Is the Inheritance a Dying Trend?
Not so long ago on Money Bulldog we wrote a post talking about a UK multi-millionaire who decided to sell his North East mansion and give away all of his wealth in setting up a new charity to support cancer patients. In the post we asked the question of how the children might feel, especially if they didn’t agree with their parent’s decision. Many of the comments on the post were overwhelmingly supportive of the generosity and selflessness of this North East millionaire and many people also said that children really didn’t have a right to expect any sort of inheritance from their parents.
When I was chatting with my wife about these comments we both agreed that it is funny how much attitudes towards the principle of an inheritance have changed in recent years or decades. Once upon a day it seemed that a parent’s main focus for working so hard in life was to ‘set their children up for a better future’, a future where they didn’t have to struggle, perhaps in the way that their own generation had struggled. Nowadays though it would seem that this is not necessarily the case, and it isn’t just millionaires who are taking the decision not to pass on their accumulated wealth to their children. Many people of more average means are also taking this same decision, if not for slightly different reasons.
A recent survey featured on the blog of UK Experience Day provider Into the Blue found that out of the 1000 over 55’s of whom they asked the question “Are you currently spending or do you plan to spend money for your children’s inheritance on enjoying your retirement?”, 25% said they planned to do so or even that they are already spending the cash. So we can see that many in the older generation are now less worried about the prospect of not leaving an inheritance behind for their children and would rather spend this money enjoying their retirement. The survey also found that 10% of the people questioned would also like to try some kind of extreme sport – how about you?
Of course there are another group of people out there, a group who would love nothing more than to have some form of substantial inheritance to pass on to their kid’s but who are finding that the cost of living or even their extended longevity is simply eating away at this inheritance year on year.
This all begs the question, is the whole idea of an inheritance a dying trend for most people? Are we living in an age where the majority of people will no longer be able to look forward to some kind of a financial windfall at some point in their later lives? A windfall that may have been able to help them to purchase their own house or dare I even say it, pay off debt. It certainly seems that this outcome is becoming more probable.
If this is the case then it does give the current generation of working adults a lot to think about when it comes to their own spending habits, or more importantly their saving habits. If this generation want to clear off debts, buy a house, provide an inheritance for their kids or do anything else along these lines, then for many it is going to be a case of achieving these goals by the work of their own hands and with the proceeds of their own savings accounts or investment decisions, rather than with the aid of an inherited financial windfall coming their way later on in life.
How important is the idea of an inheritance to you?