The Great Wealth Transfer is underway. More than 10,000 baby boomers (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) are turning 65 every day, and over the next 20 to 30 years trillions of dollars’ worth of wealth will transfer to their children. It will cause some changes for everyone.
The baby boomer generation holds the overwhelming majority of wealth in the United States alone. Exact estimates vary widely. Some sources estimate that the boomers hold roughly $15 trillion in assets. Others put the number close to $59 trillion or even $68 trillion. Whatever the amount, how does one ensure that their values transfer with their wealth? Jean Sung of JP Morgan Chase’s Private Bank is a good guide to ask, as I did when we sat down on The Caring Economy.
While helping families articulate their philanthropic vision, Sung has made it her mission to create structure around solving societal challenges with her clients, across generations.
She views philanthropy as a family affair. The high net-worth families that she has worked with through the years appreciate the need to transfer wealth and values.
Sung’s remarkable career has been defined by her commitment to responding and advising on structured solutions around complicated challenges facing the world, and inspiring others to rally around those causes. She helps families and businesses find the right partner to deploy resources that can then realize the impact from conception to implementation as one unified family.
Sung managed corporate giving for JP Morgan Chase from 2006 to 2013 in 13 Asian countries and in this role, she developed and implemented programmes and services that are designed to improve livelihoods and skills at work, with a focus on economic and workforce development, financial empowerment, education, health and disaster relief. She was also responsible for setting up JP Morgan Private Bank’s philanthropy centre in Asia.
In Asia, more than 80 percent of businesses are owned by individuals or their families, so corporate responsibility and philanthropy are on the rise. Sung helps families leverage their increase of wealth to help increase of social capital. Of particular interest to me during our conversation:
Learn, Earn and Return: Sung believes that everyone has the DNA for philanthropy whatever their station in life. As she learned from her parents: “What you learn should help you to earn, and what you earn you should return in part to others.” Families matter: “Philanthropy is a multibillion-dollar concern,” she says.
“It changes lives and shapes destinies at an individual, regional, and global level. Given its scale and potential impact, families and corporations have also recognised the need for their philanthropic giving to be effectively managed; properly implemented and be fully evaluated and accounted for.”
Seek the silver linings: For Sung, one silver lining with the pandemic has been a return to caring. As she says: “I feel that with Covid we’ve actually gotten back in a sense . . . You know, we are not on our own and we cannot survive on our own. We need this community spirit, to think about the common good. So it’s an exciting time for me in a way because I meet with so many people whose first question is, ‘How do I give back?’”
Have faith: Faith has been a constant in Sung’s life as well as in family philanthropy. She notes: “Faith is very important; there is a creator. Faith plays an important role in my life but also in the philanthropy of others. If I look at the global programmes in giving by people of all kinds, a majority of it is faith-based and I think, regardless of which faith or denomination you believe in, the same virtue holds true– the value of loving each other and caring for each other.”