Wealth Planning Essentials


Between inflation, fluctuating stock market and real estate prices, and rising interest rates, the only certainty in today's economy is uncertainty. The state of the global economy remains fragile, and taxes may go up in the coming years in response to rising deficits.

In this live-online program, you’ll gain wealth planning essentials to navigate these uncertain times — and come away with strategic, enduring frameworks for effective wealth planning, creating shared purpose, and strategic philanthropy.


In this live-online program, attendees will gain the tools to incorporate individual and family values in effective wealth planning, creating shared purpose, and strategic philanthropy. You'll examine different approaches taxable investors can take to capture value, from simple to complex, and draw important lessons from successful multi-generational families. You'll deepen your knowledge of important concepts including taxable investment strategy, balance sheet and cash flow management, strategic philanthropy, selecting financial advisors, and risk management.

By attending, you will:

  • Learn how to take charge of your wealth management
  • Gain a strategic wealth management framework — and the Eight Principles that act as guideposts for implementing the framework
  • Understand how to incorporate individual and family values in effective wealth planning, creating shared purpose, and strategic philanthropy
  • Examine different approaches taxable investors can take to capture value, from simple to complex
  • Draw important lessons from successful multi-generational families

"It's crucial to develop a plan to manage your financial assets strategically, comprehensively, and with discipline. When attending the Wealth Planning Essentials program, participants learn how to set a strategic vision, build an accountability system, align interests, and delegate tasks. Once you have a good idea of your objectives and how you want to achieve them, it makes it much easier to identify and build productive relationships with your financial advisors."
—Stuart Lucas, Faculty Director of Wealth Planning Essentials

A confidential, solicitation-free learning & networking environment

This program provides an opportunity to share experiences, express ideas, and connect with your peers. Because some of the most valuable learning in the course takes place in sharing experiences, we create a confidential and solicitation-free environment. All participants must sign a confidentiality agreement before joining the course.

Attend with your family  

Members of the same family can derive considerable benefit from taking this program together. The program provides a foundation for continued productive dialogue well into the future. It also can bring together family members from different generations in an environment where they can explore and validate different perspectives. To attend as a family, contact us for a simple group registration process.


Our live-online programs are delivered in a synchronous format where you’ll engage with faculty and peers in an interactive, high-impact virtual environment. The benefit of this format is that you’ll receive valuable content in short, digestible sessions to help you absorb the program materials in-between sessions.

For flexibility, this program offers two program experience options: one with additional discussion groups and one without.


This program features live sessions held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting at 9am CT over a two-week period.

Lectures will be recorded and available to participants any time during the program and for three weeks thereafter. Discussion groups will not be recorded.

View the full program schedule here.

This program is for wealth owners with taxable financial assets. Single family office executives may attend with principal family members, but other financial advisors may not attend.

Stuart E. Lucas

Co-Managing Partner, Wealth Strategist Partners, LLC

Stuart founded Wealth Strategist Partners (WSP) as the successor to his family's investment platform, where he was co-Chief Investment Officer for many years following the sale of Carnation Company, the business founded by his great-grandfather.

Stuart has been an investment professional for over 35 years. In addition to his duties with WSP, Stuart is Chairman of the Investment Committee of National Public Radio and is a board member of the National Public Radio Foundation.

Stuart designed and leads the University of Chicago Booth School of Business's Private Wealth Management continuing education program, which has served over 500 individuals and families in the 12 to 14 years since the course’s inception. His book, Wealth: Grow It and Protect It (FT Press), has been published on three continents. He is the author of numerous articles on investing and wealth management, most recently "The 50% Rule" and "Pick Your Battles" (Journal of Wealth Management), co-authored with Alejandro Sanz. His latest book, "The Taxable Investor's Manifesto" (Wiley), will be published in early 2020.

Previously, Stuart was the Senior Managing Director of the Ultra-High Net Worth Group within Private Client Services at Bank One (now JP Morgan Chase), director of a multi-family investment office in Paris, France; General Manager of European operations of Wellington Management Company in London, England; and Assistant Portfolio Manager of a Forbes Honor Roll mutual fund.

