private and secure setting.
The Council was nominated in 2005 for “Family Group of the Year” by the High Net Worth Industry Awards Program, and continues to meet in New York.