Over the years, I’ve coached many people. And during this time, I’ve evolved more into wanting to know everyone’s “why” rather than just teaching them a method or technique to do something better (ie: real estate flipping).
As I ask for “whys”, one common thing pops up—either verbally or written in a vision: People want to be successful to leave an inheritance for their children.
Their desire is to leave a large estate (typically measured by money) to their children and grandchildren.
On the surface, a very noble thing to say…
I mean, I’ve dreamed about it myself—I wanted to leave my kids millions or billions of dollars.
Then one day I was hit by an enlightening realization that’s never left me. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, I just know that at some point, I saw clearly.
The “light bulb” didn’t’ come from my students’ desires, but instead I became very aware of the fallacy of my own desires.
My number one reason for wanting to leave a large estate legacy for my kids had more to do with me then it did with them.
I was hit by a sobering realization…
In reality, leaving a legacy isn’t really about you, is it? A legacy is about how you can build others up.
I noticed that in saying “I’m doing it for my kids”, it seemed to elevate my selfish desire for success and riches by adding a sense of selfless nobility to it.
Being completely honest with myself, I realized if I told people I just wanted to be filthy stinking rich, and didn’t care that much about the time I was sacrificing with my family, I would have looked like some heartless, ego-driven jerk.
But, in simply saying, “Hey, I’m doing it for my kids” I instantly became a hero with noble—even enviable—aspirations.
In other words, I was lying to myself.
What a delusion.
I challenge you to be honest with yourself in this area if you say or desire the same thing.
Having said that, I have another larger point I want to make…
A formidable reality…
Imagine that the day I die, there happens to be a very large estate left to be divided up among my children.
In reality, this actually scares me.
It scares me because I see all around me how such events can divide and ruin families.
- It seems like, the more money there is on the table, the bigger the problem they have.
- And when there’s not much on the table , there seems to be more peace (this is not always the case, but often is).
And if the division of the estate doesn’t ruin the family, then many times I see it ruin the individuals—mostly because they are ill-equipped to handle such money.
If all of a sudden, a person (young or old) comes into a large sum of money, and they don’t know how to handle it, it’s more likely to ruin them than it is to enhance their life.
Would you want to leave a large estate for your kids if you believed it could ruin their lives?
Truth be told, it’s unfortunate that many realize the dream of leaving a large estate for their children. The fortunate part is that they don’t have to be around to endure seeing the destruction of lives and/or relationships that often happens afterward.
While building their estate, many never take the time to pass along a financial education to their children. They didn’t teach them how to value money and the proper way to use it.
And consequently, a lot of money in the hands of the ill-equipped just leads to destruction most of the time.
The greatest estate you can leave
When it comes to money, the greatest earthly inheritance you can leave for your children is a financial education. If you give them this, they won’t need your money.
- If you give them money and no education, it could lead to their ruin.
- If you give them an education, and you happen to leave them with money as well, it can do some incredible things.
Finally, if you really want to leave your children the greatest of inheritances, I can’t wrap this up without mentioning that a lasting faith in Jesus Christ is more valuable and secure then anything else you could teach your kids.
It is the greatest of inheritances and should be at the top of the list of the things we want to leave for those we love. This one desire will transform how you see and handle the rest.
And with faith, your kids will be equipped to handle most anything.
Be Blessed! And I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
PS-— Please know, I didn’t write this article to debate whether or not we should leave an inheritance to our kids, and I also understand that there are many scenarios that could be played out here to make different points.
Sometimes someone may inherit a lot and lose it all and it is through that loss that they gain wisdom to do things right moving forward. Sometimes the responsibility associated with an inheritance is what gets people to seek the wisdom and counsel they did not have before.
The point is to start with the financial education, then the rest of it becomes moot.
So, what are some of your takeaways? Are you considering different ways you could build an inheritance for your kids?
I think Biblically we’re mandated to educate and leave finances. I don’t think it should ever be either or.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Perhaps in a sense a form of “wickedness” is to not train one’s own children and therefore the wealth of those who don’t train their children is actually passed to the righteous through all the chaos you mentioned.
Just a few thoughts.
Even more important, in my opinion, is a legacy of faith. If we are not teaching that, all of the money in the world is useless. But wisdom is far greater than money. They can not handle money without it.
Absolutely, I just see them as being both necessary. I suppose if you MUST rank order them, I’d agree: faith, wisdom, money. I’d personally aspire to give them as much of all three as humanly possible.
I agree, but in the right order is very important.
A simple thought on this would be:
‘ I don’t want to deprive my kids of their American dream’
If we try to give them the dream, they will not appreciate it. We can help them but they got to earn it themselves….
Well said Steve, had to change my thinking 180 degrees to see it.
I remember those discussions.
I’ve been praying for your daughter and am glad to hear she is doing well.
Beautifully written as always! I love that you wrote this because it makes me feel I’m not alone in my ideas that I don’t care to leave my kids any money but to teach them the skills to make their own.
P.S. I do not have kids yet.
I promise you when you have kids the struggle in these areas gets real. It doesn’t change what is right, but you will find yourself wanting to give them everything. Have a strong vision on parenting 😉
Can’t read a post about inheritance without recalling Warren Buffett’s quote: “Leave your kids enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing”
Love that quote Mike.
I really appreciate the other way of looking at things. Leaving a legacy for my child and grandchildren was something I thought about. I agree that the education is better than handing them the money, or the business. They would appreciate the money but it wouldnt last as they dont have the education to know how to make it expand and not just blow it. Education is better. That will be one of my steps moving forward.
God was pleased with Solomon when he desired wisdom. In addition to wisdom he gave great riches, but wisdom was first.