BluSpli 06-10-149      


Giving Money and Things to Your Children Without Ruining Their Lives


Ron Blue

Northfield Publishing, 2004, 209 pp.  ISBN 1-881273-05-9


Ron Blue helps people incorporate biblical wisdom in developing and planning to meet their financial objectives.  He is author of several books on finances, including Master Your Money.  The book provides a readable and helpful overview of personal financial planning.  Much of it deals with family relations, the importance of giving, and God’s principles and promises. (20)


Older people often fail to prepare their heirs and younger people are reluctant to ask if they can be of assistance as their parents prepare for their aging years. (17)


$41 trillion of wealth will transfer to another generation in the next 50 years. (18)


“Some adult children are about to inherit a sum that has the capacity to change their lives—for better or worse.  Some charities may—or may not—receive bequests that could help them make lasting spiritual, cultural, or medical changes.” (19)


“It’s probably better to avoid ‘fixing’ things for adult children by ‘buying’ solutions.” “We as parents can encourage, support, pray, and offer some assistance along the way, but grown children, particularly married children, need to be running their own lives.” (32) 


The wealth you leave to your children when you die will have more impact on the 2nd and 3rd generations because your children will probably already be in their sixties and have their life patterns established. (33)


I believe that God has blessed Americans so that they could fund the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”  The late Larry Burkett  (34)


We are responsible to research, choose, and support charities, mission organizations, or individuals with the wealth God has given us. (34)


“…it seems more wealth creates more opportunities for failure.”  “My observation is that the proportion of Christians finishing well diminishes with the increase of worldly wealth.” (35)


Wealth Transfer Decision-Making Process (and outline of the book) (37)

1.      Life overview – The Why

2.      Decision 1 – Transfer – To Whom

3.      Decision 2 – Treatment – How Much

4.      Decision 3 – Timing – When

5.      Decision 4 – Title – What

6.      Decision 5 – Tools and Techniques – How

7.      Decision 6 – Talk – Communicating the above


Worksheet to calculate your wealth: p. 42-43


Rely on biblical principles to guide your decisions for each of the above. (44)


“One of the most useful exercises you can do is write out a mission statement for your life.  Write down your life purposes.” (46) 


“You can write a story about how you live with your money and how you leave it.  What will the story say?  How will that story impact others?” (47)  “What story are you writing with your life?  Do you have a heart for international missions, prison ministry, or homes for low-income people?  Then put your money where your heart is.  Better yet, put your plans where your heart is.” (48)


Review your will and estate plans about every three years.  Things change. (49)


“God owns it all.  My name may be attached to all the accounts…but my name is on them only temporarily.  I’m only a steward, and I’m going to leave it all behind.  But I’m able to choose His next steward.”  If we place His stuff in the hands of unworthy stewards, I suspect God will find a way to take it away from them.” (57)


30,000 children per day die from poverty.  Many could be saved by clean water and basic food.  (62, per Rich Stern, president of World Vision).


¤      Treasure Principle: “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” (62)


“Jesus is all for treasures.  He simply wants us to store them in the right place: heaven.  That’s a wise investment.” (63)


Husband and wife should agree on wealth transfer.  Keep talking and praying until you agree. (67) 


Use a competent Christian planner to help. (68)


“Wealth never creates wisdom.  Wisdom may create wealth.  If you pass wisdom to your children, you probably can pass wealth to them.  If they have enough wisdom, then they may not need your wealth.” (70)


Three questions to help consider transferring wealth:

1.      What is the worst (or best) thing that can happen if I transfer wealth to ________?

2.      How serious is it?

3.      How likely is it to occur?   (72, 87)


¤      Uniqueness Principle:  “Love your children equally and as such treat them uniquely.” (82)


“It is a parent’s and grandparent’s responsibility to entrust God’s resources to children only if they have demonstrated the ability to handle those resources in a manner that would be pleasing to Him who is the owner of all.” (83) 


“To avoid a perception of unequal love, you must communicate with all of your adult children.”  “Money has a symptomatic power about it—it brings out in people and families symptoms of problems that lie underneath.” (85)


You are a steward of God’s resources on His behalf.  You are not a steward of your children’s resources.  You are not accountable to your children about how you transfer or spend His money.  You are accountable to God.”  “… ultimately you must resist the emotional manipulation that some adult children will attempt.” (87)


¤      The Kingdom Principle: “Time your wealth transfer to maximize its use by you, your heirs, and kingdom servants.” (98)

¤      The Givin’ While Livin’ Principle:  “Do your givin’ while you’re livin’ so you’re knowin’ where it’s goin’.” (99)


Common questions:

·        Will I ever have enough?

