Leave An Inheritance For Your Children

Life’s more serious events seem to get people more serious about finances.  I know when my wife became pregnant with our daughter; all sorts of questions were raised.

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  • Will you stay home with the baby or continue working?
  • How do we pay off remaining debt so that we can afford additional expenses?
  • Should we begin investing in our child’s future education (even before he or she is born)?
  • What does it cost to have a baby?

With all those questions bouncing around in our heads and popping up over dinner conversations, our desire to find the answers seemed to well, just help us to really focus on financial stewardship.

In hindsight, it’s too bad it takes such big events (good or bad) to cause a more positive shift in one’s focus.  But yet, the motivation for financial responsibility somehow emerges whether it’s from within or after seeking some help from a friend or counselor.

Leave An Inheritance

Certainly, as parents the wrong attitude would be to spend all we have in order to enjoy it before we die.  A component of stewardship, and getting serious about finances, is managing money wisely so that we can invest in the future of our children.

A good man leave’s an inheritance to his children’s children (Proverbs 13:22).

In fact, I believe it’s Dave Ramsey who often discusses in his teachings that getting your financial situation under control is an opportunity to change your family tree!  Let’s dissect that for a moment.

Your Actions Today Can Change Your Family History

Have you ever thought about how your actions today can change your family history?  Let me be more direct.  The mismanagement of money could impact some of the financial struggles your child may or may not face in the future.

Most people were not brought up under sound money management instruction and guidance within the family.  Unfortunately, education within our school systems and even in our immediate family was and is in many cases, still absent.

As an aside, I think every child should go through two courses at the appropriate age:  1) Biblical financial principles; 2) Practical steps and tools for managing money.

Today is an opportunity to change that for your children and their children.  By leaving an inheritance, they have an opportunity to start their lives in a more financially stable position.

Get To The Wealth Building Stage ASAP

So as financial stewards and looking beyond providing for college, families should try to get to the wealth building stage so they can create further financial stability and inheritance for children when they become adults.

For me, that sums it up right there.  Why tinker around with accumulating debt, paying off debt, accumulating debt, paying off debt, etc.  It’s spinning your wheels.

Rather, we should make forward progress and get to the wealth building stage of our destinations so that our family tree can be changed forever.  This includes becoming debt free and funding an emergency savings plan so that retirement investing can be started and finally, the savings towards a child’s education.

Ensure Children Avoid College Debt

I think about debt when it comes to saving for children’s education.  My parents provided much of my college needs and I’m grateful for that.  I know they had to take on some debt to do it, but as loving parents they did everything they could to help position me to leave college with as little student loans as possible.

I want to extend that even further by providing debt free education for my children.  I want to pay for their college with cash so they can leave without us both owing anything!

Building Momentum For Your Children

So, in summary, instead of your children digging, scraping and clawing their way to getting out of debt and building an emergency fund, they could skip some of the Baby Steps or Money Map Destinations and go right into wealth building.

That’s right, have you ever considered the importance of this?  For many of us, we’re working hard to take steps to move forward on our respective journeys.  There is certainly something to be said for hard work.

But, if I we can teach children principles of financial stewardship, practical money management techniques, but also advance them (or start them) further on the Money Map journey, we will have followed the principles from Proverbs 12:22.

Do you plan to leave your children an inheritance?  If so, what steps are you taking today to do so?

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Last Edited: 10th February 2014

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  1. says

    This is a vey important concern of mine–however, I don’t think it should take precedence over yourself. For example, if you are in debt, why contribute to a college fund for your kids?

    You should fix yourself first and then take care of your kids.

    Or so I’ve read in many places
    David/Yourfinances101´s last post ..Blogging for Dollars

  2. Noah says

    I agree with instilling good financial, biblical advice in your children. I also agree that funding their college education is important. However, as long as I have enough to pay for my own funeral and don’t have to be a financial burden on my children when I am alive, it doesn’t matter to me whether they receive anything above that when I die. I don’t want to spend my whole life working hard and being frugal so that I can die rich. I’ll probably own a house by then, but whether I give that to them when I die is something I will decide in the future. I don’t want my children assuming they will get anything because that encourages laziness on their part. Plus, I’ll probably live to be in my 90s and if they don’t have their financial situation under control by their 60s, they never will.

    • says

      Noah, you bring up an interesting point. We definitely don’t want an inheritance to be a substitute for our children learning how to earn and work hard. I would think it’s finding the right balance in providing an inheritance and the timing of making it available to them.

      • Noah says

        I agree. I think the best idea is to put it into a college fund for either children or grandchildren. I guess a will is something that has to be continuously updated depending on how old you and your children are :)

        I’d rather have money go towards a grandchild’s education than simply write my children a $50K check.

  3. says

    Great Post J!
    For me the greatest inheritance you can leave for your child is to teach them how to manage their money. Also as the readers above have noted paying off all my debts and not passing them over to my kids is great; but also understanding that we are it is through our children that we are able to truly demonstrate God’s unconditional love for us.
    It’s biblical thing to do Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.”
    Kick debt off´s last post ..Time to write your will

  4. says

    Well said! It seems the recurring theme is that until we get our own finances under control, leaving an inheritance is only a fuzzy notion. You clarified the hows and whys. I like the idea that an inheritance doesn’t need to wait until you are gone…helping kids through college is an example of a living inheritance.
    I think we all agree that the life lessons we teach our kids is the best inheritance we can give.

  5. Gholmes says

    Yes I plan on leaving an inheritance. I dont want to spend every last penny on myself, then die. My hope along with my kids/grandkids that I can support a couple charities as well leaving a legacy in the family’s name.

    As a family we are doing that by staying out of debt, saving for a 6 month emergency fund, saving 15% for retirement, having term life insurance that is 10 times my income, having a college plan for the kids and getting the mortgage paid off early.

    I will sacrafice short run “fun” experience for the benefits of the long term prize of hearing “Well done good and faithful servant”.

  6. Karen S says

    My mom died and left everything she had to one sister, in a family of 3 children (house, savings, etc.). This obviously caused a lot of hurt and pain in the family beyond the loss of mom. My other sister asked my dad what he is going to do when he dies, and he told her he was going to make sure she (we) get nothing. My dad is remarried and has no other children, and is only concerned with his 2nd wife’s financial situation after he dies. I was raised as a Christian, and both parents are Christians, but is this even Biblical?

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