In Budgeting, Life, Money, Parenting, Retirement, Wealth

Why I am not planning on leaving any money to my child when I die

I seem to get a lot of comments on this post: Why I am not planning on leaving an inheritance to my children.

I suspect that most of the ones who have read the post, are missing the point of it (I even suspect that they don’t even read the post and just skim the title which makes it all the more amusing), so I thought I’d clarify a few points about what I mean.

For the record? I am not a Baby Boomer. *amused*

1. BABY BUN HAS HIS OWN MONEY SAVED

Have you seen his net worth updates alongside mine every month? The Bun is killing it.

He has almost $20,000 and he is only 3 years old. He puts me to shame as I was in my mid-20s before I managed to clear my $60,000 debt in 18 months to $0.

You may be wondering where is all this money coming from if it isn’t coming from us.

Well, it’s from the government to the tune of about $200 a month (baby bonuses and the like). The way we see it, it is HIS money.

We get money from the government for having him, but we didn’t have him for the money, so, we save it for him and for his future.

I then take the money, and invest it. Here’s my strategy for investing if you want to follow it.


2. HE IS NOT GETTING ABSOLUTELY ZERO AT THE END

When I say I am not leaving any money to him when I die, I mean I am not PLANNING on leaving any money left when I die as in actively saving to leave him a huge nest egg, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get my assets, of which I have at least one major one — my house which I paid in cash.

I already have my half of the house paid ($300,000) which I hope will at least keep its value or increase by the time he inherits it, and seeing as he is an only child, he actually gets the whole $600,000 asset (worth in today’s dollars) from both my partner and I.

So getting a house free and clear with no mortgage on it, worth about $600K in today’s dollars when we die in 60 years (one can only hope for a long, wonderful life), is not chump change.

We also did buy the place knowing its value and the location, having purchased it at a premium because of location. I suspect he will do just fine if he decides to sell the asset by the time we both die.

3. I AM NOT LIVING IN POVERTY TO GIVE HIM A LUXURIOUS LIFE

My point is more that I do not want to scrimp and save every dollar, use 1-ply toilet paper, eat food out of cans, and save string in little plastic bags (oh wait.. I do do that), just so he can go on annual trips on spring break on vacation, or get a fancy cellphone plan that even I don’t have, and live it up on my dime.

I am not funding a luxurious lifestyle for him, the way I see my parents’ generation (not my parents of course), have done for their kids. Their kids have the use of a gorgeous home, a pool, all the luxuries of life, and their parents work crazy 80-hour jobs to provide it to them.

I even know a family who bought their son a luxury car (Mercedes-Benz) and they’re only working in a factory, although they work like dogs and do all the overtime they can! Isn’t that insane?

Then I have colleagues (older ones) who are working like dogs to leave their kids a million bucks each, but they have nothing saved in retirement for themselves, don’t take vacations yearly to enjoy their own hard-earned money, but their kids are driving new cars because taking the bus is below them, are talking on fancy cellphones and going on spring break vacations every year to Europe.

W.T.F.

That’s my opinion on that.

I do not want to become a bag lady so that Baby Bun can live like an Emperor. That’s just ridiculous, but it isn’t also to say that I plan on living it up like some Queen and going deep into debt or refusing to give him anything in life JUST SO I can live the way I want to live.

I am talking about a balance here, where I live the way I want to (comfortably when I can), and try to squash my lifestyle inflation, and save for my OWN retirement and life.

He is already getting what I think is a very good life, because we’re shelling out for higher-priced preschools (yeah this is totally happening right now, we just doubled our costs for childcare as I am working), and giving him toys and things he will actually use and enjoy, like a bike.

Or whatever he wants within reason.

What I am NOT talking about is buying him a little electric motorcar to ride around the park, and buying designer baby shoes and custom-made clothing that he will just grow out of in 6 months.

4. I WANT HIM TO BE FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT

Promising him a lot of money when I die is a surefire way to create resentment all around.

He is resentful as an adult that he is not getting it now to enjoy and has to wait until we both kick the bucket, which makes him even more resentful that he has to hope for our deaths to gain that money.

What kind of ridiculous life is that, waiting for your parents to die so that you can finally “start living your life”?

If he isn’t financially independent and self-sufficient by the time he is 40, he will never be, and giving him money, promising him a large inheritance and all this nonsense, is just going to make him dependent on me, and too lazy to work hard if he knows there’s a payday around the corner.

