The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: When to Shift Focus from Wealth Generation to Wealth Preservation

As wealth managers, we often encounter entrepreneurs passionately re-investing in their own businesses, driven by the belief that nothing else can provide comparable returns. This intense focus on wealth generation is commendable but comes with its risks, especially when unexpected events arise. The crux of the entrepreneur’s dilemma is determining the optimal juncture at which to begin diversifying their investments and focus on wealth preservation.

Recognizing the Signs of Over-Investment in One’s Business

For many entrepreneurs, their business is not just a source of income but a part of their identity. This deep personal connection can sometimes cloud judgment, leading to excessive financial risk-taking. Entrepreneurs often fail to recognize the inherent concentration risk—a single downturn or market shift can jeopardize not just the business but their entire financial well-being.

The Risk of Wealth Concentration

The statistics are sobering: approximately 70% of family wealth dissipates by the second generation, primarily due to mismanagement and poor investment decisions​​. Entrepreneurs fixated on wealth generation often overlook this, neglecting the need for a robust strategy that includes wealth preservation.

Diversification: A Necessary Strategy for Sustainable Wealth

The principle of diversification is not just a precaution; it’s a strategy for sustainability. Diversifying investments beyond the entrepreneur’s own business can protect against unforeseen economic shifts and personal misfortunes that might otherwise lead to significant financial loss. This strategy is about preparing for the worst while hoping for the best, ensuring that personal wealth can withstand the tests of volatility and time.

Integrating Wealth Protection Mechanisms

Trusts, for instance, offer a viable solution for entrepreneurs looking to safeguard their assets. These legal structures provide a blend of control, protection, and flexibility, allowing for strategic estate planning and asset protection that can be tailored to personal and family needs​​.


For entrepreneurs, the transition from wealth generation to wealth preservation requires a paradigm shift—a move from reinvesting almost exclusively in their business to embracing a broader, more secure investment strategy. This strategy should incorporate vehicles like trusts and diversified portfolios that not only protect but also potentially grow their wealth in a stable, controlled manner.

Understanding when to make this shift can ensure that the wealth generated is not only retained but also positioned to benefit future generations, making the difference between a fleeting fortune and a lasting legacy.

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