There is a lot of discussion about Millennials today…from being employees to their lifestyle. They look, act, and think very differently from their “Boomer” parents. “Estate Planning” is something viewed as being for their Boomer parents, not Millennials. This couldn’t be further from the truth…there are several reasons why Millennials need an Estate Strategy as much as their Boomer parents…just for different reasons.
Millennials have a lifestyle that focuses heavily on “experiences/adventures”, “values”, and “social issues”…different from their Boomer parents. Boomers, for example, wanted to find a good job and stay in it for their entire career if possible. Millennials will most likely have between 10 and 20 jobs throughout their career. They see no issue in switching for something that is more beneficial to them and their causes. Many have called them the “me generation” because they care very much about how their generation is experiencing life that meets their needs. Very different from their parents and the Boomer generation who were much more “planning” oriented.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound like Millennials would really care about an “Estate Plan” like their parents would…but should they? This is the question that has come up a lot from both the parents of Millennials and Millennials themselves. We agree…an “Estate Plan” isn’t what Millennials need. However, putting together an “Estate Strategy” that encompasses all their needs and desires for today and into the future has been incredibly valuable to Millennials. Most of our discussions reveal areas they should think about to help them mitigate their risks over time so they can enjoy the lifestyle they are living. This doesn’t happen with putting a bunch of documents together like their parents (Boomers) have…it happens because it’s a “strategy” that fits their goals and desires. What does this look like exactly?
First, it’s important to remember that there is going to be a $30 Trillion transfer of wealth to Millennials over the coming years…that’s right, Trillions, not Billions. What are they going to do with this and how are they going to plan for this massive influx of wealth? An Estate Strategy helps them understand what options would be available for them based on their particular need and lifestyle. But there’s more…
What’s important at this stage in a Millennial’s life is to provide education and information about the far-reaching benefits of having a strategy for their future. Whether they are still in college, recently graduated, buying a first home, or starting a family, a strategy can help put some structure around their thinking to help them achieve their goals. Here are a few more things we highly suggest Millennials think about and make decisions on as part of their overall strategy. While this is just a partial list, I hope it at least gets you thinking that there is much to discuss…well beyond throwing some documents together.
- Designating a guardian for children
- Protecting family assets in the event of a divorce
- Protecting online accounts and digital assets
- Keeping a legacy business or new business in the family for future generations
- Maintaining privacy of assets (since trusts aren’t public record)
- Avoiding probate
There are countless reasons and benefits of starting the strategic discussion today for Millenials…period.
Even if they don’t stand to inherit significant wealth, they should start a dialog to gather information and understand what options they can start to put in place today that can have overarching benefits to them in just a few years, let alone down the road later in their life. Much of this strategic thinking will be based on life circumstances that are applicable right now. It is also a great exercise that can help millennials live more empowered lives now and in the future. Retirement and end-of-life years are not top of mind for Millennials…so why throw documents at these issues. But when a Millennial has access to information, they can better understand where they are in life and what works specifically for them…their own “custom suit.”
My recommendation to any Millennial is to NOT DO AN ESTATE PLAN…but START BUILDING AN ESTATE STRATEGY that allows you to live your life while mitigating your risks so you don’t have to worry about these issues as you enjoy life. It’s easy, simple, and helps get your thinking organized around the aspects of life that are important to you today and in the near future. A great place to start is to take our Complimentary RISK ASSESSMENT PROFILE to see just where you are with regard to minimizing the risks in your life. It’s a great place to start…