6 things I'll do to keep my kid from blowing his inheritance
There are still a fair number of things I want to do before I shuffle off this mortal coil.
But when I do go, I would like to leave our kid some helpful worldly goods.
Money, for instance. Perhaps an asset or two.
Such things could make his own later years more comfortable and help him provide for any children he might have.
But I don't want to see the kid take the stuff I worked hard to acquire and throw it away on casinos, fast cars and alimony for three wives he never really liked all that much in the first place.
In all this, I'm pretty common. Most people want their kids to inherit from them.
In 2010, MetLife predicted that baby boomers would inherit nearly $12 trillion from their parents, all told. This June, Accenture reported that baby boomers will pay it forward by leaving nearly $30 trillion to heirs in the next 30 to 40 years.
On the other hand, hardly anyone wants to create entitled brats who waste what they've been given. That's probably a bigger problem if you're seriously loaded.
Read a biography of a very rich, famous family, and you'll discover that some heirs do good things with the money and others waste their lives, at least in part because the money means they don't have to go out, get a job and build a life.
This can still be an issue if you plan to leave a more modest inheritance.
You'd be surprised how quickly a young person can spend $100,000 on rent, pizza, concert tickets and bar tabs.
There's no way to absolutely guarantee your heirs will get their acts together. Some people try to force the issue, often by setting up trusts with conditions.
The trouble with this plan is that it's very difficult to imagine a world without you and very easy to make mistakes that are then set in stone.
So don't bother trying to legislate from the great beyond. Spend your time raising the kind of people who won't waste their money or their lives.
Here are 6 smart moves to follow to make sure your heirs don't blow their inheritance:
Smart move 1. Begin by having your own act together.
What are your values? How do you see yourself working for those values? How does your money fit into that picture?
Kids who see you working on what you think is important, whether that's being the best possible parent, running a family foundation or being good at your profession, tend to internalize the idea that purposeful activity is an important part of life.
Smart move 2. Get your kids involved in your values.
If you think working hard is important, work hard alongside your family, whether it's by working on the yard or serving at a soup kitchen. Take your kids to your workplace occasionally. Talk about the rewards of your job, especially the ones that don't involve a paycheck.
Smart move 3. Talk to your kids about money once they're old enough to understand.
Tell them the things you hope to accomplish with it. Give them allowances, and let them make mistakes and learn from them. Share some of your own financial screw-ups.
Smart move 4. Talk about budgets and trade-offs, short-term and long-term goals.
As kids get older, give them more responsibility. A friend's parents gave her $500 twice a year for clothes, which had to supply everything from a prom dress to underwear. She learned quickly that spending more in one place meant spending less in another.
Smart move 5. When your children are genuine grownups, talk with them about your financial situation.
Use numbers. Consider their financial advice. Let them know about what may come their way and how you hope they'll use it.
Smart move 6. Perhaps most importantly, don't leave money directly to a child.
Our wills say that our kid doesn't control any money he inherits until he's 35. Before then, his aunt and uncle are in charge. They're sensible people, and they love him too much to let him waste his inheritance.