February, 2008, .....catching up
I heard that celebrity British cook, Nigella Lawson, has announced that she is to leave nothing of her fortune to her children. That has caused some heated debate in my neck of the woods. Some say their children are precious and must be given everything, others agreed with Nigella and said children must paddle their own canoes and sink or swim (for their own good, character-building and so on) and there are those who had reservations for various reasons and took a middle path. My take on this is based on what my parents told me when I was a teenager viz regarding any inheritance, my mother made no bones about it:
“Your father and I have worked hard all our lives and we intend to enjoy our retirement. When we die, there will be a paid-for house to divide between you and your brother, but probably not much else.”
In reality, circumstances change and what I notice today is that my own children are far better off than we were at their ages (mid-twenties) and I foresee that we shall not be all that well off when we retire but we still hope to be self-sufficient. To this end we have planned and saved as best we could. If we do need help one day - I fully expect my children to chip in. The interesting thing is how my own parents’ circumstances have changed. They have lived to their nineties and have an inflation-based civil service pension, so actually, because their lifestyle now is severely limited for health reasons, they are actually better off than they thought they would be because they have very small expenses, living on my brother’s property now, having a National Health service etc. So we all get very generous Christmas and birthday presents (and I get help with my tickets to the UK.) I’ve actually witnessed cases of children who can’t wait for their parents to die so they can get their hands on the money. How awful is that? My parents have actually dished out as much as they could while they are alive and have thus been able to see how much this has been appreciated and a godsend at the time.
….fast forward to October 2009 after my mother died. She on a whim left a considerable amount of money to her five grandchildren and nothing to my brother and myself, changing her will when she was 83. Perhaps she didn’t know she had so much. Meanwhile, my brother and I struggle on….. Someone once told me your children will always need more than your grandchildren. I hope I remember that.