Morgan Irvin explains how wealth and family legacy have far more to do with connected vision and personal values than any business model or spreadsheet formula.
When I was first set to interview Morgan Irvin of Park City Family Office, a Park City, UT, based multi-family office, I expected conversation about the purpose of her business: safeguarding familial wealth, establishing a family legacy, and other possibly-stuffy money matters. What I didn’t expect was a deep, meaningful conversation about values and personal life fulfillment, or how both are so intrinsically tied into the purpose of wealth.
To be succinct: I didn’t expect to be so inspired.
Morgan Irvin, CFP®, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Park City Family Office, has earned her share of success in the world. A two-time US Figure Skating Gold Medalist, three-time competitor for the US Junior World Synchronized Skating team, an employee for major investment companies—such as UBS, Goldman Sachs, and Raymond James—a Board of Trustees member for the Closer to the Cure Foundation, President of the Egyptian Theatre (the central venue that hosts the yearly Sundance Film Festival in Park City), and, most recently, recipient of the FWA’s 2020 Young Professionals Award, Morgan has—I can easily repeat—carved out her own success story within the trio of decades she’s been on this world.
To my surprise, however, Morgan’s odyssean collection of success stories aren’t a product of cutthroat business practices. In fact, she had the chance to pursue that world, yet rejected it. As a self-made entrepreneur—not to mention, a thirty year old woman forging a successful path in the generally male-dominated world of finances and investment—Morgan’s success comes from something far simpler, and far stronger: the sure, steady guiding light of her personal values.
I champion people who are willing to close their eyes and jump.
“I always knew I wanted to make a meaningful difference,” Morgan said when asked about her background. With a story such as hers, coming from a life of constant training and competition as an accomplished athlete, I was curious as to what brought her to the world of finances.
Money and glory, it turns out, weren’t the motivator. Instead, after honest self-reflection, Morgan found that she sought personal fulfillment.
Fulfillment, she admitted, through helping others achieve their driving life purpose.
“I remember being seventeen and coming out of a sport so demanding that wasmy whole identity,” Morgan stated. “I was always ‘the athlete,’ ‘the skater,’ ‘the Team USA member.’ But, who was I when all of that goes away? I found I needed to do some soul searching, to ask myself, ‘Deep down, who am I? What truly matters to me?’
“In time, I realized it was loyalty. I’m accountable, I’m always the one that shows up, and I realized how I had begun to expect it from my family and those I trusted as close friends. Additionally, I found how much I valued my creativity. I’m really clever, I can always find a creative solution, or a different way to look at something.
“This naturally led me to realizing how I champion entrepreneurship—people who take a risk and go after something, who try something new that hasn’t been done before. Or something that has! I champion people who are willing to close their eyes and jump.”
I wanted to look back on a life where I truly made a difference. I wanted to help families. I wanted to know that I gave it my all.
This need to find fulfillment came with its own demands. Specifically: to take a risk, leave her secure position with larger wirehouses such as Goldman Sachs, and to found her own business.
“At the wirehouses, you are offered big signing bonuses, you are offered security, a safety net, right? You’re offered financial stability. Promotions, titles, prestige. I loved working for Goldman Sachs. I was a rising star; I was a young woman who was managing men twice my age. But, during my soul searching, I knew simple job security wouldn’t bring fulfillment. I wanted to look back on a life where I truly made a difference. I wanted to help families. I wanted to know that I gave it my all.
“So, truly, the one thing that gave me the confidence to move on was knowing that I would never be able to look back on my life and think that I had been true to who I was if I didn’t take the chance. I just knew in my core that I would always regret it. It was time!”
Wealth, as Morgan had discovered, is a means to freedom. The freedom to choose your life’s direction. The freedom, as William Ernest Henley wrote, to be the master of your own fate. That freedom, she had found, comes with the necessity to know your vision. Your own personal vision, yes, but more importantly, your family’s vision. The legacy you’ll leave behind.
We really believe that thinking about your legacy, impact, and passions start in your thirties and forties, not at the end of your career.
“At Park City Family Office, we believe that your values are your lens,” said Morgan when I asked about Park City Family Office’s guiding practice as a business. As a young company already well on their way to solid success, I was curious to learn of their guiding principles.
“When we sit with families,” she stated, “we come up with values that unify the family. If they can’t say yes to those different lenses, then it’s very simple. We know it’s not the right decision for the family.”
Values drive actions, determining what decisions a family should make when investing their wealth. The business model comes next. The important part, Morgan had found, was to not only have those conversations—discovering what truly matters to families and the legacy they wish to leave—but to have them early.
“A Family Wealth Office provides the framework to have these conversations in a very thoughtful way, reaching out to myriad resources—accounting, legal, insurance/risk management, investments, real estate, etc.—to provide for a comprehensive and holistic planning process.
“The point is that, where most people view this conversation as a consequence of lifelong work and then decide how to divvy up those assets, we really believe that thinking about your legacy, impact, and passions start in your thirties and forties, not at the end of your career. Historically, the old-school way of thought was to reach the end of your career, the end of your life, and ask ‘How do I divvy up my money? Now, what legacy do I leave?’ Instead, we believe in making decisions based on who you are as a person—what you value—much earlier than retirement, allowing time to be more thoughtful in building wealth. This gives families the opportunity to be more strategic, and ultimately more impactful, with the ways they can make a difference in the world.”
Our commitment to our clients is that you will always have the best team sitting at the table. Bruce and I are responsible for upholding that commitment… Families deserve that. They really do.
With a business practice founded on personal and family values, the next most important aspect, it turned out, was Morgan’s concordant connection with her business partner, Bruce Greenwald.
“Bruce is my perfect business partner, which is funny because we’re polar opposites,” stated Morgan when I asked about their partnership. “The differences between us was jarring when we first met, but we kept talking. The more we talked, the more we could see we were both building what we were building because we believed in it.
“Our partnership worked because we’ve always had the same vision, we believed in the same things. We’re different, yeah, but families want to work with teams that they can clearly see have respect for each other, play off each other, and challenge each other. More important, I know he would never let me down. He’s always going to be honest, he’ll always have your back, and he’ll always do the right thing. What else could I want?”
Aligning families with their vision for the purpose of wealth. Aligning business partners and managers along a shared vision. After my brief chat with Morgan, I’d be hard-pressed to suggest success, lasting wealth, or family legacy could be found anywhere but from clear, honest, and aligned visions for the purpose of wealth.
That, and following the driving purpose burning in your own heart.
“We believe that’s where happiness is derived from, and success,” stated Morgan, “Being able to look back on your life and say that you did it right. You helped the right people. You were inspired, you inspired others. We certainly want the families we work with to look back on their life and know that they were true to who they were the whole time.”
And just like that, I was inspired by a short talk about finances.
Learn more about Park City Family Office by visiting www.parkcityfamilyoffice.com
Article written by: Destry Cloud