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Feature Article: Are you the boss or the customer?

Are you the boss or the customer?
The inherent challenge of managing and living in your own home.
By Travis Dommert, The Lindquist Group

This article explores 10 issues often faced in passively-managed homes. As advisors to high net worth families on the efficient operation of their homes, we often encounter clients struggling to balance the need to manage their homes with the desire to enjoy living in them.  For some, a large home is simply another collection of complex assets, and a private staff is another group of employees.

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The IAPSP announces a new chapter in Chicago!

The International Association for Private Service Professionals (IAPSP) is proud and delighted to announce the inaugural meeting of its new Chicago Chapter! IAPSP member George Mandas and other Chicago metro-area private service colleagues will convene on January 24th at the Peninsula Hotel on the “Magnificent Mile” for a meet-and-greet and behind the scenes tour of one of the world’s top hotels!

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Ask an Expert: A Relational Model for Family Business

A Relational Model for Family Business

By Matt Spackman, Ph.D., Malcolm Heard, M.A., Yinka Akinyemi, M.B.A.
Reproduced with permission from Talent Plus.

From the local to global scale, family businesses play a critical role in today’s economy. They pay 62 percent of all wages in the U.S., account for 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and create 78 percent of all new jobs (Johnston, 2004). Contrary to popular assumptions, family businesses are not restricted to mom-and-pop operations. In fact, 37 percent of Fortune 500 companies are family owned, and 60 percent of publicly listed companies are family controlled (Johnston, 2004).  Family businesses do have some peculiarities that allow for challenges and opportunities which require special attention. For example, the failure of family business transfers, the “handing down” of the business to the next generation, is well documented; about 30 percent of family businesses survive to the second generation, and fewer than 13 percent survive to the third (Jurinski and Zwick, 2002).

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Inaugural IAPSP Conference, "THE SECRETS OF SERVICE" Oct. 9-11

Join your peers and IAPSP members for The Inaugural Leadership Conference for the Private Service Industry.  Fairmont Hotel, Dallas, Texas, 9-11 October 2009.

September 16, 2009 – The International Association for Private Service Professionals (IAPSP) has released the completed schedule and lineup for its inaugural conference “The Secrets of Service” 9-11 October 2009.  Executive-level domestic staff members across all disciplines of Private Service will convene in Dallas, Texas for the event that is designed as an educational, leadership and networking conference; promoting professionalism, superior management skills and service expertise.

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Buyer Tips: The Well-Appointed Kitchen

Buyer Tips:  The Well-Appointed Kitchen
By Lynn Clarke, CEO of

As cooking becomes a more popular hobby and a frequent topic at holiday parties, the two questions I’m most commonly asked, especially by men,  are “Who makes the best knife?” and “What do I really need for a gourmet kitchen?” Cocktail chatter aside, the choices are confusing and endless.   Here are my suggestions for making sure you have the best cookware, knives and other kitchen essentials that an entire family can enjoy using, and most importantly, will enjoy the results!

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Ask an Expert: Holiday Organizing Tips

Holiday Organizing Tips
By Monica Ricci, Professional Organizer, Founder of Catalyst Organizing Solutions

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some, they're the most hectic and stressful! Tame your holiday chaos and prepare for next year with the following 3 tips!

1. Wrapping It Up For The Year
If you have a small spare closet that really isn't serving you, why not convert it into a permanent gift closet and wrapping station? It will serve you whether you need a gift for a birthday, bar mitzvah, or baby shower.

Install a shelf (minimum 16" deep) about 40" off the floor to use as a wrapping and cutting surface. Above that one, install additional shelves to hold gifts, gift bags, tapes, ribbons, and scissors. Hang a wrapping paper caddy on the back of the closet door and add a small trash can for scraps, and you have a great year round wrapping station.

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Featured Partner: Classic Kids Photography

Featured on the Oprah Winfrey show, Classic Kids is a premium photography studio serving fine families in 9 cities in the U.S.   We are pleased to extend a special gift to our private staffing clients who hire a full time nanny in one of Classic Kids' markets.

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Featured Service: Best Practices in Handling Terminations

Best Practices in Handling Terminations
By Travis Dommert, The Lindquist Group

Are you prepared for an employee departure? "We've decided to let you go," or "I quit" is just the beginning of the termination process, one that can be rocky and laden with risks if you are not adequately prepared.