I have family, colleagues and we even have friends who are like this — they’re sadly, all waiting for their parents to die so that they can get their hands on their money.

Ridiculous.

In a way, their parents set them up for a luxurious life but then took it away from them when they were adults by saying: Oh no honey, this 3-bedroom, pool-side bungalow with 2 cars? No no, this is not for you on your minimum wage, this is for people who have worked and saved like us, not for YOU. Sorry, you only get to enjoy it when you’re younger, or if you are dependent on us, but you won’t be getting it now.

..and yet their kids are used to such a lifestyle that they are hit with the shock of realizing that they have to save more money and work like a dog to get what they are already used to.

5. I DON’T WANT TO BE A BURDEN ON HIM WHEN I RETIRE

I do not want Baby Bun to have to worry about us.

I want him to save for his own family, his own life, his own goals and dreams, and not have to think: Is my mother and my father going to be okay? Do they have enough saved? Will I have to take them in when they retire? Are they going to have enough to eat? To pay their bills? To maintain their apartment?

NONE OF THAT should be his concern.

I did not have a child to make him my financial slave, I had a child because I wanted to be a mother and I wanted to have a child to pass on our values.

I did not have him, to pay for me in my old age (although taking care of me like taking me out to lunch or calling me to update me on his life would be nice), and I did not have him to be my retirement plan.

It is a crapshoot. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your children are not investments.

Sure, you can be the best parent ever, do everything you can, stay at home with them, bake for them, teach them how to change a car tire before the age of 10, bla bla bla…. but for all of your best efforts and intentions, they could just very well turn out to be BUMS.

Complete, lazy, unethical BUMS who have never seen the value in an honest day’s of work.

Conversely, you could be the WORST parent ever, and end up with THE BEST kids in the world.

It is somewhat of a crapshoot with children; you cannot control who you have given birth to and who they will become beyond their formative years.

You can only try your best and then send them off on their way to eke out their own journey.

As a parent, I am being realistic. Thus far, Baby Bun is set up financially from his own income from the government being invested, and he seems to be displaying a sense of interest in learning and so on, but let’s face it.

HE IS ONLY THREE YEARS OLD.

Who knows what he’ll become?


I can only be here to help and support him on his path of becoming an independent adult, but one thing is for dang sure.

So yeah, I am NOT planning on leaving ANY MONEY to him when I die.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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15 Comments

  1. Maina mwangi

    Perfectly worded and a good way to teach the kids. In fact all parents should follow your example. My father used to tell us he was educating us to be financially stable , if we so wished to help him in his old age well and good but he said to help ourselves first.( mark you he had no formal education himself ) but was well invested , a successful farmer and lots of hard earned properties.
    I witnessed some kids from a self made millionaire just become drunks and very promiscuous as they cared less about responsibly living as they waited for their dad’s estate. Well, most of them died of aides already and the ones left are hiring lawyers to veto their dad’s will! I believe in providing for my kids to be responsible and productive citizens and the rest will be a bonus! Today I’m grateful for the way we were brought up, working hard and not being spoon fed( spoiled and getting all we wanted) but we were lucky though many to get all we needed!
    Couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the first rude rude comment and I apologise to the writer of the article.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I will not want my child to wait for my estate for sure, that would be my fear. If I told him “you won’t get money until you’re 40” he’s just going to do bare minimum until he is 40. I will instead say – “do not expect anything from me, work on your own wealth”, and then give him money over the years as I see fit/leave whatever is left.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Iza

    I have a question. What do you think about the higher education? Is it free in Canada? Do you have to pay (for the education, not the cost of living during studies?)
    I once have an argue with a girl, because we disagreed about supporting the children when they study – when they choose poorly a field of study.
    In my country the public high education is free (universities), but sometimes you have to pay for it (in private universities – they are worse than public ones, or when you have bad results in the high school you also have to pay to get to public university). Ok, it was the introduction.
    So, the higher education is free, but you have to pay for accommodation, food etc. – a lot of students study in different cities. It is a rule, that parents pay for the living during studies (sometimes students also work during their studies, but it is not a rule) – a lot of money. I remember some people from the time I was at the university, they were treating this time like a long holiday, studying a useless field of study. When I look at my small child I hope I will not have such a problem… but would I support him, if he decide to study sth useless? I don’t think so. But how should I know, what is right to choose? Sometimes even studying medicine or law can be a stupid thing to do. A couple years ago nobody would take seriously a person, who would said: I am going to publish some stuff on the internet and I will get money for that. Now, the youtuber is a regular entrepreneur.

