Is the baby boomer generation concerned about leaving an inheritance to their children? A recent article discusses that topic and interviews boomers who have considered the issue themselves. My speculation and belief is that: (a) many boomers won’t have anything to leave, even if they wanted to; and (b) they shouldn’t worry about leaving an inheritance anyway. Personally, I have adopted a hybrid position on this issue.
I don’t fully understand this “I must leave money to my children” attitude. Do you?
Another possibility is that some retirees have become aware of how incompetent and careless their adult children are with money. They feel bad – and maybe even partially responsible for this – as if the parents had not properly instructed their kids in how to handle money. Their solution is to give their adult children money while they are alive and then even more when the parents die.
My position: The parents’ job is to give their children a solid foundation in all aspects of life. This has been our goal, including providing our three sons with an education without debt. After that, it is up to your children (and ours) to construct their own lives on top of that foundation. I can imagine that some adult children – believing that their parents will leave them money – will become less responsible with their own money.
That is why we are taking a hybrid approach. We want to leave a family legacy but not necessarily in cash. Unless there are radical changes in circumstances, our lake home will pass on to our sons, in a trust for their mutual ongoing benefit. We want this to be an asset that will bond them and their families together, just as it has become an important gathering place for our nuclear family and for our parents, siblings, cousins, and their families for the past 8 years.
Our retirement plan does not require any inheritance beyond that. If our expenses remain manageable and our investments do well, there likely will be money left over when we pass on. But no one – including us – should assume that or plan for that. We have done our jobs. Our boys (men now) must do theirs.
The link to the LA Times article is below. What are your plans for leaving an inheritance? Please leave a comment for all to share!! If you are reading this by email, please click back to leave a comment as well. Thanks!