Any money left when you die is money that’s wasted, that could have been spent on experiences, a more comfortable retirement or given away so that someone could say “thank you” personally.
A few years ago I was advising a retired couple who had inherited some money, had no children of their own, their pensions were enough to live on and they weren’t touching the investments that we had set up for them. As part of our financial planning review I checked that they had up to date wills. They proudly told me that, in their wills, most of their money going to buy and equip a new boat for the local Lifeboat station. I pointed out that they had enough money to buy that boat now without it affecting their lifestyle in any way. Buy it now and see it launched I said. But no. They simply wouldn’t. They couldn’t bring themselves to part with the money they’d inherited. “After we’re dead’ they said. So their Lifeboat station had to wait 10 years for that boat.
There’s an old Chinese tradition of putting money into the coffin in case the deceased person needed it in the afterlife. How thoughtful is that? But they’re not stupid. They use paper money (‘joss’ money) because they know their relative can’t spend it. They keep the real money to be used by the living.
We don’t advise our retired clients to give all their money away during their lifetime. What we do suggest is that we work out a Spending & Investment Plan for themselves first. Check there’s enough for themselves and build in a safety margin but then consider gifting.
That’s what we do. We prepare Spending & Investment Plans for our retired clients to leave them free to consider ‘gifting with a warm hand’.