“Connecting with the human side” - Susan Schoenfeld
FROM ESTATE PLANNING ADVISOR TO THOUGHT PARTNER
Susan’s decision to switch from being a successful estate planning attorney and CPA to becoming a trusted family advisor and thought partner was inspired by families of wealth asking her searching questions beyond estate tax planning. These were questions related to the human issues, or the “soft side” of wealth, like ‘How do other wealthy families raise their children to be productive, contributing members of society?’, ‘How do I prepare them to be responsible stewards?’, ‘When to transfer wealth to them, and when and how to discuss it with them?’. And the list goes on. This inspired her to become a “thought partner” to these families, addressing the more human side of wealth-related issues.
“What I am doing today is the culmination of all my different experiences over the course of my career. It combines all of my education, experience, talent and compassion for the families I serve. I feel like I am doing exactly what I should be doing and am extremely passionate about it.”
AUTHOR & AWARD-WINNING THOUGHT LEADER
Susan has been writing her whole career. She has written about the technical aspects of legacy planning and more recently, she writes about the human issues which surround families of wealth. She has been published in prominent industry magazines and has contributed a chapter to the book Trusts in Prime Jurisdictions, her part being titled “Fiduciary responsibility: the trustee role and its risks”. At the Family Wealth Report Awards 2018, Susan was awarded ‘Best Thought Leadership — Individual’.
SPEAKER — IT’S ALL ABOUT CONNECTING WITH THE HUMAN SIDE
As a conflict-free advisor who provides no investment, tax or legal advice and sells no product, Susan shares her insights directly with wealthy families and with financial services experts. She is active as a keynote speaker and a leader of break-out sessions and workshops at conferences throughout the US.
“Through speaking I can contribute to changing the industry from focusing solely on product and performance to focusing more on the softer, human side of the issues that keep wealthy families up at night.”
She provides valuable insight to financial services experts, giving them a competitive advantage, to win, better serve, and therefore retain clients.
Her main message in her speeches to families, is that the answer to most of the human issues can be found in communication, not in control.
“Moving forward, I’ll be focusing more on speaking to families and their advisors. In this capacity, I can inspire more people and have a bigger impact.”
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