"We All Have the Potential to Move the World, And The World Is Ready To Be Moved"
I was born and raised in Huntington, Long Island, New York. It is where I went to school, met my wife Kathy and where we were married. While we have lived in New Jersey for over 25 years now, we will always consider Huntington home. One of the most lasting and influential figures of our early lives was Harry Chapin. Harry was a Grammy winning singer/songwriter but, even more importantly, he was a visionary figure and relentless advocate for the hungry. Nearly 40 years later, his words have never been more relevant. Harry's goal was to eliminate hunger during his lifetime and, true to his core values, Harry co-founded World Hunger Year (now WhyHunger) and Long Island Cares (now The Harry Chapin Food Bank). Harry was driven by the belief that nutritious food is a human right and that hunger is a solvable problem in a world of abundance. The Harry Chapin Foundation continues to do amazing, impactful work to this day. His giving spirit is alive and well in those of us who were fortunate enough to see him perform or witness the good his vision brought to the world.
In the next two or three decades, it is expected that a great wealth transfer will occur. It should come to no one's surprise that a significant proportion of this wealth will be coming from baby boomers. The oldest baby boomers are now 70 years old and are the richest generation in the history of the United States. No matter how much or how little wealth you plan on passing down to your children or grandchildren, you should make it a priority to pass on your financial values to the next generation.
Have a Fully-Developed Plan
Many people don't have a fully fleshed-out plan in place to transfer wealth to their children or grandchildren. Thinking about and planning for life after we have passed is something we as humans often put off, and thus parents are often hesitant to discuss money and finances with their children. Unfortunately, this silence can have dire consequences. The opportunity cost of inaction is staggering.
Imagine a situation where an individual knows nothing about personal finances, and then they suddenly receive an inheritance of $10 million. Such an heir may find themselves wasting the money or leading a dangerous lifestyle. Sudden wealth can destroy an individual emotionally if they're not ready for both the privileges and responsibilities that come with the money. Therefore, it is essential that you start preparing your heirs long before you pass away.
Work with Professionals
If you're not sure how to go about financially educating your children or grandchildren, you could consider working with professionals. The best teachers are often those who work in finance - bankers, financial advisors, and wealth managers. This is particularly true because your heirs may find themselves turning to these professionals for help upon receiving the inheritance later.
Consider holding family meetings about finances and invite financial professionals to join so they can pass on some knowledge to your children. The families that tend to be the most successful with transferring wealth often set up trust accounts with third-party trustees for their children. Your heirs should start learning about these trusts as soon as possible.
Teach Your Children To Save & Give
It is essential that you teach your children the power of saving and giving. The best way to show your children the value of saving is by teaching them about compounding interest. One way you can encourage your children to save is by promising to match their savings dollar for dollar. Receiving an extra $20 for every $100 saved will make your children excited about saving. The goal is to turn your children into committed savers by the time they receive their inheritance. That way, they will understand the importance of not wasting the inheritance on frivolous things.
Work, Allowance and Purpose
As soon as your child is old enough to receive an allowance, you can start educating them about finances. If you're a business owner, the best way to teach your children about finances is by involving your young children in your business. Hands-on experience is often the best way for children to learn about finances. If your child is older, you can even put them on a payroll so that they learn to put money aside. If your children are younger, an allowance for performing their chores is a great way to start teaching them about finances, saving, and spending.
The most important thing that you can pass on to your children is your financial values and not your money. Therefore, it is essential that you start teaching your children about finances when they are young. That way, when they receive their inheritance, they will have the knowledge and skills needed to build on the wealth for the next generation. For more information about how to pass on your financial values to the next generation, don't hesitate to contact me.
Thanksgiving and Harry Chapin have always been inextricably linked in my life. His message and actions have endured and continue to thrive to this day. I wish you and your families the very best that this blessed time of year has to offer. Please don't delay in having these having conversations.
Authored by Rob Armstrong