Americans are no longer deciding to leave money for their adult kids.
I do not have any statistics to back this up BUT what I do have is an exhausting personal experience of senior clients telling me that. When I go in to help them with their life-insurance needs, many are opting for funeral policies only – because they have zero intention to leave any money for their kids.
One mom told me she did not want to leave a dime more than what it would cost to bury her and she did not even trust her daughter would not just cremate her and keep the difference. Another told me last night that she intends to blow all their money during their retirement. All they bought was burial insurance too.
I came home, laid in my bed and considered this new phenomenon that was emerging in American culture. I know it is emerging because I just wrote a blog using Federal statistics which showed that American white families were 67% more inclined to leave money for their kids over minorities. I have a feeling in a few years, this number will clip down.
I absolutely need to go back and survey these clients with to see if this is just a new level of self-focus, or something else.
The house, the car, the jewelry, etc will be left behind after the send-off party. YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU. That is a fact!
18 months! If you own your home but you have no intention of leaving money for your adult kids, at least leave enough to cover the payments needed for 18 months so that your kids can claim the equity you have paid into the home. That is just enough time for processing of the will, title transfers, cleaning and putting the home on the market. Fail to leave that, and the banks dig their claws in. Why should Uncle Sam or the Banks get that money?
When my grandmother died in 2009, in addition to grieving her loss, the work to pack away all her stuff, and clean up the home is a huge, painful, back-breaking job. The fact that she left that house to me was nothing more than words in a will. The HOA foreclosed on her condo simply because I did not have the money to pay the owed HOA payments she did not make while she was ill, nor the additional payments going forward. That condo was worth $45K at its recession price and $80K when the market was hopping.
This is one of the reasons I am in the life-insurance industry today and passionate about it.
Financial education is something many take for granted. Making strategic decisions regarding your lifestyle and legacy all hinge on your financial acumen. I pursue this knowledge and I turn around and share it with all who will listen.
I will be watching this trend and watching the official statistics to see if what I have observed is simply luck of my draw or a cultural shift in the American family dynamics.
What I will remind the Christians reading this piece is, the Bible says in Proverbs 13:22
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children”.
So, don’t shoot the messenger! The Bible gave this method of looking at a person’s character, not me. Feel free to do with your money whatever you will. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.