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The Perils of Relying on an Inheritance

Dollar Bills and a Golden Egg in a NestIn reviewing, The Nest, a novel he describes as “a comedy of filial greed and affection,” Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles, starts out with citing facts about the “wealth transfers” that will take soon take place in the U.S as the Baby Boomer generation passes on. If you have ever dreamed of an inheritance, you may only think about you would do if you received one. You may think very little about the effects of leaving an inheritance but if you are in a position to do so, you should. There are perils to relying on an inheritance.

Charles writes that this novel, which is being published with a lot of advanced praise, “revolves around the four Plumb siblings who have built their adult lives on the promise of a trust fund set up by their late father.” That is a great set-up for writing a story but not a good one for living an adult life. (Charles even gives a shout-out to financial planners: “Certified financial advisers use a technical phrase to describe this plan: Counting Your Chickens Before They Hatch.”) Do your presumed heirs live in anticipation of money, perhaps even foregoing responsibility because they know they will be financially provided for?

As with any good story, the writer must throw in conflict. In The Nest, the conflict that gets the story going is the revelation that the money these siblings have waited for may not be theirs after all. One of them has gotten into a great deal of trouble and before they know it, most of the nest egg must be used to make amends.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and since that saying may prove real, you owe it to your heirs to a) do some estate planning b) consider them as individuals as you do it.

And if you are someone who is taking on debt and waiting for the day when you’ll receive an inheritance or some other windfall, consider that you are not guaranteed to receive this money. Financial planning and good money management are more of a sure thing than the promise of money in the future.