The average domestic employee changes jobs every two years. While we are working closely with our clients to improve that statistic, most domestic employers will at some point have to deal with the termination of an employee. Even when it is expected, transitions can be difficult and create disruption in the operation of your home and life.  Here are 8 tips for making separations as smooth as possible.

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The Advisor's Corner: Buyer Beware: Art and Collecting in a Global Economy

Buyer Beware: Art and Collecting in a Global Economy
By James P. Kane, CIC, President of HUB International Personal Insurance
Fueled by the rapid expansion of global wealth, the market for fine art and collectibles continues to climb – along with prices. The recent explosion of interest in the art and collections market creates new threats and complex challenges. This paper provides an overview of the changing state of the global collections market, describes the emerging risks, and offers advice on what the savvy collector can do to manage and reduce these increased risks.

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Ask an Expert: Security: Because the Markets Aren't Your Only Risk

Security: Because the Markets Aren't Your Only Risk
Featuring Paul Viollis, Ph.D., CEO of Risk Control Strategies
As the nation’s financial crisis makes headlines, many of your family’s more clear and present dangers may be flying under the radar. Wealth brings considerable attention and security exposure to families across the globe, and many take appropriate counter measures only after costly, disruptive, or embarrassing events unfold.

According to security expert Dr. Paul Viollis, CEO of Risk Control Strategies, a threat management and security consulting firm, “A lot of high net worth families are led to believe that security is a function of how much they spend. Quite to the contrary, true security is a function of putting countermeasures in place that specifically address the types of threats a family faces.” Dr. Viollis goes on to explain that some appropriate measures come at little or no cost, but families are often sold expensive equipment or monitoring services based on fear tactics.

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Ask an Expert: Estate Planning: Protecting Your Standard of Living

Protecting How and Where We Live Through Trusts.
By A. Kel Long, III, Estate Planning Attorney

Affluent clients often express a strong desire to remain in their home regardless of advanced age or a decline in health.  However, given the significant cost of private staff to maintain a home and provide in-home care (which may range from $50,000 to well over $500,000 per year), that desire is often at odds with their children's interest in protecting their inheritance. For clients who are intent on remaining home for as long as medically feasible, a properly drafted trust may provide the solution.

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Ask an Expert: Put it in Writing: The Value of Employment Agreements

Put it in Writing: The Value of Employment Agreements
By Robert E. King, Esq., Founder, Legally Nanny®

You’ve just hired your nanny or other household employee. You’re thrilled, she’s thrilled, and you’re in the employer-employee version of a honeymoon. You can’t imagine that anything will ever go wrong.  While in most cases, fortunately, that’s true, in other cases things can get contentious if your understanding of the details of your arrangement is somehow different than your employee’s understanding of them.

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Featured Service: Operational Assessment

An Operational Assessment can uncover retention risks and opportunities.

It is often said that people take jobs because they buy into an organization’s vision, but they leave jobs due to the relationship with their manager.  While vital, these are just two of many key factors that drive performance and retention in a business or a household.  Other key issues have to do with such meaningful factors as how well the work fits with the employee’s unique talents, what types of recognition employees receive for their achievements, what types of policies and administration govern their work, and clarity surrounding the work itself.

An Operational Assessment can not only evaluate what is working and what needs to be addressed in a household, it can also uncover risks and opportunities related to the retention of key staff.

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Advisor's Corner: Building a Talent-Based Culture

The Key to Retention: Build a Talent-Based Culture

While the media spins a future “War for Talent”, the battle for many employers, including domestic employers, has already begun.  Like corporations, households in which team members are cast in roles that leverage their natural talents and allow them to work alongside others who feel uniquely fit to their positions create a culture that can attract and retain workforces into the future.  Beyond compensation, titles, and brands, it is an attractive culture that lays the foundation for retaining talent.

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Ask an Expert: Getting Insurance for Domestic Employees

Q:  Do insurance benefits help families retain their employees?  How does a family go about setting up the insurance portion of the benefits package for their domestic employees?

A: The quick answer is YES.  Insurance is a common reason employees stay with their employer, whether it is in a domestic or commercial setting. 

