We all want what’s best for our children. But we may have different ideas of what that actually means.
For a number of wealthy Baby Boomers, passing along their values and life lessons has become more important than leaving a large inheritance.
The most famous of these is Warren Buffett. The Omaha billionaire has been quoted as saying, “a very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing.” That’s where values and life lessons come in.
A number of wealthy Baby Boomers are first-generation wealthy. According to a U.S. Trust Wealth and Worth survey, many feel that their children should earn their own money as they did.
In addition, this generation was an activist generation and is interested in leaving a philanthropic legacy. That means they are diverting funds from what they might normally leave to their children into funding a charity or worthy cause.
They are also spending their money. They are using retirement as a catalyst for redefining their lives. They are traveling more, starting new businesses or pursuing dreams and goals they put off until now.
And they are saving money toward future needs, such as medical expenses and care. They don’t want to be a burden to their families but they are living longer, which means they’re probably going to have greater health needs later on.
However, that’s not to say that they aren’t concerned about leaving a financial legacy to their children. It just may not be as large as the children expect.
What they really hope to leave are the values and life lessons that helped them succeed and which they believe will help this next generation face the difficult times that are almost sure to come during any lifetime.
We can all learn from how the Baby Boomers are redefining “legacy.”
One of the main priorities for any legacy should be to build a strong work ethic. That means teaching a child about dependability, respect for others and their opinions, dedication, determination and accountability. These are all qualities that can have invaluable benefits throughout a person’s lifetime.
There are also other values that shouldn’t be overlooked when thinking about your legacy. Who you are as a family, and what you stand for are important life lessons to be passed down the generations.
How did you build what you built, whether it was a career, a business, a home, or a foundation of love and family? What are your priorities in life? What are some of the traditions and stories that were passed down to you that you can now pass down to your children?
There is another gift you can give your children: help them learn how to manage money. The lessons can start at a young age using an allowance to demonstrate the benefits of saving, planning and even making mistakes such as wasting money. These financial lessons learned when young will follow a child into adulthood and help them be better managers of their own finances and any inheritance that might come to them.
The financial lessons can also be taught to older or adult children. You may already be subsidizing them by helping out with college tuition or living expenses. But one of the best gifts you can give is to not only provide high levels of love but also set limits. That may mean not jumping in and bailing them out each time they need financial help. Be there to support and advise them but let them work out a solution, experience the consequences of their decisions and let them learn from their mistakes.
Money inherited without the values and financial responsibility needed to manage it is in grave danger of being lost or squandered. Talk to your children. Let them know what your values are. Help them learn financial responsibility. And make sure you have plans in place to leave a legacy that will be meaningful to you, your children and perhaps even the next few generations to come.
If you’re not sure how to organize your thoughts or how to protect your legacy, LegacyShieldSM may be able to help. Check the information here at LegacyShield.com to get started.