Confidentiality

Loss Of Control.   The national media today panders to popular curiosity about the personal lives and fortunes of business leaders and wealthy families.   In the same way, local communities tend to gossip about notable wealthy families.  It is prudent, therefore, to resist the invitation to disclose details about your personal wealth.  More than personal privacy is at stake.  Loss of financial confidentiality represents a loss of power and control.  It increases the risk of threats to personal security and the distractions that come from spurious lawsuits, financial product vendors, and charity appeals without merit.  It can also affect the self-image of younger family members.  

Need To Know.  To the extent feasible, business and investment structures should be designed with attention to confidentiality so that details of assets and wealth succession are not disclosed to third parties such as financial institutions and outside investors without good reason.  These efforts can be helpful even when they are not completely successful.

Secrecy.   This does not mean that complete secrecy is the ideal.  A financial hermit whose habits tend toward extreme confidentiality can appear to be eccentric and thus also attract too much attention.