What types of financial goals have you created for yourself and your family? Maybe you started with the basics –a monthly budget and a savings account. Later, you may have spoken to a financial advisor to tackle credit card debt, build your emergency fund, contribute to an IRA or your employer’s pension plan, and how to open a college savings account for your children or grandchildren. 

If you’re still in the early stages of reviewing your short and long-term financial goals, the idea of building generational wealth and estate planning may not have occurred to you just yet. But it’s important to take a 360-degree look at your financial goals, whether you’re just starting your first job or further along your career path.

Even if you’ve done some research on your own, maybe talked with friends or family about choices they’ve made, how can you be sure you’re making smart decisions with your money? A financial planner, like a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, can help. CFP® professionals are fiduciaries – someone who is obligated to give you sound financial advice without regard to how they may benefit. They will review, adjust, and plan the right strategies to grow and protect your money. 

If you’re working with a financial planner and still wonder if you’ve done everything you could be doing, ask yourself if your financial plan includes multi-generational wealth options? What does that mean and how can you create and manage multi-generational wealth for your family? 

Multi-Generational Wealth – More Than Saving for Retirement

In previous articles, we offered a checklist of 10 questions you should ask your financial planner when searching for someone to help you manage your money. We also discussed how to find the right financial advisor for you. 

In this article, we’re adding one more layer to the mix by diving into the idea of teaching children and grandchildren how to create healthy habits with their money. This will teach them to make better choices now with their money – and later when they receive their inheritance from you – creating a cycle of multi-generational wealth for future generations. 

At Heath Wealth Management, CFP® professional Elijah Heath and his team are committed to the goal of helping clients make smart choices with their money and investments. They take that responsibility one step further by showing clients and their children creative ways to save money. This means they learn to work towards saving money for big purchases instead of buying on a whim. They also learn to plan for the unexpected. Elijah loves finding creative ways to teach these skills while providing added value to his relationships with all his clients. 

Teaching Delayed Gratification With Good Spending Habits

Parents can teach good spending habits by modeling them through their own behavior. Children should see that making certain financial choices has specific consequences, whether the result is good or bad. Learning how to develop good saving and spending habits early is often easier than trying to change or break bad habits later in life. 

This includes plans to not accumulate credit card debt, knowing your credit score, setting short- and long-term financial goals, discussing the reality of student loan debt versus saving for college, having an emergency fund, and saving for retirement as early as possible.  

Financial Goals and the “Marshmallow Test”

Is it practical to teach children how to delay gratification when it comes to money? Perhaps you have heard of the “marshmallow test” conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel at Stanford University beginning in the late 1960s. One version of the test had a researcher offer a 4–6-year-old child a marshmallow as a treat they could eat right away. The researcher told the child if they could wait 15 minutes to eat the marshmallow after the researcher left and then returned to the room, the child would get two marshmallows to eat. The researcher then left the child alone to see if they could wait 15 minutes or if they ate the marshmallow once the researcher left the room. 

The results of the experiment showed that children who were able to wait longer to get their marshmallows – exhibiting the ability to delay gratification – had higher SAT scores and fewer behavior problems later in life. It was believed the ability to delay gratification was essential to a child becoming more self-reliant, self-confident, less distracted, and better able to cope with stress. 

The “marshmallow test” showed that some children, and later adults, already possessed the ability to wait for a “return” on their investment. At Heath Wealth Management, they believe those skills can also be taught through the advice of a trusted fiduciary, such as a CFP® professional.  

Financial Goals Derailed by Technology 

In today’s world, delayed gratification may seem more challenging because technology gives us instant results. You can instantly know the sports scores of your favorite teams, the weather forecast for the weekend, and the balance of your money market account. Years ago, that wasn’t the case. People had to wait for updates on information by mail, by a newspaper, or on the evening news. 

The use of technology essentially teaches us not to wait. Adults and children alike are constantly provided opportunities for instant gratification, which can make waiting seem like an undesirable option. But if we look around at friends and family who made sound financial plans for retirement and their children’s education, we can recognize the benefits of waiting to spend all our money now. 

With the help of a financial advisor, we can learn that essential steps like building an emergency fund, having the proper insurance for the unexpected, and growing our investments over time will be worth the delayed gratification now.  

Model Good Behavior with Your Financial Goals

Children learn some behaviors associated with spending, money management, and making good (or bad) decisions by what is seen at home. This awareness should encourage parents, and other trusted adults in the family, to model good spending and saving behavior for their children. 

Ask your financial planner for ideas on how to teach delayed gratification when it comes to spending and saving for large purchases. Have discussions with your children about why you make certain choices with your money. 

