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A Millennial’s guide to wealth transfer and preservation

It’s Spring… time for renewed growth, weddings, babies, and more importantly: Spring Break! I have heard and read so much about how being refreshed makes you a better co-worker, friend, wife, mother, etc. so I decided to take the family back to a place we have been many times. It’s also a place in which I learn something new each time I visit.

As I wandered through the Biltmore near Asheville, North Carolina this Spring Break, I was impressed at how large the operation has grown. The ownership plan now comprises at least five companies that own various entities on the property, including the newest venture: Antler Village. Plus, the two on-property hotels – all still owned and operated by descendants of George Vanderbilt himself. A few years ago, the estate lost the grandson of the famous estate builder and his wife. As a Financial Advisor, this brought to my mind the number one reason most family-owned businesses fail: they don’t consider the implications of generational tax, wealth transfer, and wealth preservation.

The biggest wealth transfer in history involves you

Now, we’ve all heard that the biggest wealth transfer in history is about to happen. According to Asher Cheses, a research analyst and author, it’s estimated that 45 million households will transfer $68 trillion in wealth over the next 25 years. More specifically, it’s baby-boomer money passed on to Millennials.

Although your assets, business and estate are most likely nowhere in the same dollar range of the Vanderbilt/Cecil Family (and that’s OK!) you also must consider how you will preserve your wealth, possibly for generations – as you are building or possibly inheriting it.

The Millennial wealth transfer and wealth preservation checklist

  1. Form a relationship with financial, legal, and tax advisors early on. In this digital age (that sounds so cheesy but it’s true) you might be doing investing on your own, perhaps on your iPhone, even. But a well thought out financial analysis – by a human being – will shed light on behavioral financial issues and on family dynamics that software simply can’t.
  2. Form a relationship with your parents’ financial, legal, and tax advisors too. Ask to attend a review with your parents to meet their advisors. It can be a hard topic to approach, for sure, but make sure your parents know you have their well-being in mind. Show that you care about how they are tackling things like increasing medical costs – and not just about an inheritance. Keep in mind that the financial advisor is often the center of overall planning, and the coordinator of meetings between other specialists such as tax planners, insurance planners, and so on. This is why I always start with this advice!
  3. Meet with a financial risk analyst. This is a person who will look at everything from health insurance, long-term care, life insurance, homeowners’ insurance, long-term care insurance and umbrella policies. Healthcare costs are estimated to only rise, and this will be a huge factor for both you and your parents. For example – paying for long term care can wipe out an entire estate in a few years. You’ll want to ensure that you and your baby-boomer parents are protected against this expense. Most Financial Advisors can refer you to a specialist they trust and help with the analysis, too.
  4. Create proper estate planning documents for both you and your parents. A Financial Advisor can tell you the basic necessary documents, then refer you to an attorney.
  5. Check your State’s estate tax rules. Some states have much lower estate-tax thresholds.
  6. Consider the costs of travel and adventure. Are you and your parents driven to try new experiences and stay active through the golden years? If so, make sure you meet with a Financial Advisor that works an estate goal into the planning… or you might just cut yourself short at the end if you are dipping into your retirement savings for exciting adventures along the way!

No matter what, wealth preservation needs to be planned

You might say, well I have parents like Warren Buffet, Kevin O’Leary or Bill Gates and I won’t be inheriting a large amount of the family fortune. (In those cases though, even a small amount is huge, but I digress.) On the flipside you might want your parents to spend all their money before they die — and do everything they always wanted to do. Maybe you’re not interested in their inheritance,

But whatever your philosophy, the above checklist still stands. Not just for you and wealth transfer from your parents – but from you to your present or future children. Planning for wealth preservation and transfer will allow you to make the most out of the funds you have while you are here.

As the old saying goes: ”You can’t take it with you!” Ready to start your financial planning? Get in touch!

 

April 2019

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