Prepare to pass the family’s financial torch to your children

Kelli Anderson, assistant director of the SMU Abroad program, talks about her parents' lessons in being frugal.

Personal Finance Writer

When it comes to figuring out how to pass along their estate and their values to their children, the affluent aren’t that much different from the rest of us.

They may have more money, but they also worry about passing down too much too soon and whether their children will grow up to be caring, productive individuals. . .

John and Gay Anderson of McKinney achieved financial independence through years of hard work and diligent saving. John, 62, is a retired commercial real estate executive and Gay, 60, is a retired teacher.

“We’ve always put a lot of stock in savings and living within our means,” John said.

The Andersons have striven to teach their only daughter, 30-year-old Kelli, the value of money, starting when she was young.

“John always felt a special responsibility to train her,” Gay Anderson said. “She earned 25 cents for everything she ironed. It wasn’t just a blatant here-have-some-money kind of thing. We didn’t just want to hand it to her.”

The Andersons’ greatest concern is that Kelli “won’t be prepared to handle any of the estate we leave her,” John said.

“We really want to encourage her to develop a personal financial plan, a personal philosophy and become really familiar with the types of investments,” he said.

They’ve also told Kelli how they will handle her inheritance.

“We made it very clear to her we intend to leave her some of our [assets], but that I want it to be a supplement to her income and certainly not enough to solely live on,” John said.

 Kelli, assistant director of the SMU Abroad program, supports her parents’ approach.

“Knowing them, I’m sure they have planned to leave some to me to cover any bills they have, like any funeral expenses,” she said. “But I wouldn’t want to have them leave everything to me. They’re retired now, so I hope they get to enjoy some of the fruits of those years of putting me through college and their working hard all those years.”

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