When you hear the word inheritance, the first thing that likely comes to mind is receiving a financial windfall from a deceased relative. But an inheritance isn’t just limited to money. Merriam-Webster defines inheritance as “the acquisition of a possession, condition, or trait from past generations.” (1)
Sirius Wealth Management approaches inheritances differently, focusing more on what it means to pass your values on to your kids and extend your legacy so that if money is in the picture, your kids are well-equipped to handle the responsibility. Here are some thoughts to ponder as you consider what type of inheritance you want to leave for your children.
Inheritance Starts From Birth
From the moment our child enters the world, we provide for every need, feeding, clothing, and caring for our new bundle of joy. As they grow, we continue to share our resources with them in the form of time, knowledge, energy, and finances. We know that our time with them is limited and we want to teach them as much as possible, either through life lessons or a formal education, before they launch out on their own. This is all part of their inheritance.
Imagine your kid’s life like a relay race. As they mature and reach new milestones, we hand off different batons with the wisdom and skills they need for the next stage of the race. The final handoff is usually the traditional financial inheritance. But while this baton is the most valuable monetarily, it may not be the most valuable inheritance they receive in life.
Values > Money
Every parent has their own set of values they want to see replicated in their kids. For me, those are a good education, a strong work ethic, and a moral compass.
Recently one of my clients shared similar thoughts. We were having a discussion about their estate, their pretty significant resources, and the effect that this money would have on their children. My client observed, “I think that I have done a good enough job raising my children so that they won’t need my money when we are gone; however, if I haven’t, the money isn’t going to be the solution to their problems and, in fact, may make things worse.”
Mistakes Build Strength
We don’t want to see our children make the same mistakes that we did, so we often try to protect them from doing so. However, upon reflection, we find that those mistakes are what made us who we are today, despite the pain or frustration of the circumstances. Maybe our kids need the freedom to make some of those mistakes so they can learn from them, especially when they are young and the stakes are lower.
To that end, I share the following story:
One day, two men were sitting and talking when they noticed a butterfly trying to escape its cocoon. As the men watched it struggling to work its way out, one reached down and tore open the cocoon. When the other man asked why, the first replied, “To help the butterfly escape.” The other man pointed out that the good intentions would probably end up killing the butterfly. By depriving the creature of the struggle, he’d eliminated the only opportunity it had to strengthen itself so it could fly. Now it would just become another creature’s prey.
As you take time to think about what you want to leave for the next generation of your family, take Supreme Court Justice John Roberts’ words to heart:
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.
Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.
And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you will be ignored so you will understand the importance of listening to others. I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.
Whether I wish these things on you or not, they are going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes. (2)
Let your children struggle as you guide and support them, and they will become stronger for it. You can’t put a price tag on that.
We’re Here To Help
At Sirius Wealth Management, we love helping our clients manage their money with excellence so they can live the life they want, leaving a legacy for their children, a legacy of both money and life values. If you want personal guidance as you prepare your estate, invest your money, and prepare for the future, both yours and your children’s, call 636-449-4890 or email email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
David has been working in the financial services industry since 1980 and specializes in financial planning with a focus on retirement planning. His planning concentrates on four specific goals: the accumulation of wealth, the reduction of taxes and volatility in retirement, the necessary strategies to deal with the risks of longevity, and the passing of an estate in a private, tax-efficient, and protected manner. David holds designations as a CFP® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and AEP® Accredited Estate Planner®.
David has been married to his wife, Sue, for over 41 years, and together they have four children and eight grandchildren. Dave is a big believer in family and still has family dinners almost every Sunday with most of his kids, grandchildren, and even his 97-year-old mother. Dave and Sue have lived in St. Louis all their lives. He enjoys spending time outdoors, especially fishing with his grandchildren; he knows they will only be young for so long and you have to live in the moment. This year will be Dave’s 18th annual cross-country motorcycle trip with three college friends; together they have traveled through over 40 states on these memorable road trips.
Dave and Sue support many charitable organizations, including the MS-Society, Cystic Fibrosis, the Lupus Foundation, St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer, and the Mary Culver Home for vision-impaired women, where his mother lives. Their support comes in an unusual way: by donating a BBQ (including a pig roast, cooked, carved, and served on site), which is auctioned off at one of their live events. This popular auction item is a great way to have fun and do some good in the community. Dave also serves as a board member on the Estate Planning Council of St. Louis.