    Reply
  3. Becka

    Why do you get $200 a month from the government for having a baby?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Baby Bonuses. I get about $100 from federal, $100 from the province, and when I top up his education plan with at least $2500, I get back more money for him as a bonus every year.

      That money is meant to go to us (the parents) to pay for childcare, and to help raise the child especially those who are on very tight budgets and incomes, essentially.

      For the money we pay in daycare, we also get a portion of it back, come tax time depending on income.

      Luckily, we don’t need the money, and we didn’t have him for the money, so it goes to his fund for his future.

      Reply
  4. Alice

    I see nothing wrong with this,considering i didnt start with anything, and neither did my friends or family. I wonder what it even feels like to have a financially stable family. It sounds bitter, but in my world we’re just praying that the burden of taking care of our aging parents doesn’t fall on our shoulders earlier than we can handle. Kudos to you for taking care of yourself and and teaching your son what responsibility is.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I don’t want him to feel like he has to worry about us.

      Reply
  5. SarahN

    Eyeroll… Sorry…

    First – you can’t spend every penny perfectly like a holiday – you won’t know when you’ll die

    Second – any good human should be raised in a way that doesn’t bank on possibilities (lottery, inheritance – both of which seem to have happened in your family). I feel like any windfall is just that – a windfall. If i NEVER see a dime from any relatives, I wouldn’t say a word. I have no expectations. It’s like a gift… Be gracious, no matter what.

    I do think it’s a cultural thing – not one race over another, but how you’re raised with respects to money. Just like gifting money at weddings – cultural

    Third – I couldn’t imagine worrying about my parents or relatives in old age. Again, culture. Sure I love them, but I also expect them to manage their finances. I have one grandparents left, but they all did/do manage sufficiently, as do both my parents. I think this is cultural – some nationalities CLEARLY have a filial obligation. Mine does not.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      First — True, but I am not planning on leaving him anything, so I plan on spending and living normally. If there is stuff left over, why not? But I am not scrimping like some bag lady to leave him a million.

      Second — I am HOPING he will be raised properly but who knows these days with kids. You can try your best and they turn out to be monsters.

      Third — I worry all the time about my parents. Just recently my aunt, I had to step in and help out with all of that nonsense recently because she had NOTHING. NOTHING. Just NOTHING. It is shocking but true. Then we discovered when she was younger and stupid, she had no idea about saving for retirement and so on, and she ended up just not thinking about it until it was too late.

      We have a lot of obligations for the child to give back to the parents, both in my and my partners’ culture (French), so it feels like a burden. His mother however has no need for money, and is just happy her kids are all self-sufficient. Mine however, are worrisome.

      Reply
  6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    I think it makes a HUGE difference to children to know that they are going to be responsible for her own lives and their own keep when they become adults, rather than just assuming that they’re going to come into enough money to save their butts from any mistakes they’ve made along the way, so they don’t have to worry.

    I know that having a safety net is important for good mental health, but there’s a safety net like what’s he going to have and then there’s having so much cushion that you literally cannot bruise yourself – and therefore never suffer any consequences, and never learning from your mistakes as a result.

    I’ve often joked that our money is OUR money, it’s not JuggerBaby’s and ze would do well to know ze doesn’t own anything ze hasn’t earned on zir own. I’m only partly joking. Ze does have to learn that independence and that’s only going to happen if we teach it, by words AND example.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Exactly. Words & example. Mostly example. Baby Bun the other day screamed (crying) that he didn’t want Mommy to go to work. I had to try and explain to him that Mommy had to work because if he liked going on the bus and taking the train, it isn’t free and Mommy needs to make money to pay for all of that. He screwed up his little face and tried to understand the concept, repeated it, then burst into tears again when I tried to leave but at least the seed is planted.

      Reply
  7. Lyn

    I got a bit of shock when I see the title. Not judging, just that without inheritance things are going to be real harsh for the next generation. But knowing that he actually going to be wealthy then you when he’s 20. I say you already left him a trust fund.

    Reply
    1. The Luxe Strategist

      Why will things be automatically harsh for the next generation without an inheritance? It sounds like Sherry is going to teach her kid financial responsibility. So, in that case, he’ll make his own money and won’t need an inheritance any way.

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        Here’s to hoping he isn’t a bum.

        Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      If they’re harsh he better learn how to make his own way. He can’t depend on me. Who knows what will happen? I may end up getting sick and have nothing left to give.

      Reply

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