Here's an interesting question to ponder, as a parent: Let's say you happen to be "ultra-rich." (No, I didn't make that term up.) "Disposable income" is your middle name. Money up the wazoo. But of course, you can't take it with you, so where do you want it to go when ... well, when YOU go?
The obvious answer would be to leave your beloved children a sizable inheritance. Right? I mean, I'll admit I'm not "ultra-rich," but I've always thought part of the point of BEING ultra-rich is having the ability to provide for your family for generations to come. Or maybe not. Because according to a report from U.S. Trust, Bank of America's private wealth management division, some 32 percent of the super-wealthy "don't feel it's important to leave an inheritance for their children."
Why? Well, some folks planned to donate their money to charity, which is cool, while others figured most of their funds would end up paying for the medical expenses of their old age anyway. But apparently the majority of people who took part in the study didn't want to leave their kids an inheritance because they felt that "each generation should earn its own wealth."
Okay, I kind of get this on an idealistic, teach your kids self-sufficiency, nobody gave me any hand-outs level. Learn the value of hard work, blah blah blah. But what if the economy gets even worse and earning wealth becomes an impossibility? What if unforeseen circumstances arise -- illness, natural disaster, a zombie apocalypse -- and your kids are left high and dry through no fault of their own?
Personally, I think Bill Gates has the best approach (well, he is sort of a smart guy). He's said that his children "will be given an unbelievable education and that will all be paid for. And certainly anything related to health issues we will take care of. But in terms of their income, they will have to pick a job they like and go to work."
Naturally, since their dad is Bill Gates, his kids will probably have way cooler job opportunities than the average young adults. But the concept still applies. Like I said, I'm not ultra-rich, but I hope to be able to provide education (it may not be unbelievable) and health care for my kids, too.
And an inheritance, if I can.
Do you think the ultra-rich should leave their kids an inheritance?
Image via David Beyer/Flickr