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An Education

When trying to uncover the purpose of wealth, it can be tempting to jump straight to the aims and goals one is trying to achieve. In our experience however, it’s only by looking back at our lives and previous experiences, that we’re able to see the way forward.


One of the great conversations we live for at Six Degrees is discussing the purpose of a client’s wealth. After all, it’s a huge privilege for us to work with individuals who have used their skills, minds, and time to build something new and of value the world.

But it’s not only about the purpose.

The life experiences that have shaped your purpose provide us with valuable context to the purpose itself, and can often help illuminate how you may react to future scenarios: unexpected life events, economic downturns or indeed, business exits.

Let’s bring this to life by introducing you to Claire and Lucas, a couple based on real clients of ours but with their names and circumstances altered to protect their anonymity.

Claire & Lucas

We were introduced to Claire by an existing client some years ago. Claire was the MD and founder of a digital marketing agency which had grown organically for the first ten years, before taking investment from a European private equity fund, and making two strategic acquisitions to increase growth outside of the UK. The private equity shareholder was now looking to sell its stake, and Claire would be taking £7m off the table at the point of the sale. Lucas was an in-house senior marketing executive in the leisure sector.

Before the meeting, we asked Claire whether she would like anyone else to join the conversation, and she told us that Lucas would also be there, asking whether we could meet at their family home.

When we met and sat down at their kitchen table, we learned how Claire and Lucas first met at university, and both embarked on parallel careers in marketing.

Claire had grown up in a relatively traditional affluent family on the outskirts of Manchester. She had one sibling, and they were both privately educated, describing her upbringing as comfortable but not flashy. She recalled loving languages at school, taking French and Spanish GCSEs, and spending several summers on language exchanges in Europe. When Claire was 17 her father was diagnosed with a degenerative illness, something which had a significant impact on her and on her family. She remembers spending an intensive time learning what it meant for her father’s quality of life, his life expectancy, and what he would need from the perspective of care. She also acknowledged that it had a big impact on her decision to go to a UK university rather than one abroad as she had originally planned. Claire’s time at the University of Manchester was on the whole happy, though she remained living at home throughout her degree to be present for her family.

Lucas had grown up in Dusseldorf, the youngest of three children. His childhood was by no means affluent, but he remembers being content. Lucas had excelled at school and was the beneficiary of a number of scholarships. As part of his degree in Germany, he spent a year studying in the UK, which he loved not least because it led him to meeting Claire (although he insisted that it took him several tries before she agreed to go on a date). Lucas went on to complete a master’s at Cambridge.

The next step

After hearing about their lives, we started to open the conversation up, learning about both of their feelings throughout the growth of the business. We asked how they felt about realising £7m from the business, and what was important to them.

Claire didn’t attach any huge importance to this incoming cash. She knew it would be useful for the family, but money wasn’t what drove her to build her company. If anything, she felt a measure of guilt about not reinvesting this sum back into the business, but it was a decision she had taken alongside Lucas who was less comfortable with the risks of having all their eggs in one basket.

“Health and wealth are one and the same”

This was the first of Claire’s realisations about what it meant to her to be wealthy. Experiencing her father’s deteriorating health over the years had had a deep and profound impact on what Claire valued in life; feeling wealthy was to her incompatible with ill health.

Experiencing her father’s deteriorating health over the years had had a deep and profound impact on what Claire valued in life; feeling wealthy was to her incompatible with ill health.

The real purpose of their wealth however was the next revelation:

“We want the kids to have every possible educational opportunity. Education for us meant we could do what we loved, and it meant fulfilment for us on a personal level”

Education was of enormous value to the couple in similar ways. Lucas felt he had hugely benefited from the educational opportunities afforded to him: it had led to his move to the UK – and to him meeting his life partner. While Claire didn’t have any regrets about the choices she had made, she felt that she had never fully reached her educational potential – her family situation and wanting to be there for her father was of course paramount. Education for her was a welcome form of escape from daily life, and represented a future which was yet to be written. As a result, both wanted to make sure that the wealth strategy could provide their children with the freedom – in all senses of the word – that education could provide.

How does your background shape your purpose?

Meeting new people is central to our lives – without this passion Six Degrees certainly wouldn’t be what it is today. Although all of our clients have wealth in common with one another, their backgrounds, their early lives and their experiences are as diverse and unique as they come. And ultimately it is this uniqueness which we try to understand – and which ultimately helps us to create a wealth strategy right for them.




This blog is for information purposes and does not constitute financial advice, which should be based on your individual circumstances. The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances.