Tuesday 25 April 2017

'There has never been a better time to spend the kids' inheritence'

No big handouts: Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana with their children Megan, Matilda, Jack, and Holly
No big handouts: Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana with their children Megan, Matilda, Jack, and Holly
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

They say the first generation makes it, the second generation spends it and the third generation blows it.

Whether true or not, Gordon Ramsay has clearly taken the age-old axiom to heart.

The celebrity chef recently revealed that he won't be leaving his fortune to his four children because he's determined that the younger generation should earn it.

"It's definitely not going to them, and that's not in a mean way; it's to not spoil them," he said. "The only thing I've agreed with Tana (his wife) is they get a 25pc deposit on a flat, but not the whole flat."

Ramsay joins a long line of wealthy celebrities who have publicly pledged not to leave their vast fortunes to their offspring.

Nigella Lawson believes a large inheritance "ruins people" and Sting has described a trust fund as an "albatross around their neck". Simon Cowell said he'll more than likely leave his money to a charity - "kids and dogs".

Yet it's not only the super-rich that are rewriting the rules around inheritance. A shift in sentiment is occurring on every rung of the wealth ladder, and a new generation of pensioner, collectively known as the SKI set - Spending Kids' Inheritance - is emerging.

Rather than leaving their savings aside for their offspring, the SKI set are spending their money on bucket-list holidays, fine wines and sports cars - and it's not a moment too soon.

Sure, an inheritance might make sense if a parent is cared for in the home of an adult child, but, these days, modern parental-filial obligations are very much in favour of the child. Adult children may happily follow tradition by taking a deposit for a mortgage and a few bob for the wedding, yet they'd have reservations about letting mum move in should the circumstance arise.

It's also worth remembering that Baby Boomers - many of them recent retirees - have considerably more on their plates than previous generations. They are caregivers to their elderly parents, babysitters to their grandchildren and, in some cases, financial supporters of their adult children who decided to move home during the recession.

Trinity College Dublin recently published its third Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Tilda) report and the findings make for depressing reading.

While 48pc of adults aged 54 years and over said they provide financial assistance to their adult children, just 3pc said they receive financial support from their offspring. Meanwhile, half of those in the 54-74 age bracket provide regular childcare for their grandchildren, for an average of 36 hours a month.

We may associate retirement with golf and wine tastings, but the reality is that today's retirees are working harder than ever before.

Worse, because of a misplaced onus of care and a culture of ageism, they tend not to speak out about it. In a youth-centric society, we think more about the challenges of the working mother than the challenges of the unpaid grandmother...

The SKI set often feel compelled to justify their decision to spend the money that they worked hard to earn. Perhaps it's time that their children recognised the tremendous burden of care on their shoulders, and justified the decision on their behalf.

Hungry for travel. Please help

Is there anything worse than the sight of a white Western backpacker wearing a pair of Bangladeshi fisherman pants as he treks around Southeast Asia, intrepidly searching for the nearest Wifi zone?

Yes, there is actually, and that's the sight of the same backpacker sitting behind a cardboard sign and begging for money to fund the rest of his trip.

A phenomenon known as 'beg-packing' is on the rise in Southeast Asia, where hundreds of Western backpackers have taken to the streets to appeal for donations to fund the rest of their travels. Meanwhile, dozens of backpackers have launched social media funding campaigns to raise cash for their dream adventures.

There is a very clear line between luxury and necessity, yet it's a distinction many world travellers often fail to make. They think of their travels as a spiritual odyssey rather than a year off work, just as they labour under the delusion that their noble pilgrimage to Happy Coconut's beach hostel should be supported by those who can afford to help.

They say travelling opens your eyes. The beg-packing phenomenon suggests that it shuts down the logic centres of the brain too.

Irish Independent

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