These types of conversations may not come easily at first. Remember the “marshmallow test”, and the reward you and your children will receive when you prepare them from an early age with the financial tools and knowledge they need. Delayed gratification teaches them to make different financial choices that can lead to better long-term financial results. 

Financial Planner Can Create an Education Plan 

You can get a head start before your children and grandchildren are born. How? Talk to your spouse and financial planner about starting education plans for them. Planning and saving now mean your children and grandchildren won’t start their future careers burdened with student loan debt. 

Young parents can start with small amounts going to education accounts and gradually increase the amount as their salaries increase. Grandparents and other family members can contribute to education accounts, too, instead of buying one more toy for special occasions. Read our articles on saving for college and the various types of education saving plans you can consider so your child learns early on the value of saving for a major financial goal in the future.  

How Your Financial Advisor Can Make a Difference 

Wealth management seeks to maximize capital growth through income generation. A trusted fiduciary financial planner will review your financial goals to create a plan for your future and consider ways to establish multi-generational wealth. While the most common objectives for wealth management are retirement and tax planning, these are only parts of the whole financial puzzle. 

Debt management, tax and estate planning, and insurance adjustments are other areas your financial advisor can help protect your financial assets. For example, it might be the right time to downsize your home or find alternative options to pay off certain loans or credit card debt. A fiduciary’s consultation can also help you determine whether you have the right limits and deductibles on your insurance. 

Changes in tax laws, estate laws, interest rates, and more can all affect your wealth management plan. Your accounts are not stagnant—they are ever-changing. If your goal is to build multi-generational wealth but you don’t have the right protections in your comprehensive financial plan, you could lose some or all of what you put into your savings and investments. 

Divorce can have a huge impact on well-made financial plans. This is true whether it is your own divorce or one of your beneficiaries. Consider what may happen in a future divorce where a non-familial spouse is legally entitled to half of the inheritance set aside for your children or grandchildren. It is important to consider the impact of a divorce on the multi-generational wealth you are building.

Preparing for the Unexpected with a Financial Advisor  

There is little use in setting aside money for your heirs if you lose it all to unanticipated circumstances. CFP® professionals like Elijah Heath and his team at Heath Wealth Management work hard to prepare their clients for the unexpected. 

Market downturns, shifts in the economy, and sudden health issues can be financially devastating. Elijah Heath has seen unexpected changes drain a person’s entire life savings because they were unprepared. Those situations inspire him to continuously review his client’s portfolios and advise them on challenges they may never have thought would happen to them. 

Your health during your retirement years is an important consideration. While most individuals are healthy during their early retirement years, the odds of diseases like cancer, an unexpected fall resulting in serious injury, and strokes all increase as people age. These health problems can be both physically and financially devastating. Your financial planner can recommend long-term insurance plans that will provide the care your need should such a health situation arise.  

Most people choose their beneficiaries while they and their children are younger. As you grow older, though, it is possible your children may be at retirement age when you pass away. If this is the case, your adult children may have planned well for their retirement years. This means they don’t need money for major financial events like buying their first house or paying for college. 

Depending on your adult children’s age and circumstances, it may be more beneficial for you to skip a generation and leave your inheritance to your grandchildren instead of your children. This would allow them to enter their early adult years without significant financial debt and begin saving for their own retirement and children’s education. 

This cycle can continue if each generation teaches and models good financial behavior to their children. Then they can also consider leaving their inheritance to their grandchildren, establishing multi-generational wealth indefinitely.  

A good financial plan is one that is flexible. It allows you to diversify your wealth, so you are just as ready for the unexpected as you are for the expected.  

Forging Multi-generational Relationships in Your Financial Plan

Another way to maximize the wealth you pass on to your future generations is to create a relationship between your financial advisor and your children. In most cases, beneficiaries do not retain the same financial advisors as their parents or grandparents did. This means your heirs can end up losing the money you built up for them. 

By keeping the same advisor, your beneficiaries can be aware of the investment status of your accounts. This strategy helps prevent your beneficiaries from making poor choices such as cashing out of investments too early or withdrawing from certain accounts at inopportune times. By keeping the same advisor, your children can retain more of the money you set aside for them. 

Introducing your children or grandchildren to your trusted financial advisor can help them see your advisor as someone they can trust just as much as you do. There is more to building multi-generational wealth than the money itself—it is also about building multi-generational relationships as well. 

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? LET US HELP

Elijah Heath is a fiduciary with an ethical obligation to provide information, products, and services in your best interest, not what earns him the best fee or commission. Heath Wealth Management wants to be your advisor for life so you, your children, and grandchildren all benefit from the relationship.

Call us to learn more, ask questions about your specific circumstances, and determine if we are the right fit for you. Our phone number is 813-556-7171. We can also be reached by email at Elijah.Heath@LPL.com.