Written by: Christopher Zacher
Monroe Diefendorf understands the importance of strong financial planning . Having been born into Diefendorf Capital’s life insurance legacy, founded by his great-grandfather in 1875, Monroe (who goes by Roey) found a place for himself in the family business, working alongside his father. He sold his first life insurance policy before he was even out of high school and worked his way up to the position of CEO. While the company thrived under Roey’s leadership, he has come to realize over the last few decades that financial planning extends beyond simple asset allocation.
Roey, who holds degrees in Estate Planning, Insurance, and Psychology (alongside numerous certifications) says, “You’ve got to really understand what matters most. It’s more than money.” He adds, “Unless you wrap your values around valuables, you’ve got nothing.” In 2014, Diefendorf transitioned (under Roey’s direction) into 3 Dimensional Wealth Advisory, a company focused on managing the “total” wealth of the families they work with. “The pitfalls of wealth are well-documented,” says Roey. “The family’s values are the saving grace. You can transfer wealth across generations, but how do you transfer values? This is where we step in.”
In addition to providing the financial wealth management services that Diefendorf was known for, 3 Dimensional Wealth focuses their attention on helping families to build personal and philanthropic legacies. Explaining the goals of his company, Roey says, “Total wealth management should be the overarching scope of one’s planning. By “total,” I’m referring to both tangible and intangible assets. When you start to understand that paradigm, now you can truly make an impact.”
The Importance of Family
Having grown up next door to his grandfather, who also worked as Diefendorf’s chief executive, Roey knows the value of a close-knit family. “He was my best friend,” Roey says. On the day he started work, Roey’s father told him, “If you do the right thing, you’ll never have to worry about money.” As a company that focuses on families instead of individuals, 3 Dimensional Wealth operates with Monroe Sr.’s advice in mind, aiming to help families “establish a healthy root system for their family trees.”
To achieve this, Roey holds annual forums in which families are invited to participate in activities helping them strengthen their value structures. Through an assessment of their own personal, financial, and social wealth, families work toward an understanding of how they can best extend that wealth to their relatives and others. Additionally, he encourages connectivity and communication among extended families, staying up-to-date with who is doing what. This facilitates a common awareness that helps families to ask questions of themselves concerning how they can perpetuate their legacy. “We’re doing values-based trusts,” Roey explains and asks the families he works with, “How do you structure wealth planning to pass on values?”
His own family couldn’t have been prouder of how he re-directed the company’s trajectory. When Roey started 3 Dimensional Wealth, his father said, “I’ve never been more excited than by what you’re doing today.”
Breeding Philanthropists of the Future
As part of his mission, Roey’s goal is to help raise a generation of philanthropists. By instilling the quality of gratitude and generosity in children from a young age, he believes that families can start to build a legacy that will live far beyond them. Encouraging acts of selflessness in young people, Roey believes, will help his families to avoid raising children with “deep pockets and short arms.” He says, “I want children and grandchildren to live out the principles of saving and thrift starting from the ages 7 to 14 and build in philanthropy and an outward focus from ages 14 to 21 … that stuff is twenty-second century planning. It’s not the next seven years and ‘How can I buy a bigger boat?”
For more articles on legacy planning, click here to subscribe to Legacy Arts Magazine .Monroe Diefendorf, Jr. is CEO of 3 Dimensional Wealth Advisory and is the 4th generation of his family in the business. As an industry leader, Roey has co-authored three books: Wealth: Enhancement & Preservation – 1995 and 21st Century Wealth – 2000 and 3 Dimensional Wealth: A Radically Sane Perspective On Wealth Management – 2005. In December 2013, Roey introduced, A Better Way: Using Purposeful Trusts to Preserve Values & Valuables in Perpetuity.