Inheritances – a relic of the past?

A touchy subject I suspect, as I know of quite a few Boomers, Gen Xs and Ys that are counting on inheritances from the Zoomers and then down through the other generations, to fund their own financial independence. Numerous studies have pointed to the trillions of dollars currently in the hands of the rapidly aging Zoomers and old Boomers that will be left to the younger groups – but will that actually happen?

Having been in this industry for more than 40 years, I have seen first-hand the results of inheritances – some that were positive experiences but most, regrettably, were not. One situation comes to mind where a young person inherited close to $900,000 from a parent – it lasted less than 9 months and accomplished nothing other than totally wrecking multiple vehicles worth more than $500,000, some outlandish trips and spending sprees – nothing was left from the hard work of the parent’s lives. Was this what was intended? Most certainly not.

Speaking with more and more Zoomers and Boomers, the attitude seems to be far closer to the well-known bumper sticker: “We’re spending our kid’s inheritances.” But why is this happening? Even the multi-billionnaires are getting into the act with various pre- and post-mortem gifts being planned as the Jimmys, Sir Richards, Bills and Warrens are donating massive sums to charitable foundations rather than pass it all to family and/or friends.

But these people aside, why the apparent change in attitudes towards leaving an inheritance to family members? Could it be that parents are recognizing they gave everything to raise their children, pay for food, clothing, shelter, education, etc.? Gave them the love and caring support they needed to reach adulthood? Could it be that increasing longevity has made people aware that their first priority is not to become a burden on others? Could it be that people are looking to enjoy more in their post-employment lives that has been the case in the past 60 years?

Are we now awakening to the true cost of caring for ourselves as we age? Are we finally recognizing that the various levels of government will not provide the standard of care to which we feel entitled?

I certainly don’t have the answers and my guess is that there are many factors at work. What I do know, however, is that very few Gen Xs, Ys or Millenials are going to lie in the lap of luxury when their parents finally pass away.

A mentor once told me something very profound – every monkey has to hang by their own tail. Is your tail strong enough to support you?

Not financial – but personal – bullies are cowards – never let them win!!

Amanda Todd’s recent suicide struck home for me. Then the utlimate in cowardly, vile bullying took place – apparently other students and classmates vilified her after her death. I say “apparently” because police have not yet tracked down who made the posts – but regardless of who made them, they deserve the harshest punishment available – and our laws badly need strengthing in this area.

Also police need expanded powers, under proper control of course, to use every means available – electronic and otherwise – to track these people down. The BCCLA and similar groups always seem to forget the victims – they worry more about protecting the guilty than ensuring they don’t EVER repeat their offences. Put your focus where it belongs for once! Then our judges have to have the guts, courage and some reasonable level of sanity and common-sense, to impose first punishment – and later some rehabilitation – but punishment comes first.

Amanda is nor the first, and unfortunately she will not be the last. Why? Because not all parents care about what their children are doing. Not all parents bother to teach their children right from wrong. Not all schools (teachers, principals, staff – everyone) watch for signs of bullying and deal HARSHLY and SEVERELY with the bullies involved. Not all parents bother to learn about bullying – or if their child is either a bully or a victim until it is too late. Not all parents supervise everything their children do on-line – on the web, twitter, social media, flash-mobs, etc. Not all parents bother to learn about cyber-bullying.

Not all law enforcement and other first-responders have been trained to identify signs of bullying – either victim or perpetrator. Not all medical people have been trained to identify bullying and the resulting physical and mental damage and eventual destruction, victims will face.

Politicians can’t agree on the time of day or the shape of the table to use for a meeting – but can’t – for ONCE – they stop petty party-politics and do something for victims of bullying? Can’t they for once deal forcefully with those who bully others?

Political will is lacking – or rather the will to deal with the problem outside petty politics is lacking. Everyone wants to be seen as the champion but no-one bothers to act. Committees don’t solve problems. Inquiries don’t solve problems. Studies don’t solve problems – and neither do working groups or any other such actions.

This needs to the part of ALL school curriculums starting in elementary school – regardless of religion, private or public schools. There are bullies of every race, colour, creed, religion, faith, political stripe and sex. There also needs to be consistency in dealing with bullies. Leaving it up to each organisation or school or school district to set their own “remedies” is not the answer. And regardless of legislation, it is time to “name names” for many reasons, not the least of which is to ensure there are consequences for actions and that potential victims can be protected. Let’s refocus our energies on victims and rehabilitate the offenders second.

The effects of bullying last the rest of your life – they affect your personal life, your relationships, your career – and they do impact on both mental and physical well-being. A victim never recovers – just as the victims of child-abuse, pedophilia, etc. – NEVER completely recover. They are changed people – forever. I know first hand – I was bullied for 5 years in junior and senior high school – and it affects me today.