The Most Valuable Inheritance

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM, Accredited Investment Fiduciary® |

Legacy planning is among the steps that we discuss as part of one’s overall wealth management plan. A legacy plan means different things to different people, but most envision it as the ultimate transfer of assets, the inheritance they leave upon passing from this great earth.

So then, what is the most valuable inheritance that you can leave for your heirs? Stocks? Retirement accounts? A business?; Life insurance?; Land?; Cash? Collections? While each of these are a generous bequest, the most valuable financial gift is the financial education that you provide.

At ages 7 and 9, we began our sons’ financial educations with an opportunity for them to earn money and eventually to run a small business. I am a firm believer that to understand the value of money, you first have to earn it. Each of our sons had to maintain their own bank ledgers, set goals for saving and spending and shop for the best price for their purchases. They had to learn about taxes, Roth IRAs, college savings, liquid money and investments. Our boys had to count cash and exchange dollars out of their wallets for goods before they were granted a checkbook. They had to write checks and maintain a ledger before they were allowed a credit card. We were generous but never gave them money for things we would not otherwise justify buying for ourselves, even if other parents did. For example, if they wanted more expensive name brands or convenience items, they had to earn the money and justify the purchase for themselves. All of this proved valuable as they grew into adults. Now that they are in career level jobs, they have the foundation to manage larger sums of money wisely.

Likewise as adults, financial education does not stop. Small money management reminders as well as advice and stories of “here’s how we did it” or “this is something interesting” weaves into our efforts to financially educate our children as adults. This is in fact, part of our legacy planning. Afterall, what would the chances be of successfully managing an inheritance of any type if one was not provided with the knowledge of how to manage money? Financial education, I believe, is by far the most valuable inheritance.

LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or

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