Do you think you should give your children the financial comfort which you, perhaps, didn’t have? Or do you think that they should make their own way in the world? What is the right amount of money (if any) to give? And when and how should you give it?
These are just some of the questions which parents have been asking themselves for generations, and they are questions which often come up with our clients. So, we have decided to share from our experience some of the most commonly asked questions in relation to passing on wealth, and also share with you seven ‘top tips’ which have greatly benefitted our clients.
Each tip goes into some detail so we have split them up into a series of blogs. We hope you will enjoy digesting them at your leisure!
There are some things we can help you with. We can help you work out how much you need to live on for the rest of your life. And once we know that, we can help you work out how much money you could give away if you wanted to. We could then tell you how to give it away. But how much you should give is a personal issue. It very much depends on your own views.
According to one commentator, Richard Downs, founder of Iglu.com, the ideal is to aim for the middle ground, as he recently expressed in the Financial Times: “The best thing you can do is to give the kids a great education combined with love and support, and help them secure their first home and enjoy life. The challenge is to provide a safety net without encouraging a sense of entitlement. Ultimately, if it is my children or the taxman, I guess I would go with the children”.
Some people take a more extreme view. The challenge for most, however, as Downs says, remains finding that balance between providing “a safety net” and “encouraging a sense of entitlement”. This is a view endorsed by Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and one of the world’s richest men, as revealed in his own comment on how much to leave the kids: “Enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing” (Fortune magazine).
But how on earth do you decide what that is? If you now fear that this is all much more complicated than you thought it was, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Next week we look at what our experience shows us parents are worrying about.
Richard Wadsworth is a Chartered Financial Planner at Carbon. Contact Richard via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with your local office.
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