Family Fortunes

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May 27, 2021 - Matt Hughes

Family Fortunes was a British television game show which first aired in 1980 and ran for over twenty years. It was such a beloved and popular show that it was revived last year, this time bringing in a range of celebrity guests.

The game involves two families providing answers to everyday questions that were surveyed by 100 members of the British public before the show (e.g., ‘Name something usually done in the dark.’) to win cash prizes. The more rounds of questions won, the further a family went on in the contest, moving up to ‘Double Money’ and ‘Big Money’ levels.

The idea of a family fortune is something that could be applied much more in financial planning. The concept of providing broad family, cross-generational advice is one many advisers warmly welcome and could go some way to solving some of the challenges individual family members may face.

But the opportunity to explore the broader family financial picture and provide solutions to fundamental problems is rare. It is the one thing that every adviser would like to provide for a family, but it is difficult to achieve and for all sorts of reasons. Cross-generational differences of attitudes towards money and saving can be challenging, as can sibling rivalry and lack of family dynastic thinking. Many of these issues are not culturally embedded in modern day family financial thinking, and the sight of an entire family working together, like on Family Fortunes, is extremely rare.

For those who have inherited family wealth, the preservation of capital for future generations can be a very straightforward conversation. For others, the answer lies in education; understanding how financial structures such as inheritance tax planning and trusts can work better, and how they relate on a personal level to provide a better family fortune.

Trusts are one way that money can be gifted to a family member but with restrictions, such as how it is invested and deciding an age when the recipient can access that wealth. It can also be as simple as taking a fresh approach to everyday financial products. Many people don’t know that you can open and invest into a pension for a child: money invested for 60 years has a tremendous opportunity for growth and could mean an entirely different outcome for their retirement.

Traditionally, wealth is passed on after death and for good reason as there may be a need for money to provide for care in later years. However, understanding the opportunities available over the years can shape that process. Small changes, such as an early investment or sharing a property purchase, can lead to an entirely different trajectory later down the line in terms of collective family wealth. For some people, providing carefully planned financial stepping stones over the years is preferable to leaving a lump sum on death.

Including discussions with your financial adviser about the wider family needs, in a way which could go beyond the interests of any single individual, might require a change of approach. However, when the financial benefits can be seen collectively, cross-generational based financial advice will become more commonplace in the future.

Our team of independent financial advisers are available to help at any stage of your financial journey. To find out more about how we can help you, call Furnley House on 0116 269 6311 or email


Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested.