Leaving An Inheritance

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As my wife and I went for a walk last evening, we spoke of our grandparents (all now deceased) and then our great-grandparents. In particular, we spoke of how little we know beyond two generations. We then talked about our grandchildren (not yet born) and great-grandchildren, wondering how much impact we will have on them.

Proverbs says, “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.”

On this subject, Larry Burkett wrote this: “If I had to identify the area of Christian finances that is least understood, it would be inheritance. Not only do people wreck their lives by hoarding, but they also wreck the lives of their children and grandchildren with abundant inheritance.”

In ancient times, an inheritance was often necessary for survival. Land being passed down was essential to provide food for the family. Today, an inheritance can be like winning the lottery or a windfall because, in many cases, children are making more money than their parents ever did and are often financially independent.

Ron Blue said, “Wealth never creates wisdom. Wisdom may create wealth. If you pass wisdom to your children, you probably can pass wealth to them. If they have enough wisdom, then they may not need your wealth.”

When we think about inheritance, we usually think wealth. In considering wealth and wisdom, which offers the most value? And which is most difficult to pass to the next generation? Since wisdom can create wealth, it seems logical that it is more valuable than wealth itself. Since wealth without wisdom has the ability to wreck the lives of our heirs, we must consider how best to pass on wisdom prior to passing on wealth.

All of our adult children are planning to be home for the Thanksgiving weekend. They will enjoy Mom’s home cooked meals and endure my Dad jokes while we play games, have a bike ride and go for a beautiful fall walk through the park. I cherish these times together, not just to make fond memories, but I am realizing these times are occasions for discussions where wisdom can be shared. So I am going to be deliberate and intentional about a family meeting in order to learn more about the basis of our values.

Having worked in the financial industry for 25 years, I know the conversation about finances is personal and private, yet these dialogues are so essential. I have some specific questions to ask that will probe deep into the hearts and minds of all of us. I plan to share these questions and the importance of a family meeting in my next blog.

Will you spend this long weekend with your family? What important discussions will you have with those you love?

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