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Why Leaving an Inheritance for Your Children is So Wrong!

Updated on February 5, 2012

Is leaving money to your loved ones when you die going to do more harm than good? If you have ungrateful and bitter children, then leaving an inheritance is definitely a bad idea. For many "baby-boomers" (born 1949-1964), the thought of retirement and giving an inheritance is a big dilemma, especially in today's economy. Some parents have to endure living with their bickering children who are fighting about their inheritance while they (the parents) are still alive.

Many retirees should think twice and here are the reasons why giving an inheritance is so wrong:

No Money to Give=No Problem

Parents, you have to admit that your ungrateful and bickering children don't deserve what YOU earned for a long time. Whether you are a new or future retiree, you should re-think about giving an inheritance because how can you "live well" when you retire? Are you planning to live poor and destitute, knowing that you have money for your children lying around? Heck no! You earned that retirement money so enjoy it.

In a survey among the nation's millionaire baby boomers, the U.S. Trust , an investment firm, found that 49% of wealthy seniors said it was important to leave their loved ones an inheritance. The firm was surprised with the low results since they spent decades preaching to their rich clients about the importance of leaving money to their heirs.

Many retirees are finding that leaving money to their children tends to tear the family apart! If the children are bickering now about their inheritance while you're alive, what makes you think they won't be arguing after you're dead?

Parents, you're better off leaving nothing rather than see the heartache of your children arguing over their inheritance.

You Gave Enough Already!

Parents, by the time you retire, you can think back that you did enough for your children in order for them to survive as adults. You paid for their College education, helped with the down-payment for their new house, and gave money to them for life's necessities, so that's enough already!

You gave them everything they needed to start their lives, so once they reach adulthood they would have full-time jobs, a family, and a good income. You've done your job to get them "on their two feet." After giving all you can financially, what the kids do from that point is their responsibility, not yours!

Rest easy cause you did your part to help your kids. You're going to be retired now so it's time to "help yourself" for a change.

"Retirement" Has A New Definition

Retirement means "no more money to you after I retire cause I'm spending it for MY RETIREMENT!" Yep, your days as a "human ATM cash-machine" is over cause you're now on a fixed-income and living off your retirement money from here on out!

Tell your kids on the day you retire, " my money has been retired too!" Your money that you earned so well will now be used for bigger and better things in your new life.

Besides, with today's economy, times are tough and most retirees are NOT retiring with the amount of money like previous retirees did years ago. You need the money to take care of yourself, not save it for an inheritance.

Do you think that your children will be able to care for you the way you want to be cared for? Fat chance. They'll probably put you in a care home so fast that it would give them free access to your money!

Your needs to retire comfortably should be a priority and that's where your retirement money comes in handy. After all, you earned it, so enjoy it the best way you can.

Do yourself a favor by shutting down that "ATM cash machine" that your kids depended on. You're not their "sugar daddy" anymore.

You Earned it, Spend it!

You earned it, so go and spend it and have fun. Take that trip overseas that you always wanted. Renovate the house that you're going to retire in. Add that entertainment/living room you always wanted and build the kitchen your spouse always wanted.

Start a new project like sprucing up the garden or building a new tool shed. Take up a new hobby like photography, take some photography classes, and buy the most expensive camera!

Buy that luxury sports car you wanted. Give your spouse a new car of her own. Go on cruises and places you've never seen before.

Just think, all that money you were saving for the kids' inheritance is now becoming YOUR INHERITANCE that you earned.

Have Fun with your Money, Die Happy!

When you finally "kick the bucket in the sky," you can rest easy that you did the best you could to help your children. You nurtured them, cared for them, and gave money to them when they needed it. The children will be fine.

Besides, if you gave the kids a "ton of money," they'll end up squandering it away anyway.

So leave them NOTHING, which would remove one less thing for them to fight over when you're gone.


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    • profile image

      Some children CAN b VERY ungrateful!!! 2 years ago

      some children can b VERY ungrateful!!! Sad but true!!!

