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"Inheritance" Means a Physical Inheritance
And not just moral values
"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children."
This means a physical inheritance. Property, wealth, resources, etc. If you aren't working to leave your grandchildren something tangible, you are not a good man. You can’t spiritualize the word "inheritance." That’s like the Pharisees saying their wealth was for the temple and then refusing to take care of their parents. Spiritualizing "inheritance" is a disguise for selfishness, lack of planning, and wasteful living. It is a gnostic heresy.
A good man does not burn through his wealth to live the "good life" and leave his children with nothing. However, if he doesn't also leave his children with a spiritual inheritance, his children will squander their physical inheritance. Everyone has seen that story over and over.
A good inheritance will marry physical and spiritual, like body and soul.
"Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck."
Proverbs 1: 8-9
If you don't want to give your son an inheritance because you're afraid he'll squander it, that says more about you than it does about him. After all, who raised your son?
So working to leave your children wealth is not enough. It is not sufficient. But if you want to be a good man, it is necessary.
Notice the first verse I quoted says, “children’s children.” Grandchildren. That means if your father provided you with an inheritance, it is your duty to bless your children (and his grandchildren) with it. You don’t squander it. You take the seeds and use them to grow something even greater. And on and on the cycle goes.
Some Practical Tips
Start small. When you stop buying diapers for a child, start taking that money and putting it into a custodial brokerage account. For us, this was about $40 per month per kid. Start teaching them about it when they are 12. Turn it over to them when they are 18.
Invest in a whole life insurance policy. Not only will the eventual payout (everyone dies) be tax-free, but if you set it up right, you can use it as a personal bank.
Don't cash out of your primary home. Assume your equity is your children's from the start. If you need to downsize, sell your house to one of your kids for cheap. Your home should be paid off at that point anyway.
Start giving your children their inheritance before you die. Look up the tax laws and gifts. You can give a certain amount per year tax-free.
Have a will drawn up and revisit it every couple of years. These can save a lot of stress for those you leave behind.
(None of this should be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial advisor. These are just my opinions.)
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