The Disadvantages of Conflict in Wealthy Families - Blair Trippe

Point of View
2 min readJan 19, 2021
Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash

“Conflict cannot be ‘resolved;’ conflict must be managed.”

Blair Trippe, an accomplished advisor for families of wealth, recognizes that families are not always peaceful. Many things cause conflict amongst families, such as difference of opinions or beliefs. While no families are exempt from this friction, families of wealth may be at a greater disadvantage in restoring familial harmony.

“Differences always exist between individuals; any time individuals interact, they will be doing so in the context of those differences. Family members are interdependent with each other — in some families more than in others — increasing opportunities for individuals with different values and goals to interact. The larger and more connected the family is, the greater the complexity, which makes conflict management more challenging.

“Add to this a family business or shared family wealth and property, and the level of interdependence skyrockets, adding further complexity. When families share assets, family members often juggle several roles at the same time, which not only makes it challenging for them to manage their own motivations and concerns but also those of their siblings, parents and cousins. Conflict arises when those differences impact decision making. When this is not managed well, conflict can be easily triggered.

“Sometimes affluent families are at a disadvantage when conflict strikes. When family members grow up with wealth, they may grow up with independence rather than interdependence. Siblings who never had to fight over use of the family car in their youth, for example, may not have had the invaluable experience of managing conflict together. In later life, they may find that they are more interdependent than they were when they were younger. They may be co-beneficiaries, employees of their family enterprise, or they may share ownership of real estate. While independence in their youth helped them avoid conflict, it may also have kept them from building an important skill.”

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