What do I expect my parents to leave me as an inheritance?
That’s a loaded question. But then again, I just posed it myself, so who am I to complain?
My father is a well-known financial author and speaker and the founder of one of the largest Registered Investment Advisor firms in the United States. He has written books on leaving money to children and counseled some extraordinarily wealthy people on how to leave money to their children. Not only that, but his views are not always all that traditional when it comes to leaving an inheritance.
I believe that many people are curious as to how Ron Blue intends to treat his children (there are five of us) through his will. Will he practice what he preaches? I believe he will (no pun intended). However, to be totally honest, I’m not 100% sure what my parent’s will says, but I do know a few principles they will apply.
First, not all my brothers and sisters will necessarily receive the same amount.
Second, none of us will receive enough to enable us to quit working or materially change our lifestyle.
Third, a good portion of their estate will go to charity.
We have had family meetings in the past where my parents have told us how they were leaving their estate. In that meeting, we learned that not every child was going to be treated the same. Certain siblings were going to receive more than others because of specific life circumstances. As a child hearing this, I understood their reasoning, but it still engendered some feelings of jealousy. The “that’s not fair” response is innate in all of us. Even though I had some feelings of jealousy, I eventually moved on and appreciated my parent’s openness in sharing their plans. Over time, I believe that their will has changed and that this arrangement is no longer in place. Regardless of who gets treated differently, I am confident that my parents have done their best to love us all equally and uniquely. They are not perfect, but I know that they love us all and desire to respect us in how they treat us.
The second two principles go hand in hand with each other. My parents have a deep belief that too much wealth left to heirs can ruin them. And the concern is multiplied the more generations that wealth passes through. For this reason, my parents want to leave us some possessions as a blessing, but not so much that it becomes a curse. This line is difficult to draw, but I believe that they will draw it at a modest sum that will not dramatically affect my family’s lifestyle. The remainder will go to Christian charities. Knowing these plans ahead of time has been an important part of my own financial journey and beliefs about wealth.
To return to my original question though, I don’t expect my parents to leave me a lot of money in their will. That is their right and I am perfectly content with it. However, they have already made me extravagantly wealthy. Their legacy of living their lives submitted to Jesus Christ has been passed down to me since I was a baby. They have not been perfect, because none of us are, but they have been steadfast. They have prayed for me, loved me, cried with me, and pointed me back toward Jesus at every turn. That is an inheritance worth leaving and one that I want to be passed on to my children. My parents may not leave me much earthly wealth, but they have provided me with eternal wealth and that is worth way more than any earthly possession.
As you seek to leave an inheritance to your children, consider talking to them about it and consider what it is that you most want to pass on to them. Don’t wait for the conversation to happen around your gravesite – then it is too late.