From time to time, when reading the advice columns, I read articles about parents who are concerned that they are spending too freely in retirement and will have little money to leave to their children when they die.  Sometimes, there are even letters from grown children who are concerned that their inheritance is being spent.

My personal thought on this is that children are not entitled to an inheritance.  I’ll make an exception for young children left under the guardianship of others when you die.  In this case, it would definitely be good if you were able to leave some money (such as life insurance proceeds) to cover the cost of raising the children.  But if your children are grown, married, and established in their careers, should they really be leaning on you for financial support?  Probably not.  They should really be flying under their own power at that point.

Some people seem to be under the impression that financial assets are the most important thing parents can leave to children.  I sincerely hope that I am remembered for more than a financial bequest after I die.  I’m hoping my children will be able to look back at life skills they have learned from me and memories of times we spent together.  If money overshadows the non-financial gifts, I’d consider that a colossal failure.

For those of you who are worried about spending yours kids’ inheritance – don’t worry about it.  It’s your money, earned by decades of hard work.  You’re certainly entitled to spend it to enjoy your retirement years.  Take that trip to Europe you’ve always dreamed of (or whatever it is you’ve always dreamed of).  You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that your children actually prefer that you spend the money on yourself.

If you’re one of the kids who worry that your parents are spending money that is “rightfully yours” – I’d recommend spending 99 cents to buy the song The Will by Mark Chestnut.  Listen to it a few times and maybe your perspective will change.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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