Are You a Family Steward?

Years ago I was doing some research on the different types of investors. I came across a type known as The Family Steward. This has always struck me as odd. I thought to myself isn’t everyone a family steward? I guess the answer is no. Who knew?

What does it mean to be a family steward?

 Stew·ard [stoo-erd, styoo-]


1.   A person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another.

2.  A person who has charge of the household of another, buying or obtaining food, directing the servants, etc.

3.  An employee who has charge of the table, wine, servants, etc., in a club, restaurant, or the like.

4.  A person appointed by an organization or group to supervise the affairs of that group at certain functions.

 Verb (used with object)

  1. To act as steward of; manage.

What does the term stewardship mean?

Stew·ard·ship /ˈstuərdʃɪp, ˈstyu-/ [stoo-erd-ship, styoo-]


1.the position and duties of a steward, a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate, etc.

2. The responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving: New regulatory changes will result in better stewardship of lands that are crucial for open space and wildlife habitat.

I wrote not too long ago on ways to help maximize your charitable giving. Now that to me is what stewardship is really about; safeguarding your assets, your investments, your treasures in order to give. We do this in order to give; to give to your family, to those less fortunate and to make life better for someone else. There is no better joy than the joy that comes when you give from your heart. You can give your time, not just your money and worldly goods.

When talking with some friends recently…OK! maybe it was more like fantasizing… I asked them what would you do if you won the lottery? We were in fact thinking about the mega millions. I was surprised how many didn’t really have a strategy. It’s something I have actually given some thought to. I would develop a series of endowments or foundations and gift a big chunk to each one. I would appoint a board of directors of which I would be the chairman. I would then go out to my circle of family and friends and find young adults to run each of the foundations. They would earn a salary and their job would be to find charities of their choosing to support.

Once the cause was identified they would have to present their best case to the board for approval. Part of the process is for the board to travel to see them in action, experience, investigate and research the cause, their mission and their work. My husband and I love to travel so part of our job would be to travel the world exploring the causes and their good deeds. Now that is a plan for Stewardship don’t you think?

So God… I’m asking here… send me a sign…any sign…so that I can guess the winning numbers!  I’ll even buy the ticket! That’s the thing about the lottery. I may not have won the last one but there is always tomorrow.

So what are your thoughts on Stewardship? Would you consider yourself a family steward?

I’ve always thought that financial planning fits hand in hand with being a family steward. Do the most you can with what you have.

About Mary Jo Lyons

Mary Jo Lyons, CFP® is a registered assitant with extensive expertise in designing financial strategies to help clients achieve their financial goals. Have a financial question? ASK MARY JO!


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