·        Will it continue to be enough?

·        How much is enough?  (100)


“I encourage people to set a finish line.  …determine what is the most you need.  Determine the maximum.  Set a cap.  Decide the limit of your lifestyle.”  “Determining how much is enough to live on is not so much a formula as it is a guard against excess accumulation.”  (100)


Consider your age, your health and ability to earn, the ages and needs of your children, other God-given objectives to accomplish.  How much you need may change over time.  (100-101)


Instead of figuring out how much you can give out of what’s left over, start by asking how generous you want to be.  (102)


Three reasons to give now: eternal rewards, compounded rates of return, future uncertainty. (102)


“Before you give to an individual, a church, or a ministry, check it out.  Ask the tough questions: Do I want to give for strategic reasons—or is my desire simply an emotional response to a particularly poignant appeal?  Is the need truly justified?  Can this organization (or person) produce the results it is promising?” (108)


Ask questions about charitable organizations regarding the leaders’ godliness and humility, whether the work is strategic, whether it is innovative (vs. stuck in an old rut), if it is growing, if it cooperates with others, if it is goal-oriented, whether it is accountable, whether it has a strong track record, whether it is leveraged, what is the vision, does it match my passions, is it competent?  Watch for yellow flags. (112-12, 117-18)


Reevaluate your giving annually.  (113)


“Often your passion originates according to where God has placed you and whom He has brought into your life.” (114)


“Under the current tax law, you can give away $11,000 per year…to as many individuals as you like.”  Your spouse can also.  (119)


“One of the best things about giving money to your children (or grandchildren) is the opportunity you get to watch them use it to enrich their lives….”  “Unfortunately, lifetime giving also means you have to watch them make mistakes.” (120)


“Probably the biggest mistake parents make in training children to manage money is not giving them the freedom to fail.” (121)


Principles for giving to your children during your lifetime.

·        “Give with no manipulative strings attached.”

·        “Transfer wealth gradually without changing their lifestyle dramatically.”

·        “Respect the need of the husband to provide.”

·        “Respect the sanctity of your children’s marriages.”

·        “Respect your children’s parental wishes.”

·        “Stay out of the way of God dealing with your children.” (122-124)


“Because of the long-term effects of any inflation, you may consider giving more now to your kids or to your church or other ministries rather than later.” (125)


“Every spending decision is a spiritual decision.” (140)


“Money is nothing more than one of the resources God uses to accomplish the real goals and objectives of life.” (142)


“Every other area, except the financial one, of the Christian life can be faked.” (144)


“Perhaps part of the reason for the moral decay in our society is that Christians have conformed their wealth to the pattern of this world.  We need to change that.” (147)


“Your will is the foundational cornerstone of an estate plan.” (154)


“The total value of your IRAs, 401(k)s, and life insurance will pass directly to the named beneficiaries regardless of what is in your will.  For many people, the majority of their wealth may be passed directly to beneficiaries.” (160)


“The estate and gift tax laws state that any gifts made during the last three years of a person’s life must be counted in the deceased person’s estate” (for estate tax purposes). (164) 


“Life insurance proceeds made payable to your beneficiaries will be added back to your estate for purposes of the estate taxes.” (164)


¤      The Expectation Principle: “Communicate to align expectations with plans.” (183)


“Communicate.  Have a family conference while you are alive.”  “You see, you will have a family conference” (in the attorney’s office when the will is read).  It’s just a matter of whether you will be alive to attend.  “Then, you can have an opportunity to teach, share, and explain your reasoning to your heirs.” (185)


“The most effective family conferences involve a facilitator (such as a trusted financial adviser or attorney) who directs and mediates the discussion.”  “Remember that you are not asking their permission—you are the steward with the decision-making authority—but you are involving them.” (190)


“All your stuff will pass to someone else.  Whoever gets it will be significantly affected by it.  And that someone needs to know your thoughts, plans, and desires.  There is a lot at stake here for your heirs, and you have an obligation, yes obligation, to prepare them for what’s coming.” (191)




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