Will you be getting/giving an inheritance?
A recent New York Times article calls attention to a humorous bumper sticker: "I'm spending my children's inheritance." While that sentiment may be a funny one, it turns out to be true in more ways than we know. Our parents, who may have had something to give us at one point, are now spending what they once might have earmarked for us. And it's a trend we'll probably be continuing with our own children. Never mind the Paris Hiltons of the world, who are sure to inherit a fortune if not the earth itself. What about the rest of us? The economy is tanking, and there's no quick financial solution to that. Those of us with retiree parents are finding our parents need what they have just to contend with inflation.
Many parents are doing what my grandparents made a veritable hobby of years ago. They give away their furniture, jewelry and other assets while they're still alive. According to the AARP, 21% of folks interviewed who were born after 1964 thought they'd receive an inheritance, not Grandma's fiesta ware. So what stops the inheritance buck here? Things like the fact that people are living longer than ever, that social security is dwindling and will probably end, that medicare stinks and will probably get worse. Fewer people have pensions and more of them have soaring healthcare costs. All of this and more contributes to a lack of inheritance.
As for me, I'm probably never going to make any money any way, so I won't have anything but a wiener dog and an old Honda CRV to pass on to my kids. I will try to instill in them to instead save, save, save. The American dream is capitalism, and the old American way used to be inheritance. The new American way is to save--because no one is going to do it for you. And while I may not be able to pass on any money to my kids, I've made sure my husband and I won't be passing on any debt either.
What about you? Do you have an inheritance coming, or do you plan on setting one up for your children?
Pic by Tracy O.