Let’s Talk: Are we obliged to leave anything to our kids? 42

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At Starts at 60, we strongly believe this is an age to live life to the full: to travel; to pursue new passions; to treat yourself.

Today we’d like to ask the community a difficult question: do we owe anybody an inheritance? 

Many of us would certainly love to leave something behind for kids and grandkids, but of course, not everybody can comfortably do so.

The answer isn’t always clear cut. Even the wealthy, with genuine fortunes to pass on, are wary of the idea of leaving behind to much.

When Warren Buffet pledged to give 99% of his wealth away, he said “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing”.

Elton John and Bill Gates have both offered similar sentiments: they hope to leave their families enough for comfort, but not so much they’ll lose perspective.

And then, of course, there is Gina Rhinehart. She has made it very clear that she does not think her children are fit to receive any inheritance, and has the court documents to prove it!

Do you think that kids should make their own way in life without financial support from their parents?

Or do you think that kids of today should (or even need) to receive an inheritance of family money or financial support from their parents?

How do you feel about “spending your kids’ inheritance”?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I’d like to think that childrens’ inheritance should be that the parents have taught them well; to be honest decent people with a work ethic. if they have that they probably won’t need a handout. The children I have seen who are expecting a large inheritance remind me of so many vultures; waiting for something to die so that they may live! Is this any way to bring up your kids?

    1 REPLY
  2. In one way I would like to leave something to my kids(2) However they are financially so much better of than either their parents ever were while they were working and educating their children.
    So do I deprive myself of the small luxuries in later life? No I will not. We save some of our pension,we own our house outright and go out for lunch once a month and health permitting we will go on another cruise (our third) later in the year.
    We can’t see anything wrong with this or am I wrong?

    2 REPLY
    • Can’t fault your logic at all, if anything I would say push the boat even further….go out a bit more often. Treat yourselves more often to what you fancy. At the end of the day your family won’t thank you for scrimping and saving. After all, even if you managed to spend or spin out your savings and investments, they will still inherit your house proceeds, which will on today’s prices be a nice windfall for them!

    • No , I agree with you. Your circumstances are similar to ours. I’m even thinking of sellingoff some of my lifetime collectables (jeweller etc), the main provision I will leave is money in trust to care for our German Shepherd, who loves cares and protects us. I don’t wish for him to be euthanasiad or surrendered to RSPCA, he deserves more than that. A family member with conditions secured for his care would be legally secured..

  3. I would be very happy to leave my children good memories of me and no debts.

    1 REPLY
  4. If I had children I would not leave anything to them as our parents did not leave anything to us. Seeing we our butts off for the money we have why shouldn’t our children do the same and that way they can appreciate what they have. Any way we earned the money for our retirement so why not spend it the way we want to.

  5. I love my children dearly and will continue to do so until the day I die. We have brought them up to love & care for each other. We have educated them at a private school, straightened their teeth and given them what extra curricular activities we could. Do we owe them anything……I don’t think so!

  6. I think it depends on what has been left to us by our parents or other elderly relatives/friends.

    If we are left something I think we have a responsibility to husband it such that the benefits can be passed on. This includes giving the charities but even then your children are your heritage and should not miss out.

  7. It’s a bit different if you have a disabled child. Then I feel you must provide for them as there is no guarantee that future Governments will do so.

  8. I don’t feel obliged to leave anything for my kids, and indeed, they have actively encouraged me to cash in on my house and go travelling. But my parents helped me over the years and I’d like to think that my kids would benefit from anything I am able to leave them – even if it’s not much. I’d like to think I could make their lives a little easier in some way.

  9. Gina’s right , as her kids are mongrels . So it depends on the kids .

  10. No, as children continuously being helped, believe ‘oldies’ should enjoy life, with funds to hand.

  11. The comments about “I had to work hard so why shouldn’t they” I find hard to understand. I say, I had to work hard and know the sacrifices I have had to make. My mother left me an inheritance which helped me so much. I plan to do the same for my children. Why would I want them to make so many sacrifices and have a hard life just because I did? Sounds plain selfish to me to want to see your own children go without just because you can.

    3 REPLY
    • We have moved on from a family business, which our children helped in , we think it only fair to leave some of the proceeds for them. And they are supportive of us In our senior years. Chopping interest rates will make it a little more challenging.

    • I agree with Gaye 100%, loving parents will always want to help their children, if they can.
      We have a good quality of life and still hope their wil be something to leave our children.

  12. Reminds me, of the little JOHNNY joke.He was at grandmas for the holidays. He casually asks her ” to make a noise ” like a FROG. She replied, ” what for ” ? Well JOHNNY says. I heard mummy and daddy talking the other nite, and they said, when you ” CROAK “, they are gunna buy a BIG HOUSE, and two NEW CARS ! #

    1 REPLY
    • Last year Hubby & I went to a holiday expo. In Fremantle Perth W.A. As we were parking a HUGE motor home ( about the size of a coach – probably a Winnebago ) towing an equally impressive 4 wheel drive, also pulled in to park. Emblazoned along the side of the motor home were the immortal words ” STUFF THE KIDS INHERITANCE ”
      Good on them!

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      • How sad that anyone would boast publicly about their own selfishness

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        • It is a joke when you see signs like this. Even if they leave the Winnebago to their kids, motorhomes maintain a fantastic resale value in comparison to other consumer items. In the meantime, why should these people who can afford to travel, and enjoy the money they likely worked hard for, stay at home and live frugally year after year, to give this money to children who will possibly splurge the windfall quickly.

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          • Thank you, my thoughts exactly. If you have spent over 20 years bringing up your children & giving them the best education & guidance for ” when they fly the nest ” to set on their own road in life – what is then the problem with a great big gasp of relief along with then planning the rest of your own lives together ? -which is where it all started in the first place ! Just because you become parents & grandparents, it doesn’t mean you are no longer people in your own right with having to be on hand all the time. Go for life, follow dreams, have fun – whilst still able bodied & young minded enough to enjoy it.

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