I don’t want to make my children rich

Byron MooreMoore for your Money


Question: I’m coming up on retirement in a few years. You may think I’m terrible, but I don’t want to leave my kids a bunch of money. We raised them and they’re all on their own now and I just don’t feel any need to sacrifice our retirement just to leave them a pile of money. So how does that change things when it comes to retirement planning?

Answer: First, I don’t think you’re terrible. I think you’re scared.

And what it changes about your retirement may not be as much as you think.

I’ve had a lot of men tell me what you just told me. But before just accepting that statement on face value, I like to ask a clarifying question.

Let’s say you had $100 million more than you could ever spend, you’re saying you would not want to leave any of that to your kids?

That question often elicits a “Well, if that was the case, sure I’d want to leave them all of that.”

So the issue isn’t leaving (or not leaving) money for the kids. The issue is the belief that the more you plan to leave for your children, the less you’ll have for yourself in retirement. And that’s very understandable. Two bear markets and one financial crisis over the last fifteen years have left many potential retirees shaken and afraid of running out of money.

One way I’ve seen this “‘I don’t want to leave money to my kids’ strategy” lived out is to spend as much money as you want to spend, without reference to how much you actually have. This works great… as long as you don’t live too long. If you happen to outlive your money, you definitely won’t be leaving any money to your kids.

And you also might be moving in with them. Not exactly what you wanted, right?

Another approach allows you to spend the maximum in retirement, yet with a safety net insuring you can never run out of money while you are alive. It’s called a guaranteed income annuity, a product issued by insurance companies.

You give your pile of money to an insurance company, and they guarantee to send you a check for the rest of your life no matter how long you live. Because they are paying you both the interest you earn and a portion of your own principle that you paid into the guaranteed income annuity, once you die, your money is gone.

Or you can take a tad less each month, and they’ll guarantee to send a check a month as long as you or your spouse are alive.

The problem here is that most people don’t want all their money tied up with an insurance company. What if they have a big ticket need (new roof, new car, new hip) but no savings? That sounds a lot like debt to me.

I usually suggest an intelligent, individualized blending of several strategies to maximize your retirement income.

First, understand how to maximize your Social Security benefits for yourself and your spouse. That’s another topic for another day.

Second, to the extent practical, cover your basic income needs with guaranteed income sources, like Social Security, pensions and guaranteed income annuities.

Finally, invest conservatively for longer term needs that will arise over time. If your basic monthly needs are met by guaranteed income, you are freer to accept a bit of price fluctuation while you wait for your portfolio to grow.

I’m just guessing that your kids aren’t your problem, but your fears and concerns are.

The good news is that with some planning and creative thinking, you don’t have to choose between a healthy retirement or a meaningful legacy.

You can be happy aiming at both.

Byron R. Moore, CFP® is Managing Director / Planning Group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Mike Jones is Managing Director / Investment Group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Write to either at 500 East Reynolds Drive, Ruston, LA 71270 or call (318) 251-5800. This newsletter is available via email on a free subscription basis. You can subscribe by clicking here. Direct any questions, comments or suggestions to Byron Moore at bmoore@argentadvisors.com or to Mike Jones at mjones@argentadvisors.com.

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Argent Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. The opinions of any single advisor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Argent Advisors, Inc. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Argent Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is a registered investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Argent Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. Argent Advisors, Inc does not offer tax, legal or insurance advice. If you are a Argent Advisors, Inc. client, please remember to contact Argent Advisors, Inc., in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Argent Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.


Argent Financial Group

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, Argent Financial Group (Argent) is a leading, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm. Responsible for more than $30 billion in client assets, Argent provides individuals, families, businesses and institutions with a broad range of wealth management services, including trust and estate administration, investment management, ESOPs, retirement plan consulting, funeral and cemetery trusts, charitable organization administration, oil and gas (mineral) management and other unique financial services. Headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana, Argent was formed in 1990 and traces its roots back to 1930.

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