With a family of six, people ask me if things are more difficult.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that it is actually EASIER.
Yes, as a man who has been married for nearly 15 years with 4 children, it has been a journey trying to make sure that I build up a strong family unit. And with that comes the responsibility of dividing up the workload amongst those in that unit.
When my son does laundry, everyone benefits from a warm towel after a shower.
When my daughter cleans up the living room, everyone enjoys a clean space to watch a movie.
When my other sons, who are 5 and 4 years old, dress themselves, it frees up everyone else's time to focus on their hygiene.
When we all contribute, it has a greater impact on the goal than if just one of us is carrying that workload.
One of the biggest threats to a person's net worth is not bad investment decisions or even taxes. The biggest threat is a communication breakdown between generations. If you were fortunate to attend my webinar 3 Secrets Every Christian Should Know About Finance , I told a story of an elderly lady who inherited a million dollars from her uncle. She lived a frugal life, depriving herself of even a new mattress, trying to preserve her wealth. Due to the death of her only daughter from cancer, and a widow herself, when she passed, her despised son-in-law inherited her assts. After failed businesses, poor financial choices, and blowing the money on trips with his new "girlfriend", he was able to dwindle her $4 million account down to $100,000 in only 18 months. Not only that, by year two, he was broke, the account was down to zero and he was taking out payday loans.
That was over 60 years of savings and work, gone in 2 years because of a communication breakdown.
There were no estate documents, there were no Wills, there were no beneficiaries listed, and there were no instructions on how to use the money.
I get asked all the time about strategies to help open lines of communication amongst your heirs. Keep in mind, they don't have to be your biological children. In that same webinar, I share a story of how one investor left her fortune to her niece and godchild, even though she did have biological children of her own.
Every story doesn't have to be a tragedy. You have the opportunity to make a difference in your life and the lives of your beneficiaries.
The Family That Gives Together, Stays Together
It is never too early to start talking to your beneficiaries about giving. It is a great idea to start developing ideas about how you are giving and why. My grandmother passed of Alzheimer's disease. My uncle passed of the same thing. My father's greatest fear is that he may also suffer from this disease. Seeing my family hurt mentally, spiritually, and financially due to this horrific disease that strips the presence of a person and only leaves them a shell of themselves, guides my giving.
My family understands that.
Organizations like the Alzheimer's Association mean the world to me. So we participate in fundraising walks, we donate to their causes, and we help spread the message and provide support for those who are struggling with this disease. And when the day comes that I pass away, my children know exactly how to honor and carry on my legacy. And it won't be by putting my money in a savings account or not touching it.
When you involve your children in your giving, it sets the standard by which you want them to operate in your absence.
This will help ensure, especially if you have the trust in writing, that what you want to happen, happens.
Values Over Organizations
Before you go rush out and open a charitable trust or educational trust, it is important to understand why. If you don't have a trust already, during the process, it is a great opportunity to teach your beneficiaries the criteria by which you are choosing these organizations. Organizations change, leadership changes, and policies changes but values don't.
So when the organization is no longer upholding its end of the bargain, your children will know how to pivot in the right direction.
When giving, make sure you involve your children.
Let them know your thought process.
What amount did you give to an organization?
How often do you give to them, and why?
This will help them develop their own process that they can use when managing your legacy.
In wealthy families, this legacy of giving can last for generations if done properly. And of course, those descendants can establish their own ways of giving, while at the same time participating in the family business of philanthropy. But it starts with bringing them in and establishing what values the family is going to base their decisions on.
I love this excerpt from Philanthropy Daily in an article by Rebecca Richards:
Not every family will prioritize maintaining strict adherence to an original donor intent but developing a set of principles to drive thoughtful philanthropy creates a giving ethos with a sense of continuity. The practice of philanthropy is also one way to strengthen family ties, rather than let conflict over money tear them apart. By establishing good habits early on, prioritizing time spent together, and refining their values, families can cultivate a spirit of generosity that carries forward.
Hebrews 13:16- Giving pleases God
It says in Hebrews 13:16 "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." God depends on us to carry on his legacy of giving. We don't want to neglect this responsibility and we don't want our children to neglect it either.
Remember when I spoke about my children doing their part?
Well, your beneficiaries will need to do their part but that standard comes from you. If we do not show them how to be cheerful givers by example, they may end up ruining your legacy and losing everything that you worked so hard to accumulate.
My word of encouragement today is to speak up. You may not feel comfortable letting them know how much money you have out of fear of bickering and arguments. But if that is your fear, then it is even more important that you have that conversation because they are going to fight, if you are there or not.
I hope that you have been blessed. God loves you and he knows that a family who gives together, stays together.
If you need a plan for your gifting strategy, schedule a consultation with a Christian Advisors with A.B. Ridgeway Wealth Management and start making your donations count!
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About the blog:
Many Christians struggle with the seemingly conflicting views about our faith and the pursuit of financial gain. They were taught that poverty was piety and that a lack of money was the only way to truly detach themselves from the love of money. Our blog debunks some of those claims, teaches you that you can be rich and righteous, and at the same time fulfill your obligation to tithe and give to the less fortunate. We are dedicated to helping you become cheerful givers by organizing your personal finances, providing investment tips to help you create wealth, and encouraging you to create a gifting strategy that will make your family and God proud.
Meet the Author:
A.B. Ridgeway, MBA (email@example.com) is the owner and Christian Financial Advisor with A.B. Ridgeway Wealth Management. With a decade in the finance industry, his goal is to give believers clarity around the most confusing topic in the Bible, money, and tithing. A.B. Ridgeway helps tithing Christians become cheerful givers but unlocking their money-making potential, so they can prosper and be the great stewards of the wealth God has entrusted them with.
This communication is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy, hold or sell any financial instrument or investment advisory services. Any information provided has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of any description of securities, markets or developments mentioned. This is strictly for information purposes. We recommend you speak with a professional financial advisor.