The first step when setting up your insurance plan is to consider exactly what types of insurance to include in the benefits package and from whom to buy them.  Most people immediately think about medical and dental plans and begin comparing rates. 

I suggest clients think about a “totem pole” of coverages that start with covering the most likely and catastrophic needs and work their way down so they get the greatest potential return from each insurance dollar. 

Then, they should find an agent who is licensed in their state to sell the individual or small group policies they are looking for.

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Ask an Expert: Private Aviation options, by HalogenGuides

Q: With all of the new entrants into the private aviation market, how should families assess which option is right for them?

A: As a research-based authority on the private aviation market, we have published a guide that specifically addresses this question.  It first helps consumers understand what the various alternatives are and equips them with the vernacular of the industry, ranging from the types of programs that are out there to the types of aircraft involved to the costs and benefits of each model.

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Featured Partner: MedjetAssist

Making the Right Call When the Unexpected Happens

A sudden fall on a once in a lifetime trip to Turkey left MedjetAssist member Carolyn Rodgers with a fractured hip and in need of surgery. Rather than undergo a complicated surgery overseas, MedjetAssist got Carolyn home quickly and safely, and into the hands of her trusted physicians in Oklahoma.

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Featured Partner: The Luggage Club

Leading Luggage Service Providers Ease Air Travelers’ Frustrations
During Changing Times with Convenience, Peace of Mind

As top U.S. airlines scramble to match the first checked baggage fee policies kicked off in June, travelers everywhere are left feeling the pinch for summer vacations. Added costs of $15 each way to check a bag along with potential luggage handling complications associated with high summer volumes open the door for luggage delivery services, like The Luggage Club, to give travelers the peace of mind that their luggage will be delivered to their destination on time. 

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Featured Service: Property Manuals

A thorough Property Manual can keep your home running smoothly in your absence, particularly if there is an emergency.

Have you ever received a distress call during an overdue vacation?  The hot water heater has exploded, the power is out and the generator hasn't come on, an alarm has gone off, someone didn’t show up for work...the list goes on.
These headaches and more can be more readily handled without interrupting your much needed time away if a thorough Property Manual has been created to guide your staff through unexpected emergencies.

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The Advisor's Corner: Intelligent Luxury Travel by Andrew Harper

Today’s luxury traveler is faced with a dizzying array of destinations, itineraries and activities, but a few simple planning rules remain constant.

  • You’re always better off working with travel professionals who have been there before, because they can make better decisions for you.
  • Secondly, it’s always worth the extra effort to find a truly special hideaway.
  • And if you’re traveling with family, experts can help keep the transport logistics to a minimum.

Here are a few other things to consider when planning a successful luxury vacation...

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Ask an Expert: Energy Efficiency

Q: With energy prices soaring and everyone trying to do their part with conservation, what are the top 5 tips or strategies you would recommend to the owners of large homes to be as energy efficient as possible?

A: To many clients’ surprise, energy efficiency and comfort go hand-in-hand, so you don’t have to give up comfort to get more efficient.  The most efficient homes are those that effectively manage indoor air quality, namely humidity, filtration, and infiltration.  Here are several tips.

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Featured Partner: Classic Kids Photography

Featured on the Oprah Winfrey show, Classic Kids is a premium photography studio serving fine families in 9 cities in the U.S.   Beginning this July, we are pleased to extend a special gift to our private staffing clients who hire a full time nanny in one of Classic Kids' markets.

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The Advisor's Corner: Introduction to Today’s Family Office Marketplace

The family office in America finds its roots in the wealth generation spurred by the American Industrial Revolution.  Families such as the Mellons, Rockefellers, & Carnegies established in-house professional teams and charged them with privately managing family wealth, time, and generational complexities. 

The fundamental reasons that families establish family offices are control and stewardship; no one cares as much about the well-being of a family as the family itself. Today, however, the term “family office” is used to describe a growing number of entities, each with a different origin, design, and cost/benefit.

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Featured Service: The Right Start Program

Consistent with the saying, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’, most employment relationships are won or lost in the first few days.  Nationally, over 25% of employees who quit do so in the first ninety days on the job. 

Beginning this month, The Lindquist Group is pleased to begin the rollout of its Right Start Program to help clients and candidates avoid the most common pitfalls leading to failed employment relationships.

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