He has a B.A. with honors from Dartmouth College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Merle Erickson

Professor of Accounting
Merle Erickson studies the effect of taxes on the pricing and structuring of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and the use of accounting information in valuation and contracting. He also studies, among other things, various aspects of accounting fraud. He teaches “Taxes and Business Strategy” at Booth and has taught the course for the last twenty five years.

In addition to numerous articles published in a variety of top academic journals, Erickson is a coauthor of the widely used Taxes and Business Strategy textbook (currently in its 6th edition) and is the author/editor of the casebook, Cases in Tax Strategy. From 2005-2011, he served as a co-editor of the Journal of Accounting Research.

Over the course of his career, Erickson has consulted on complex GAAP and tax accounting issues (e.g., debt versus equity, various ASC 740 related issues, intercompany accounting and consolidation, employee stock option accounting, accounting for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (e.g., spin-offs, leveraged partnerships, reverse Morris Trust transactions), restated financial statements, etc.) in a variety of contexts (e.g., bankruptcy, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, inversions, structured finance, investment planning, cross border and intercompany financing, partnership and LLC arrangements, tax sharing agreements, shareholder disputes, and various types of tax advantaged transactions). His clients have included, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, Fortune 500 companies in various industries, international financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, and individual taxpayers. He has also assisted corporations with SEC, IRS and whistleblower investigations. Erickson brings these real world experiences to his “Taxes Business Strategy” and executive education courses at Booth.

Prior to entering academia, he assisted the U.S. Government in its prosecution of the Lincoln Saving & Loan case. He subsequently published an academic article and teaching case relating to the audit failure associated with the Lincoln Saving & Loan case. That teaching case has been used by the Big 4 to train junior auditors. 

He has been given several awards from the American Taxation Association for his research and teaching. He has received the Outstanding Manuscript Award (twice) as well as an award for teaching innovation. In addition to teaching graduate students at Chicago Booth, Erickson has taught courses to Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, General Electric Capital Corporation, Baker McKenzie, Andersen Consulting, Accenture, CareerBuilder, and the IMCA (Investment Management Consultants Association) among others. He also was been named one of BusinessWeek's Outstanding Faculty at the University of Chicago.

Erickson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Rockhurst College in 1987, an MBA in 1989 from Arizona State University, and a PhD in accounting from the University of Arizona in 1996. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1996.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Erickson is an avid fisherman. His angling pursuits have taken him from the pristine wilderness lakes of northern Canada to some of the remotest stretches of the Great Barrier Reef. He received the Angler Award from the Billfish Foundation in 2003 for releasing the most striped marlin worldwide that year.

Sara Hamilton

Family Advisor, Founder, and Board Chair, Family Office Exchange

Sara founded the Family Office Exchange (FOX) as an industry clearinghouse and peer network for family offices in 1989. Within a few years, Sara could see that families needed help developing their enterprise vision and managing their family transitions, in addition to overseeing their family offices. As a result, FOX became an advisor to family owners of the enterprise, in addition to sharing family wealth best practices and being an industry advocate for the importance of private enterprise in a global economy.

In her role as family advisor, Sara provides consulting advice to a select group of enterprise families and helps identify enterprise best practices for the FOX Knowledge Center. She supports the development of new FOX learning programs and delivers educational programs at the University of Chicago Booth School in Chicago and at VU University in Amsterdam. At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Sara is an adjunct faculty member in the Private Wealth Management and Wealth Essentials courses.

As Board Chair for FOX, Sara oversees the values, vision, and mission for the firm; provides oversight for the strategic investments made by the business; and serves as an advocate and advisor to the unique membership community that FOX represents. FOX has a unique team of 20 subject matter experts who oversee 480 member relationships in 24 countries. The FOX management team is based in Chicago, New York, Denver, Richmond, Pittsburgh, So Florida and Madrid.

Sara is co-author of Family Legacy and Leadership: Preserving True Family Wealth in Challenging Times. Sara is on the international governing board for the Foundation for Advancing Impact and Sustainability in Bologna, Italy and the national governing board for Private Directors Association in Chicago.

Caren Yanis

Principal, Croland Consulting, LLC

Caren is principal of Croland Consulting, a private practice that guides athletes, celebrities, high net worth families, and social institutions in building a culture of purpose.

As President of Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago, (2009-2016), she managed organizational redesign and growth, engaged multiple generations, and guided strategy in the U.S., the Middle East, and the developing world.