    • profile image

      Martha 2 years ago

      hahaha it the same with daughter (some) most children are the way u explained!!!!

    • profile image

      Dreamer33 2 years ago

      I would have not agreed with this article before. But now, 61 and with 3 grown sons - 2 of them - completely ungrateful, I feel this article has got it right. I love my 3 sons. I've been a good mother, a great mother as a matter of fact. However, once they got into a relationship, had their own families, their visits or calls are becoming less and less frequent. On mother's day, I went to ER with severe back issues. I managed to let them know I would not make it to our "planned lunch" at a restaurant. They live between 1-26 miles from me. However, there was no visit, not a "rain check" on the lunch or "can I bring you something to eat since you cannot even move" - nothing. I'm not angry. Just disappointed. I do love and will always love my kids. However, don't plan on leaving them a cent. Whatever little I have saved is for my old age - don't plan on asking them for anything. If I have to go and work at Walmart at 80, I'll do it. Wonder how different my story would be if I had had daughters :-(

    • Paul Bisquera profile image

      Paul Bisquera 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great comment Monica. Your grandma's situation is quite common today cause it is also happening to my grandmother, my extended family's parents, and it even happened in the 1800s to my great, great, great, grandparents! It's so sad in these uncertain times.

    • profile image

      opinion 5 years ago

      If you feel your kids should take care of you should you run out of money then you should likewise feel you should leave whatever money you have left over when you die to your children. I don't believe in giving children money at an early age, however what is the point of not leaving it to them for their own retirement. The world is an uncertain place, both generations should look after each other. However, all children should be treated equally in a will, or they will end up hating each other.

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 5 years ago from Salt Lake City

      My grandma is getting older and my parents/aunts and uncles are always positioning to see who ends up with the loot. It's honestly so sad. I wish my grandma would just announce that she is giving it all to charity. Everyone would be better off.

    • Skiffer profile image

      Skiffer 6 years ago from North Jersey

      Hi Paul -

      Yes, I am right there with you on the "I have all I need, and most of my 'wants' in life have been fulfilled." - so that is my reasoning to hand everything over to my sons and not try to spend everything I have needlessly just so they don't get anything.

    • Paul Bisquera profile image

      Paul Bisquera 6 years ago from Los Angeles


      The article was based on my observations of some extended family members that are going through some issues concerning money that they would inherit from their parents. In their case, money was breaking up the family and it was too bad that their parents had to see this before they die.

      The article is also based on the concept of "leading a person to learn how to fish so that one could survive" and also on the concept of what birds do when they teach the young'uns how to hunt for food and survival techniques.

      I'm happy that you are receiving a trust of some kind. Not many of us retirees will have any money to spare in today's economy. My parents live on a fixed-income and I told them to spend their money because I've already benefited from their generosity of a College Education, a home, and other things. Besides, I have a job, a family, and all the necessities to survive, thanks to them. I don't need anything more.

    • Skiffer profile image

      Skiffer 6 years ago from North Jersey

      Yes, a very interesting hub. My mother already has mine and my brother's inheritance all planned out. He is getting his placed in a 401K account and I am getting a Spend Thrift Trust (means I get a monthly check of only the interest on the account and can never touch the principle). To me, at this point, what's done is done. So, the money has actually already been divided up, just that neither my brother or I can touch it until she dies. Whatever. To me, that just means she has to pay the taxes every quarter on it, not me.

      Don't we all want to provide for our kids - give them a better life than what we had. I know that's what I want for my two kids. I don't want them to go through what I have been through.

      Their lives will be all set once I die and the principle of my Spend Thrift Trust fund, left to me by my mother, has been divided between them.

      Personally, I thought your post was a little egocentric.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      These are all interesting points. I do feel that the best gift I can give my children is if they do not have to support me in my old age!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 6 years ago from Western NC

      Interesting hub. I grew up around a nursing home and my mom always said, "spend the money - you can't take it with you". This makes me think more about what she said. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.