In establishing a family office, a wealthy individual typically hires an asset manager to safeguard his wealth and an attorney to draft a family constitution, but how often does he undergo a thorough evaluation of his health and the health of his wife and children? This is even more salient when it comes to a large family of wealth and prominence, in which there may be two or more generations of beneficiaries of that family’s fortune. And yet, as I often like to say, the first wealth, which needs safeguarding, is health. Neglect your health, or your family’s health, and that way perdition lies.
At Addcounsel we have developed bespoke treatment programs for behavioural disorders that go beyond the standard one-month residential program whereby therapy is the norm. Instead, our patients are treated by a team of medically qualified practitioners in a private residential context in London’s Mayfair district, close to our headquarters. They also receive a full course of aftercare that is rarely available to those who take part in more traditional residential programs. Of course, such an intense, focused program of treatment, tailored to an individual’s needs, costs more than the average stay at Cottonwood Tucson or the Priory in London. But for a wealthy family anxious to avoid dissipating its assets, safeguarding the health of family members must be the paramount concern.
Whether our patients are suffering from behavioural disorders such as alcohol and drug dependency, eating disorders and gambling addiction, or from mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, we treat the whole person and not just specific symptoms.
Rather than simply follow a conventional approach to medical treatment, we at Addcounsel prefer a holistic approach. Sometimes this goes by the name of “integrative medicine”. For dysfunctions to be reversed and for general wellbeing to be restored, it is necessary to treat the whole person and not just the symptoms of chronic disease. And we know that our patterns of living can have a profound effect on the body’s ability to function correctly.
Also, encouraging proper nutrition is a vital part of the process. Gut health and hormone health are particularly important because many diseases are the result of homeostatic disruption and chronic inflammation. An unhealthy microbiome of the gut, for instance, can exacerbate eating disorders. In much the same way, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might be behind gaming addiction
and gambling behavioural disorders
The effects of divorce or absenteeism of parents on the developmental growth of their children can be enormous. It is no exaggeration to say that for some children the divorce of their parents, especially when it is acrimonious, can prove traumatic. Increasingly, it is being recognized that Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is linked with behavioural disorders such as alcohol and substance abuse disorder.
Are you prepared to invest in the behavioural health of your family and are you approaching this in a strategic way? In a middle-class family, each person will most probably have life assurance and private health insurance. If things go wrong, they’re covered. Similarly, a key man in a business organization will go for an annual check-up as part of a drive to prevention. A wealthy family, perhaps spread over three generations or more, and based in different countries around the world, is a complex organism. Any challenge to the behavioural health of a family member has the potential to corrode wealth.
How can the family be educated to better look after themselves in a way that is proactive rather than reactive? A family constitution has a well-trailed place in your armory, but what about a family health assessment?
Behavioural health problems need to be examined carefully and all treatments delivered appropriately. Persons in their sixties or seventies might tend to think about their health only in response to being ill, whereas recent generations may favor a more preventative approach. The same applies to mental and behavioural health as applies o physical health. Treat the person, not just the symptoms.
A few years ago I decided to confront my own demons. During the course of a long and successful career spent building up a recruitment business in the UK, I had become addicted to alcohol and cocaine, entangled in a web of overwork to the detriment of my family, and threatened by the prospect of executive burnout. With the support of my wife, who nonetheless insisted that I had to do this for myself rather than use her and our children as an emotional crutch, I became a recovering addict. And when the opportunity arose to sell my business for a substantial fortune in what is sometimes called an extreme liquidity event, I decided that my next entrepreneurial idea would be to build a healthcare business that services the needs of cash-rich, time-poor entrepreneurs and their families.
I have never regretted my own decision to address my behavioural health problems, but I now wish I could have benefited from the kind of holistic approach to such problems as is offered by Addcounsel with its Behavioural Wealth
Chances are that in any reasonably sized family there will be members experiencing mental and behavioural health problems. Sometimes these will be hidden or masked by behaviors that seem normal. For example, we all know how easy it is for a social drinker to slip into an addiction almost unnoticed.
When members of a wealthy family are numerous, diverse and geographically dispersed, the problem of identifying disorders may prove all the more difficult. How will the family organize and manage an intervention if such is felt to be required? Indeed, the wealthy are perhaps more vulnerable to mental health and addiction disorders because their families and servants can sometimes become “enablers”. Domestic staff, attorneys, and bankers can keep the show on the road while the family member is indulged or permitted to leave their problems unaddressed. After all, it is hard to challenge the whims of the person who provides your paycheck, whether directly or indirectly. A driven entrepreneur at the head of a family is not inclined to take no for an answer.
For an average fee of £45,000 a week, clients receive a bespoke, one-to-one counselling and treatment plan for addiction and many other mental health and behavioural disorders. Addcounsel guarantees total privacy for its patients –something which cannot always be said about rehab centers. We deal with no more than three clients at a time and they will never meet one another. They are accommodated in large houses and apartments in London’s prestigious Mayfair, Belgravia and Chelsea districts, and the fee for their treatment covers 24-hour medical care, Psychiatrically led detox in a private facility where necessary, and a team of specialists including a nutritionist and chef.
Once again I ask the question: if you are prepared to establish a family office and directly employ attorneys and asset managers to steward a fortune, why not adopt a similar approach when it comes to health by commissioning a thorough examination of your family’s health assets and devising a program for the maintenance of their behavioural health?