Caren built Oprah Winfrey’s philanthropies, as Executive Director (2000-2009) at the height of the Oprah Winfrey Show, a period that included Oprah’s Use Your Life Awards, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa and the Oprah Winfrey Boys and Girls Club in Kosciusko Mississippi where Oprah was born. She led disaster recovery and rebuilding in the Mid-South following Hurricane Katrina that put fourteen-hundred families back in homes. Caren was a member of Harpo’s Senior Management Team.

Caren chairs the board of The Poetry Foundation (a private operating foundation) and has guided it through a series of organizational changes with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is a member of the Board of Visitors at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and at the Women in Philanthropy Institute (WPI).

She is a frequent keynote and podcast speaker at wealth management and estate planning conferences with a focus on family offices and impact investing. Recent keynotes and podcasts include: The Heart of Giving (BBB), Dentons, Family Business Magazine’s Family Wealth and Legacy Conference, Family Office World, Yale Philanthropy Conference, and FEW.

Caren is an adjunct professor at Tulane University, the University of Chicago Booth School in their Private Wealth Management program, the Spertus Institute, and the Sports and Entertainment Impact Collective (formerly part of Johns Hopkins).

Caren understands the social change landscape. Her engagement in the sector has spanned media (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Time Inc., WSJ, Country Living) and startups like Leading Edge, formed to build organizational capacity in nonprofits. She has developed economic and education programs in Africa in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and through public private partnerships and worked extensively in Israel and the Middle East on cross boundary projects related to coexistence and the environment. She holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College, studied speech and language pathology at Mercy College, and has a certificate in Strategic Leadership for Nonprofit Organizations from Stanford University.

In her spare time Caren hosts salons that bring bold thinkers together for meaningful conversations. She has a passion for listening deeply, navigating challenges, and guiding people who have the potential to make the world a better place.

Week One Sessions

Strategic Wealth Management Framework

Defining Your Financial Objectives

Investment Strategy 1

Managing a Taxable Investor’s Balance Sheet

Investment Strategy 2

Measuring and Managing Financial Tradeoffs: Eat well or sleep well?

Week Two Sessions

Risk Management Case Studies

Building a Vision for Your Wealth and Family

Fire Drill: Preparing for Sudden Departure

Strategic Philanthropy

Rethinking Your Financial Advisor’s Value Proposition

Wrap Up: Setting Yourself Up to Win


Office Hours – With Stuart Lucas

Held on multiple mornings before class, these sessions provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and get input regarding your specific circumstances.


Small Discussion Groups – Facilitated by Stuart Lucas

Discussion groups will be limited to 15 participants to preserve an intimate environment for meaningful dialogue. The full experience includes three discussion groups. Download the brochure to review the list of available topics.

I garnered a long-term perspective on managing wealth, risk, and building a family enterprise. Also, I gained an understanding of the role I have in being the family steward of wealth and the responsibilities that come with that. It was great to hear from other wealthy families on their successes as well as lessons learned.

—Seth Cohen

If you have come into wealth recently, don't invest in anything before you take this course. It is a must to understand the basics of the world of wealth management.

—Past participant

The course and themes were well chosen and in compact form. I liked that I could use professor Stuart E. Lucas's two books to prepare better for sessions. And I liked [taking] it online as I avoided traveling stress and saved a lot of time!

—Past participant

This is a great overview class for people beginning the path of wealth management (generation one or two). It goes much deeper than your average overview. I particularly appreciated the taxable investor discussion and how to re-evaluate your financial advisor.

—Past participant

It was late evening for us in India... yet after a full working day, i was completely engrossed in the program. We effectively sailed through a multitude of topics. I personally found the program engaging and encompassing.

—Past participant



ADMISSIONS: This is an application-based program. Seats are limited in the full program experience since discussion groups will be capped at 15 people each; to ensure your seat, we highly encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

PROGRAM EXPERIENCE: This program offers two program experience options. Participants may select their experience choice during the registration process. Lectures will be recorded and available to participants any time during the program and for three weeks thereafter. Discussion groups will not be recorded.

Option One: Full Program Experience (includes all sessions plus three small discussion groups): $4,500

Option Two: Condensed Program Experience (includes all sessions, no discussion groups): $4,000

For additional details, please view the program schedule.