‘Super’ Baby Boomers? Why This Generation Has Financial Superpowers
With a $30 trillion wealth transfer underway, Baby Boomers have the power to shape the next generation’s financial future.
Albert Einstein might be best known for the theory of relativity, but did you know he also had an interest in finance and economics? In fact, he once referred to compound interest as the “eighth wonder of the world.”
Einstein wasn’t wrong; compounding is both powerful and fascinating. When combined with education, it can become a veritable superpower – one which Baby Boomers can wield as they continue making the largest transfer of wealth in American history.
You can learn more about this historic $30 million wealth transfer here, but the real story is what this means for Boomers’ ability to shape the futures of their children and grandchildren. Sure, the dollar numbers themselves are significant, but you should also think of this in terms of legacy. If you’re a Baby Boomer, you want to pass along more to the next generation than simply money. You want to pass on your values and your worth ethic, too.
It Pays to Think Like Einstein
We’re talking about a transfer of wealth here, so money is certainly part of the equation. It pays – literally – to adopt Einstein’s fascination with compounding because it can truly work miracles for your loved ones. For example, let’s say you invest $50,000 for each of your grandchildren when they turn a year old. The math speaks for itself: if those investments earn a simple yearly compounded interest of 6 percent, each grandchild will have more than $2 million to their name once they reach age 65. If your return is higher – say, 8 percent – that would leave each of your grandkids with $6.8 million at 65. Compounding is always powerful, but when you have considerable time on your side it can truly work miracles.
On the subject of miracles, chances are good that your grandchildren think you’re pretty cool! Take advantage of the fact that they enjoy spending time with you and listening to your stories. If you do, leaving your grandchildren a financial legacy also offers the opportunity to leave them something even more meaningful. Talk with them about hard work and how you achieved success. Pass on important life skills and values that made you who you are and make sure they know your expectations about how they will manage their inheritance.
This can be a bit of a sticky subject, and it’s natural to have worries that your grandkids will become entitled and never learn the value of hard work, or that they will squander your hard-earned fortune. The more time you spend with them talking about money and values, the greater the likelihood they’ll understand the responsibility that comes along with financial success.
Go All-In On a ‘Values Transfer’
Sometimes, words may not be enough to properly convey all that you want to, so you should feel empowered to take your “values transfer” further. If there are charitable organizations or causes that are meaningful to you, get your heirs involved from an early age. For example, you could take them along to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter or foster a love of the arts by taking them along with you to the symphony or your local community theatre. The point is to create a connection – both between you and your grandchildren and between your grandchildren and the causes you support.
Travel offers another fantastic opportunity to create a lasting connection with your grandchildren, while also introducing them to the idea of doing good works wherever you go. Having adventures together will make for memories that last, but you can add even more meaning to your trips by injecting a charitable element into each one. For instance, an African safari could feature a day spent helping an NGO supply fresh water to a rural village. Experiences like these provide an educated worldview and gratitude for how lucky they really are.
Don’t Neglect the Details
Sharing your legacy with your grandchildren isn’t just about financial responsibility or even values. It should also be about the details of your hard work. Talk to your heirs about how you earned your money, the type of work you did and what you enjoyed about it, along with the challenges you encountered. If you’re still working, why not bring them to the office once in a while? Understanding just how much effort you put into amassing their inheritance provides a very real education on how money is earned and an important connection to the work behind it.
As you’ve likely heard a thousand times before, you can’t take it with you. So, as you think about transferring your wealth to future generations, make the most of your legacy by exercising your Baby Boomer superpowers, too. Take full advantage of compounding and consider how you’ll transfer your values and work ethic, too. In doing so, you can truly shape the financial future of your grandchildren, while also empowering them to understand and continue your personal legacy, as well.